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Was leaving Afghanistan a good decision for Biden? | Ticker VIEWS

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President Biden made the right strategic decision on Afghanistan: here’s why. Written by Bruce Wolpe, US political contributor for Ticker NEWS.

Despite criticism, US President Biden made the right decision to end the war in Afghanistan and bring American troops home.

WOLPE ON BIDEN’S GRIP ON THE CHAOS IN AFGHANISTAN

Moreover, he ended it for the right reasons. After 20 years, thousands of soldiers have been killed or wounded. The US has incurred over a trillion dollars in costs.

The objective of removing Afghanistan as a terrorist threat to the homeland and US allies had been long achieved, and the nation-building efforts could go no further. 

Yet when the moment of truth for the Afghan government and armies arrived, with the Taliban sweeping the county, the Afghan president fled and their forces dispersed.

WOLPE ON WHAT IS NEXT FOR BIDEN

But the tactical execution of the decision has fallen terribly short, as the world has witnessed over the past several days. 

What we saw in Afghanistan just two weeks ago was a real-world intelligence failure playing out in real time. 

If US intelligence hadn’t assured Biden, he wouldn’t have told the American people in July that the agonising crisis of Saigon in 1975 wouldn’t be repeated in Afghanistan.

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This failure in intelligence is why Biden, US allies across the world and those who served the cause in Afghanistan are facing this crisis today

The only solution – Biden’s imperative – is to bring this humanitarian ordeal to a successful conclusion.

And a successful conclusion can only be achieved by firmly getting a grip on security on the ground in Kabul for those who need to be evacuated to minimise any further loss of life. 

The worst-case, catastrophic scenario would be if the Taliban or other terror groups killed or took hostages from those seeking freedom in the West. Such a terrorist threat is real

In his remarks to the country this morning, Biden restated his firm conviction about the war in Afghanistan.

Taliban take over Afghanistan: What we know and what's next

“I think history will record this was the logical, rational, right decision to make.” 

This morning, Biden outlined a series of measures underway to safely evacuate those needing to leave the country. After this, they will be processed in a third country.

WOLPE ON BIDEN’S AUGUST 31 EXIT FROM AFGHANISTAN

Despite this, Biden acknowledged there was still a long way to go.

In raw political terms, Biden has taken a hit from this crisis

While not a surprise in the wake of days of headlines of the chaos in Kabul, Biden’s approval has slid to at or under 50% in most polls. 

While his decision to exit Afghanistan is popular (60%+), Biden’s handling of the crisis is far lower. 

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This crisis has severely tested his foreign policy team and America’s relationship with its allies, especially in Europe

But there is no good time for a crisis. This one is unfolding as Congress begins to return from its summer break to take decisive votes on Biden’s enormous domestic political agenda. 

Biden’s fate rests on completing the exit from Afghanistan successfully, and winning votes in Congress on his agenda.

As could be seen today, this president is not short of confidence in adversity.  He will need every ounce of it he has.

Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

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