mandag 16. august 2021

Simon Tisdall: Afghanistan will be seen as Joe Biden’s defeat. And it may come back to haunt him

What will it take for Joe Biden to admit he is disastrously wrong about Afghanistan? The US leader struck a defiant pose last week. Sounding like a slightly desperate Olympics coach, he told Afghans it was their country. If they want it, they have to fight for it. In American politics-speak, this is called tough love. Without the love.

Biden has more hands-on foreign policy experience than any president since George HW Bush. That doesn’t mean he knows what he’s doing. Opinion polls suggest his abrupt Afghan withdrawal has majority public support. That doesn’t mean Americans will remain indifferent as the carnage and misery mount.

Daily battlefield successes for the Taliban and the growing threat to Kabul are feeding a sense of profound failure, panic and humiliation. Grim comparisons with the 1975 fall of Saigon abound. Emergency evacuations have begun. Hundreds of thousands are on the move amid a developing refugee crisis. All the signs are that it’s going to get worse.