torsdag 19. august 2021

Biden promised allies 'America is back.' Chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal is making them fear it's still 'America First.'

Visiting Brussels earlier this summer, President Joe Biden was single-minded in his message to American allies. "America is back," he declared in the lobby of the European Union's headquarters, repeating a mantra he had uttered at nearly every stop of his first trip abroad, during which leaders welcomed him as a salve to four years of Trump-era angst. "It's overwhelmingly in the interest of the United States of America to have a great relationship with NATO and with the EU," Biden said. "I have a very different view than my predecessor did."

Two months later, the same group of allies is now wondering what happened to that Joe Biden. The humiliating end to the war in Afghanistan has fanned lingering concerns over an "America First" foreign policy that some allies fear did not completely disappear with former President Donald Trump. And the chaotic fall of Kabul, which caught American officials off-guard and prompted a major scramble by the US and other countries to evacuate diplomats and Afghans who assisted the war efforts, badly undercut Biden's promise to restore competence to American foreign relations.

The Taliban takeover has led to an uncertain fate for Afghan women and girls, leading to doubts over Biden's repeated insistence -- including this week -- that human rights will be at the "center of our foreign policy."