Decryption | Afghanistan: Joe Biden’s cold calculation

(New York) After working at the State Department for nearly a quarter of a century and watching Joe Biden for even longer, Aaron David Miller believes he can sum up the Democratic president’s mindset in the face of the inevitable overthrow of Kabul and its return to the power of repressive and declining Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Posted August 15, 2021 at 5:00 am

Richard Hétu Special collaboration

“If Biden were part of our conversation, he would say, ‘Look, there is no foreign policy issue here. Any. And there is no greater threat to my presidency and the future of this republic than the challenges I face at home. “”

At the end, the diplomat from the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace adds his two cents: “And if Biden needed other motives or a catalyst to stick with his decision, that’s what’s happening in Afghanistan right now.”

Our own house is broken and assumes the constant presence of 2,500 soldiers [américains] Repairing Afghanistan’s shattered homeland is a combination of arrogance and ignorance.

Aaron David Miller, Carnegie Foundation Diplomat for International Peace and Middle East Expert

It goes without saying that this position is not unanimous in the United States today. A certain political, journalistic and military elite close to the neoconservative movement accuses Joe Biden of shamefully leaving an allied government and innocent civilians to the Taliban, who will inflict murderous reprisals on others and impose archaic rules on others. Just like the part of the American population that is questioned about the Afghan situation, it particularly laments the fate of women.

Critics shouldn’t make Joe Biden change course. But they probably explain the warning he issued to the Taliban on Saturday.

“We informed the Taliban representatives in Doha through the commander of our troops that any action by you on the ground in Afghanistan that would endanger American personnel or our mission would lead to a reaction. fast and strong American military, ”the president warned in a statement in which he also announced the deployment of 5,000 American troops to ensure the evacuation of American and Afghan civilians.

But this warning will not satisfy the President’s harshest critics.

“Wishful thinking”

“A catastrophic takeover by the Taliban was not inevitable,” wrote Frederick Kagan, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, the cradle of neoconservatism, in a column in the New York Times on Friday. “President Biden has said his hands are tied in the face of the appalling peace deal negotiated between the Trump administration and the Taliban for withdrawal. But there was still a way to withdraw American troops while giving our Afghan partners a better chance of upholding the gains we made with them over the past two decades. ”

This type of speech has less impact than it has already had within the Republican Party. Most of his elected officials supported Donald Trump when he set May 1 as the date for American troops to withdraw from Afghanistan. In the past few days, however, some of them, including Senators Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio and Ben Sasse, have sharply condemned the Afghan policies of Joe Biden, who contented himself with postponing the deadline for the return of the GIs by a few months. fixed by its predecessor.

“The reality was clear to everyone except the most senior officials in the Biden administration,” Senator McConnell, the Senate minority leader, said Monday from the Upper Chamber of Congress.

From the very bizarre choice of the symbolic deadline for 9/11 to the lack of a concrete plan, the government’s decision seems to have been wishful thinking and not much else.

Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican Leader

Right now, Joe Biden is in line with the American public, who are fed up with this military intervention that began nearly 20 years ago, if we are to believe the latest polls. An intervention the total cost of which – $ 2 trillion – did not contribute to the recruitment, training and equipping of a combatant or combat-ready Afghan National Army.

A “manageable” problem

Which is not to say that American public opinion couldn’t seriously blame Joe Biden for seeing certain disturbing or bloody images from Afghanistan. Some media outlets have already drawn a parallel between the possible fall of Kabul and the shameful end of the American intervention in Vietnam in 1975.

“The pictures will be terrible,” agrees Aaron David Miller. Could they force Biden to return to Afghanistan? Only if the employees of the US embassy in Kabul were threatened. However, precautions are being taken to avoid this before the Taliban decide whether to enter Kabul or not. So I think Biden will stick to his decision and the politics will likely be manageable. ”

As the Middle East scientist spoke, neither the Pentagon nor Joe Biden had announced that they would send additional US troops to Afghanistan to support the withdrawal.

However, Aaron David Miller sees a scenario in which President Biden’s cold calculation in Afghanistan could backfire and sink his presidency.

“Right now, polls suggest that the majority of Americans don’t care what is going on in Afghanistan. The only question that could mobilize them and pose problems for Biden is not that of women, it is not the betrayal of an Afghan ally, but whether we will witness a resurgence of jihadist terrorism on the part of al Qaeda or on the part of al Qaeda in the next two years any avatar of ISIS directed against American interests or the American people in the region, let alone the homeland. ”

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