After two decades, (US) troops have an end date on America’s longest war. But it took a White House ready to pull rank on the military, wrote the Politico on Biden teams’ decision to withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11.
“We cannot continue this cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal and expecting a different result,” Biden said Wednesday in a speech announcing the decision.
Notwithstanding how Biden’s team overrode the brass on Afghanistan, “President Biden’s decision to end the US Afghan war will save American lives and money but not end the conflict within Afghanistan,” says Syed Muhammad Ali, Director Nuclear & Strategic Affairs at the Center for Aerospace & Security Studies. CASS is a Pakistan-based think tank.
The decision (if not orderly implemented) will have far-reaching implications. The Taliban, Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan want an orderly exit, not just cutting it loose and quitting (this time).
Even then, some independent observers expect this generally to happen in Afghanistan, orderly or no orderly withdrawal:
According to an Arab and Gulf observer in the region, “the Talisman and other blood thirsty organizations have no sense of statehood. Force cannot make them accept that. Only a united appeal by the Afghan people will resolve the issue”.
In his view, “the American decision to withdraw is probably the best choice.”
“US troops have been in Afghanistan for decades. Yet, the security situation remains almost the same.”
“Imperial outreach is not sustainable in the long historical voyage. America can’t be an exception,” commented G. Rasool Baluch, former Pakistani ambassador to Vietnam.
Biden had pledged to end America’s ‘forever wars’ during his presidential campaign.
Although US forces have been active across much of the MENA region for years, Afghanistan has stood out as a symbol of longstanding and futile drain on US blood and treasure.
To add to the mix, and probably overriding the above, is the US and China seesaw tilting in favor of the latter in Asia-Pacific and all the way to MENA give and take.
America’s China containment strategy –with India on its side plus the QUAD, “is in a state of flux with some sort of rethink in Delhi”, an observer says.
India should welcome the end of US occupation of Afghanistan, former Indian diplomat M K Bhadrakumar wrote, as he analyzed Biden administration’s quit Afghanistan decision.
According to a US-China relations and South Asia affairs expert who has authored several books on related subjects, “Biden and his aides, having noted the acuity and immediacy of China’s challenge to US systemic primacy, stated the importance of consolidating the national substance for facing China”.
“There’s a general anti-China consensus driving the US national security discourse…this has given Biden the necessary leverage to override his military advisers”.
President Biden and his team may have also taken note of the following while laying it all out –ready to pull rank on the military:
Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Insanity is doing same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
International law exists only in textbooks on international law.
I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.
The President may have therefore converted his “that’s it” into a potential Biden moment like a frozen ice paperweight on his Oval office desk:
Taking a non-institutional albeit intellectual thinking may have made the military-industrial laden groupthink members biting their nails on the Bihari (Biden Harris) team’s Afghan decision.
Irshad Salim, Islamabad