Afghanistan: Joe Biden under pressure

The G7 countries will meet on Tuesday August 24 to take stock of the evacuations in Afghanistan. The Americans are particularly under pressure, caught between their allies and the Taliban.

Afghanistan: Joe Biden under pressure
Joe Biden, President of the United States, during a speech on the situation in Afghanistan at the White House in Washington, August 22, 2021. (SAMUEL CORUM / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA)

The G7 is holding a virtual meeting on Tuesday August 24 to discuss Afghanistan, evacuations and "agree on a long-term approach" . During this meeting of the great powers, the United States and Joe Biden will be particularly under pressure. The withdrawal from Afghanistan and the chaotic images of Kabul airport mark the first major failure of the Biden presidency internationally. From the start of the evacuations, the Democratic president was criticized. Remember, the moment the United States began to exfiltrate its nationals , the whole world compared the situation to Saigon, the historic US failure in Vietnam as a symbol of a hasty disorganized departure . 

In Afghanistan, the more the days go by, the more the pressure increases on the Americans. They are accused of having badly evaluated and badly organized the departure of civilians. This pressure comes mainly from their European allies. The United States has obviously forgotten this, but the majority of foreign troops present at the start of the Western withdrawal were European and Turkish NATO soldiers . And when Biden announced the August 31 date for a full withdrawal, he did it on his own, without really consulting his allies. The Germans, Turks, Italians and British tried to ask for an extension months ago, but without success. The result is there: disastrous, catastrophic and humanly unsustainable. "The biggest debacle for NATO since its creation", Germany believes.

Tuesday, August 24, the G7 countries will ask Joe Biden again to postpone the departure of American forces. The American president knows it. He gave himself 24 hours to think it over . The Taliban have already warned him that they will not allow the United States to stay beyond August 31 and threaten "consequences" .

A declining popularity rating

In the United States too, this debacle is bad for the image of Joe Biden. An NBC News poll  shows Joe Biden's popularity rating is dropping below 50%. A first since he took office in January. A popularity rating also weighed down by the Covid. On the question of Afghanistan, only 25% of Americans approve of his way of handling the crisis.

Breaking: According to RCP polling, President Biden has a net negative approval rating for the first time during his presidency. More voters now disapprove of his presidency than approve of it. - Gabe F. Guidarini (@GabeGuidarini) August 20, 2021

The withdrawal from Afghanistan comes at the wrong time for Joe Biden. He who had promised a stable presidency and professional and thoughtful leadership, compared to his predecessor Donald Trump , finds himself battered. Domestically, he hoped to arrive before the Senate full of confidence to pass an ambitious national program. Here he is weakened.

If the situation in Afghanistan thwarts Joe Biden's national plans, it also tarnishes his image abroad, beyond his allies, who wanted to focus on China, his great rival. One of the challenges of the next few years, if not the next few months, will be Taiwan. Beijing wants to take control of the island, Washington is against it. But given the debacle in Afghanistan, the United States has lost a lot of credibility so far.


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