Afghanistan: despite the humiliation of the United States, Joe Biden justifies the withdrawal of troops
Fighting the devastating power of images from Afghanistan with an argument, no matter how elaborate, seems an impossible task. But that's what Joe Biden tried to do on Monday, August 16, in a solemn statement delivered at the White House. After a weekend spent at Camp David, the Democratic president "firmly" defended the American withdrawal and wanted to reintroduce a semblance of coherence into the chaos. Here he is confronted with the most serious crisis of the beginning of his presidency, outside of Covid-19, whose long-term impact on American public opinion remains to be measured. The public is not very passionate about foreign policy. But the idea that America has of itself seems to be engaged here.
The coherence claimed by Joe Biden is that of his foreign policy: focused on the rivalry with China, refusing any human, military and financial waste in endless foreign engagements. This argument weighs little in the face of the impression of disarray and improvisation that accompanies the American withdrawal. A "difficult and disorderly" withdrawal, the president conceded, while defending his "commitment. "The events we are seeing now are sad proof that no amount of military force would have achieved a secure, united and stable Afghanistan, known in history as the graveyard of empires," he added, expressing an old conviction.
The United States, he continued, has never had the objective of "building a nation" in Afghanistan. "Our mission (...) has never been to create a unified, centralized democracy," the president said, adding that the sole objective "remains today, and always has been, to prevent a terrorist attack on American soil.
Donald Trump implicated
But Joe Biden acknowledged that the takeover of the country by the Taliban had been surprisingly quick. This was an elliptical way of evacuating the confusion of military and civilian experts, who had not anticipated such a lightning scenario, preferring a timeframe of several weeks or months. The responsibility of the American president is directly engaged because of his political haste to conclude the withdrawal. Joe Biden has emphasized the emergency deployment of 6,000 soldiers to ensure the evacuation of civilian personnel on the ground as well as Afghans under threat, particularly those who have worked for the United States. Joe Biden promised a "devastating" use of force to the Taliban, if they tried to hinder these evacuation operations.