Afghanistan: Biden’s Foreign Policy Failure – Conservative Article
On the campaign trail, Joe Biden promised one thing. That he wasn’t Trump. America would be back, he said, and after January 6th—that democracy would prevail. But, as can be seen with this massive foreign policy failure in Afghanistan, none of these things are true. Biden pushed through on a flawed Trump deal and abandoned its allies to an Islamic, fascist dictatorship. This is disgraceful.
Trump and Biden could not be more alike in their views of Afghanistan. Both wanted troop withdrawals, Biden recently admitted that even without Trump’s deal, he would have pushed for a withdrawal.
It’s important to look at the deal. In 2020, Trump entered negotiations with the Taliban, securing a deal saying that the US troops would withdraw if the Taliban agreed to a ceasefire with the now-defunct Afghan government. It also had terms for a ceasefire and a later deal if both sides upheld their terms. It was labelled as historic, and Trump and his allies celebrated. This deal gambled the uncertainty of the Afghan government and people on the whim that the US government trusts the word of terrorists. Well, this deal has clearly gone sour now.
However, Biden isn’t blameless. In fact, he bears most of the blame for this catastrophe. In January the deal was reviewed, and Biden decided that by September 11th all US troops will be removed. A senior official explained after the completion of the review that there were no conditions to withdraw, meaning that no matter what the Taliban does between now and September Biden will leave no matter what. In effect, this was the surrender announcement to the Taliban. They could do anything, and there would be no punishment. Even Trump’s deal had conditions attached to it. Biden clearly trusts the Taliban even more than Trump, much to his failure.
Instead of the heroic symbolism that the completion of the withdrawal of US troops by 9/11 would mean, this disaster will make this year all the more difficult for veterans and others that bravely went to fight in Afghanistan. Those veterans who are questioning the point of it all, those brave interpreters who helped the West, and those journalists risking their lives to bring up to date information. No doubt they will all need extra support, at this time and in the future. And this isn’t even talking about the abandonment of the Afghan people.
Biden chose symbolism over people. That is plain and simple.
Many fear what this takeover will mean for the Afghan people. Biden clearly doesn’t. This proves that Biden is nothing more than an uncaring hypocrite. When Trump abandoned the Kurdish people, Biden took great time to point out that Trump was abandoning US allies and leaving them to their fates. Well, Biden is doing exactly the same to the Afghan people.
This decision means that the progress on things like women’s rights will return to a pre-2001 state. Although the Taliban have said that their stance on women is modern, many fear for their lives. There have already been reports of the Taliban not allowing women into universities, offices, and searching door to door for human and women’s rights defenders. This will only get worse.
There is no doubt that the government in power during the Western intervention significantly improved the lives of Afghan women, something that Stop the War protestors fail to realise and acknowledge. If that government was not put in place, the Taliban would have continued to crush women’s rights. The intervention had a major role in improving the lives of the Afghan people. While these goals were not the intention (exposing the less than noble side to Responsibility to Protect – R2P) they were no doubt a significant benefit to the people there.
There will be other consequences for the Western failure in Afghanistan. It will once again become a breeding ground for terror groups seeking to cause harm to the West. It will cause another migration crisis. This will cause destabilization just like the 2015 migrant crisis did, and terrorism will only kill our people. How many terror attacks were prevented because of a pro-Western government, how many UK civilian lives were saved? I imagine quite a few. But thankfully we will never have to know. Stop the War should recognise this too.
This is easily the biggest foreign policy disaster of the 2000s. There must be lessons learnt from this, else we will repeat this type of folly. The doctrine of R2P has led us to many failed interventions, here, Iraq, Syria and Libya. It must be dropped. While it has been somewhat successful in the short term here, in the long term it has not held up. Nation-building isn’t a short term project, however.
While a less hostile government was put in place, its foundations were built on sand. Those who serve in the Armed Forces, both in NATO and Afghanistan have my utmost respect, this should be stressed. However, it’s painfully clear that the Afghan government was reliant on foreign armies. This also exposes another failing in R2P. Training a domestic army takes time. Not just training the army, but all the other systems of the nation. R2P is a long term project, but politicians cannot have long term projects in foreign countries unless there’s the political patience for it in their domestic bases, and for Afghanistan that had long since run out.
The Afghan army is just as brave as any Western one, but they lacked the equipment and knowledge to fight the Taliban forces. During its time in Afghanistan, NATO should have made sure the Afghan army was strong when they left. The failure of the Afghan army is a Western failure.
And that’s all this can be seen as. A failure. Primarily a Biden one, but others share the blame too. Quite frankly, I agree with Trump when he calls for Biden to resign. The withdrawal was inevitable at some point, however now was not the time to do it, and nor was this the way to do it. The day Kabul fell will be a dark stain on Western history.
Written by Co-Chief Conservative Writer, Kieran Burt
Point of Information
It’s more than a failure – A Labour Response
A failure, yes. But it’s not “just” that. Kabul’s fall and the Taliban’s takeover is a devastating and life-altering crisis for everyone affected.
