Strictly speaking, Joe Biden did not fight against Donald Trump in the last presidential elections. He fought against the image that Donald Trump gave of him in every public act: ‘Sleepy Joe Biden’, the anodyne man, the one who does not control things but rather that things seem to pass over him. Biden’s fight against that image went well in November because better to be a fool than to be a cheat –crooked– like Hillary Clinton. Now, he is still with him among the United States citizenship and, after what happened this weekend, he will always be with him.

Biden is, in essence, a man with an undeniable knack for public relations and little else.. He has never been a great manager – Obama’s rank and file never understood the ticket– and has never given the feeling of being able to lead anything. Now, it’s one thing to wash your hands, it’s another to actively contribute to the Kabul disaster and make America the pim-pam-pum of the whole world to the point that even the New York Times you are reading the primer in each publisher. For the Republicans to ask for your resignation to get the country out of a war, you have had to make a big deal out of it.

Biden’s history with Afghanistan is long because Biden, we know, is not a newcomer. Biden was already in that famous photo of the situation room from the White House when the Seals killed Osama Bin Laden in his Pakistani hideout. The president of the United States (USA) himself acknowledged on Monday at a press conference that the American objective in Afghanistan was never to build a country, it was never to look out for the good of others. They only wanted to defend themselves. To be in Afghanistan was to avoid a threat … until the invasion itself became a greater risk.

From enthusiasm to disenchantment

Now this conclusion is moot and Biden himself has struggled with it for some time. When he was just the senator from Delaware, Biden was among the first to visit imposed President Hamid Karzai. His support for the decisions of George W. Bush was absolute at a time when, on the other hand, no one dared to differ. At that time, Senator Biden, a supposed expert in international relations, warned that the country had to be invested, that it could not be allowed to continue in absolute poverty, that it was poverty that led to the violence of the good few. funded. At the end of 2002, he even declared: “History will judge us harshly if we allow the advances in Afghanistan to evaporate because we are afraid to face the challenges of building a nation.”

As vice president of Barack Obama, even in campaign, Biden continued to insist on the need to build a strong state in Afghanistan, criticizing the efforts of the Republican Party to focus all its efforts on Iraq. Once in office, and after visiting the country again, he asked himself: “What exactly is our mission in Afghanistan? Because I don’t think anyone knows what our mission in Afghanistan is after nine years.” Everything changed with the murder of Osama Bin Laden and the photo of yore. From there, the rush came in. In 2011, the same Biden who months before said he did not know what his country’s mission in Afghanistan was, considered it finished. Announcing that in 2014, NATO and international coalition troops would withdraw from the country.

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So it was, only in part. In 2014, more people were killed in attacks and fighting across the country than in any other year since 2001. The United States had to maintain a minimum of troops and continue to guard the government of Karzai’s replacement, Ashraf Ghani.

When Biden left the vice presidency, 15 years had passed since the invasion of the country and his discourse had completely changed: from being enthusiastic about the involvement of the United States in a devastated country to wanting to get his country out of that untamed desert full of caves as soon as possible. . The arrival of Trump accelerated everything.

Hunger and desire to eat

It is far from clear that a Hillary Clinton administration would have changed things in the Middle East. As we have seen, Biden’s evolution was the evolution of a country and the evolution of a Democratic party that did not see much sense in continuing to spend money and lives in a war that they did not start. Trump, an erratic guy, spent three years changing the heads of military strategy as he himself changed his mind about what to do with the US position in the world. After all, he had succeeded with a double catchphrase: “America First” and “Make America Great Again.” If you had to fight someone, that someone had to be China or, by extension, North Korea, but Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan? What was the point?

Percentage of Americans in favor or against the intervention in Afghanistan.

Source: Gallup

Afghanistan has not fallen by terror, or at least not quite. The terror was always there, only that the terror ended up leading to laziness and laziness always leaves you in a bad negotiating position. When Trump could no longer take it, he met the government and the “opposition” in Doha, the capital of Qatar, and announced an agreement that he had decided beforehand: they were leaving, those who stayed would be fixed. It was pre-pandemic times and there was an election to win. Trump’s decision was set to be wildly popular with his voters and non-voters.. No one was going to discuss it, least of all his electoral opponent, Joe Biden, who did not put a single complaint on the agreement throughout the campaign or argued when he reached Pennsylvania Avenue.

Now, one thing is politics and another is reality. Biden was fed up with Afghanistan and knew his country was just as fed up as he was. Focused on other more important issues, he did not estimate the level of laziness within the Afghan government coalition itself or did not want to estimate it. In the end, we talked a lot about how the Americans left Kabul airport and very little that the first to leave was the president in office, an indication of the allies’ will to resist. Maybe Biden knew Ghani too well and maybe he knew him too little. Perhaps he trusted completely in his abilities and that of his army – as he hinted in public until the last moment – or perhaps he was aware that the man was anything but reliable.

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Deaf ears

The fact is that in these seven months there has not been the slightest intention on the part of Biden to extend the deadlines for the total withdrawal of his troops in Afghanistan even one more year. The slightest. We know, because the media has leaked it, that the Pentagon was horrified by the idea. We know that they asked you for more time to finish closing operations, consolidate key counter-terrorist intelligence positions and not give the Taliban the feeling that they could do whatever they wanted with that country, as they had done during the 1990s.

We also know that Biden listened and looked elsewhere. It is true that he delayed the limit set by Donald Trump to withdraw all troops on May 1, but he arbitrarily set it for September 11, on the twentieth anniversary of the bloodiest attack in American history. Leaving on September 11 was important to the country, a closed loop symbol. From the Pentagon, he was told that it was not a good idea to legislate on the basis of symbols, but Biden ignored it. He thought that they would hold out until September, that things had to go very badly. He was wrong. In early July, he brought the withdrawal date forward to August 31. Something smelled.

(Evolution of Joe Biden's approval rating as president.

(Evolution of Joe Biden’s approval rating as president.


The military, on the ground, make more commitments than the politicians who send and withdraw them make. The chiefs of operations in Kabul knew that the capital had at most 90 days left while the president bragged about how well they had left everything and how unlikely a Taliban victory was. It was not more than 30. Biden was not asked to stay forever, but long enough to be able to protect the people who had helped him for twenty years. No one is going to argue with ‘Sleepy Joe’ the decision to leaveBut the rush, the haste and, again, the laziness will remain for history. In just over a year, the Democrats are gambling for control of Congress and will do so again against the image of the unresponsive guy, anything but a commander-in-chief.

Despite what Biden announced at a press conference, the US is not a safer country as of this Sunday. Quite the opposite. His enemies are stronger and that says it all. It is not enough to pretend to do things, you have to show that you know how to do them. Time will tell if this catastrophe has consequences for the Americans themselves or not. For now, Biden’s sword is hanging over his head. I suppose you are aware that, in three years, it will be someone else’s turn to deal with this.

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