DEAR EDITOR:

U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by Aug. 31 and the ensuing rapid takeover of that country by the Taliban has angered many people domestically and abroad.

The consensus of a proper exit strategy suggests extraction of civilians and families first followed by departure of government personnel and lastly by the military. The U.S. withdrawal followed a reversal of that order, thus allowing our allies on the ground insufficient time to properly complete their own respective withdrawals.

During the past month, British parliamentarians on both sides of the aisle, when debating policy toward Afghanistan, put blame for the Taliban takeover squarely on the U.S. The British newspaper The Telegraph called Biden’s handling of events “catastrophic” and “shameful.”

ING Germany’s chief economist Carsten Brzeski stated that “Germany is now realizing that the Biden administration appears to be EU friendlier…but still keeps the U.S. first and the rest of the world second.”

On another front, this month France expressed anger after Australia abruptly cancelled a joint multibillion dollar submarine contract in order to sign a new nuclear-powered submarine deal with the U.S. and U.K. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs called the move a betrayal of trust. French President Macron immediately recalled his ambassador to the U.S. in protest of the new agreement. The French Embassy in Washington, D.C., subsequently cancelled a previously planned gala as further expression of frustration over the secretly negotiated competing agreement.

Presidential candidate Joe Biden ran to restore American credibility and international order. How is that working out? At least now, the administration has begun to collectively acknowledge the humanitarian crisis along our long recognized southern-most boundary with Mexico, which by definition no longer functions as a border.

As president, Mr. Biden seems to believe — based on polls indicating the majority of Americans felt the 20-year long Afghan war was no longer worth fighting — that Americans will forget the chaos and desperation in Kabul and see it as a necessary consequence to ending the conflict. Seemingly this, in turn, will allow the U.S. to focus full foreign policy efforts on more important long-term threats emanating from the Far East.

Mr. Biden seems to hold a long-standing world view, shaped by policy, intuition, and style, wherein all foreign policy is essentially built on personal relationships. Does Mr. Biden actually believe that simply based on strength of personality he can foster cooperation with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, China’s Xi Jinping, or Russia’s Vladimir Putin?

I, for one, don’t believe our president, through merely the force of his personality, can sway foreign leaders to acquiesce to U.S. points of view and proposals. Given the many issues confronting our country, I hope our political leaders respectfully recognize that other countries are motivated by national interests — their own.

Peter Wibell,

Rutledge

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