Kieran’s article covers a lot of ground and his extensive analysis of Biden’s involvement in the fall of Kabul is a strong one. It’s also a necessary one – I won’t deny this. However, blame and accountability are not as timely as safety and rights. The people of Afghanistan cannot do anything with blame right now. Jumping into action at the same pace we are throwing around blame is of greater value at this time.
Thousands of Afghan citizens and visitors have been displaced, Kabul airport is surrounded by civilians attempting to flee, and there is more than an abundance of fear and desperation. This will only get worse.
And for women and young girls, their lives will never be the same – as Kieran touches on. Mahbooba Seraj, the founder of the Afghan Women’s Network, predicts that the country will be put back some 200 years. On what basis? Women have already been forced out of jobs and killed for making a living for themselves and their families. Female journalists have had to write anonymously, judges are in hiding and students have been denied access to universities. Because of fear. Because the Taliban’s history of ruling does not permit women to even leave their homes without a man by their side.
We can’t look at this and turn the other way. Nor can we look and immediately turn to condemn certain governments or individuals. For now, this should provoke a willingness to help. The UK’s Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy, as just one example, can help but it is not enough. We need greater measures to relocate displaced citizens and to remove people from a desperate situation.
Written by Chief Labour Writer, Abi Clargo
A Botched Occupation, A Botched Withdrawal – A Liberal Response
Biden failed. That is undeniable. As Kieran correctly states, this was not the time to withdraw. The Taliban spent years preparing for this opportunity. Biden, and Trump before him, handed the Taliban their victory. Whilst I disagree with Kieran that this warrants Biden’s resignation, a revolution in foreign policy has to take place.
Withdrawal from Afghanistan was frankly inevitable. Both Biden and Trump realised this. Particularly in the midst of a pandemic and Biden’s much needed trillion-dollar Infrastructure Bill, the occupation of Afghanistan became economically unsustainable (if it was ever sustainable in the first place). Public support was drying up until the moment of withdrawal, when the Taliban were able to launch their long-drafted plan into action. Contrary to Kieran, the withdrawal was not just symbolic, although there was a half-hearted attempt to wed patriotic sentiment to it.
Yet, Biden and Trump should have brokered a better withdrawal agreement. By failing to do so, they undoubtedly facilitated the Taliban’s insurgency. Both Presidents made two crucial mistakes. Firstly, they put an open date on withdrawal. Another approach should have been negotiated with Ghani and his government, one contrary to the promises made to the Taliban. Secondly, harsher restrictions should have been placed on the Taliban. Doha 2016 was rendered toothless because Trump could not put effective limits on the Taliban. Biden failed to rectify this mistake either. Both Presidents should have continued to support Ghani indefinitely. In agreement with Kieran, they should have held true to their commitment to sustain and train the Afghan army.
Despite this, Stop the War has more currency than Kieran wishes to admit. True, the support many of their members lend to this withdrawal should be re-evaluated. Biden’s decision was illogical. Neither Ghani nor the Americans were ready for it. Only the Taliban was. Instead, Stop the War is most correct when they argue that we should never have facilitated occupation in the first place. We should never have given support to the Mujahideen fighters, especially to the Islamists within their ranks. Rather than helping a country destroyed by the Soviet Union after 1990, we only plunged it into more chaos. The West provided itself with an avoidable enemy. Let this be a lesson to future Presidents and Prime Ministers who wish to wage wars motivated by pure self-interest.
There is a chance for redemption though. We should firstly treat our returning veterans with respect. It is not their fault that the occupation or the withdrawal occurred. The blame lies squarely with those in power.
Abi also importantly stresses the need to help the dislocated as well. The Taliban will bring untold suffering to the women of Afghanistan, to the Shia Hazaras, and to those who helped the Afghan government from 2001-2021. As a result, we are witnessing the horrifying scenes at Kabul airport. And they’re only a glimpse! Imagine the suffering that is not being recorded! We should do everything in our power to help fleeing Afghans. This will be the West’s saving grace after such a botched occupation and withdrawal.
Written by Chief Liberal Writer, Frank Allen
Hello, my name is Kieran Burt and I am going into second year at Nottingham Trent University studying Politics and International Relations. I first developed an interest in politics through reading the Dictator’s Handbook by Alastair Smith and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, when I was 16, and have furthered my interest by studying politics at A level and now at university.
I’m Abi! I am a liberal, political enthusiast from the Welsh valleys. Since I was young, I have been captivated by politics. I used to spend so much time watching the morning news before school, and have paid close attention to political campaigns for as long as I can remember. It was a lot later that I decided I wanted to pursue politics academically. Now, I have just finished my second year studying Politics and International Relations at the University of Exeter.
Politics was a completely taboo subject for me as a young boy. Having lived almost all my life in Brunei and Qatar – two very strict, theocratic autocracies – I was cautious to keep my opinions well-guarded. The smallest negative remark about either country’s governance, for example, would’ve meant deportation for my family and I. Any non-approved political activity, no matter how naïve, had to be kept a secret. It was best not to question at all.