The defiant speech to the nation of Joe Biden Monday night has confirmed that the American president does not regret the decision to leave Afghanistan. Nor of the chaotic panorama left by the sudden evacuation of the last American troops present in the country.
In the words of Biden, nothing seems to have affected his belief that he had acted correctly. Nor the images of the Taliban patrolling the streets of Kabul in search of collaboratorsNor those of the airport in the capital invaded by thousands of Afghan citizens, nor those of those same citizens perched on the fuselage of airplanes and falling into the void from hundreds of meters above sea level.
Nor have the images of the insurgents seizing weapons and American military vehicles during their advance on Kabul made a dent. And not even the prospect of a fundamentalist terror regime that powers international Islamic terrorism by training and sheltering new cells of fanatics.
Biden has not only reaffirmed his decision to leave Afghanistan leaving the country at the mercy of the Taliban, but he has also accused Afghan soldiers and political leaders (trained, imposed and financed by the United States government) of not have been able to defend their country.
Finally, Biden has asserted that the goal of the United States in Afghanistan has never been to build a democratic nation.
So what has been the goal of the United States? What was the meaning of the permanence of American soldiers on Afghan soil for twenty years? What have the thousands of deaths caused by the conflict been for? If Afghanistan, twenty years later, is today at the same point as it was in 2001, what has the West gained, what has democracy gained, and what have the Afghans gained, above all?
Joe Biden’s speech leaves two literally bloody paradoxes for the history books.
The first, that he was the president who arrived in 2020 to revitalize the battered international image of the United States after four years of presidency of Donald Trump the one that has dealt this the most lethal blow in the last decades. Because the image of Biden’s America today is that of a country that abandons the most vulnerable citizens of its protectorates at the feet of the barbarians. That of a country that abandons its allies and leaves them in the lurch.
The second is that it is precisely those Afghan citizens who have been most committed to democratic institutions and organizations that will be the first to be retaliated against by the Taliban after the departure of the United States troops.
If the end of the American adventure in Afghanistan was going to consist of leaving those citizens to the standoff against the Taliban, then it would have been a better idea not to point them out from the start. Because the currency with which idealism is paid in international politics is not the dollar, the euro or the yen, but blood.
Biden’s attempts to blame Donald Trump of the debacle are a bad excuse. First of all, because the exit plan was decided by Barack Obama and, yes, subsequently reaffirmed by Trump. But the execution of the sloppy and, above all, hasty departure has been entirely his.
Second, because Biden has spent a good part of his first months in office repealing laws and bills of Donald Trump. Why, then, could the withdrawal from Afghanistan not be postponed and more sensibly designed?
Notably, Joe Biden in his speech shared the blame between Trump and the Afghans themselves, but forgot to mention the Taliban themselves. His State Department, in fact, has been willing to “recognize” the Taliban government if it defends human rights and rejects terrorists. It is difficult to know what weighs more in that sentence, if innocence or cynicism.
The truth is that the world is a much more insecure place today than it was a week ago and that it is by decision of Biden. The consequences go far beyond a hypothetical upsurge in Islamic terrorism and will achieve the balance of the international order and the Russian and Chinese ambitions, which will now be reinforced.
Biden has opened Pandora’s box and hasn’t even been able to take responsibility for it.. It is very likely that his presidency, which is barely half a year old, will be marked by this fact.