President Biden has announced that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. The U.S. has had troops in Afghanistan ever since 9/11, the longest war in U.S. history. Of course, most Americans would like this war to end.
But many Afghans are dreading what will happen to them without U.S. and NATO protection. Women especially have made enormous gains in the last 20 years. These gains will be at risk if the Afghan government forces are unable to prevent the Taliban from returning to its former dominance.
The current minimal U.S. presence of 2500 troops, plus a few thousand additional from NATO, are enough to prevent a Taliban takeover.
Now is not a good time for the U.S. to appear weak and impotent. Consider:
- China has lately become much more aggressive in the South China Sea. This adversely affects allies such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Taiwan. The U.S. should forcefully oppose China’s attempt to dominate these countries.
- Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops, as well as tanks, along its border with Ukraine. This is viewed in Europe as a test for the Biden administration. Can Russia scare the U.S. and NATO away from supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression?
- The last ten years have seen many gains on the international stage by both Russia and China. Russia has invaded Georgia, annexed Crimea, and supported Assad in Syria. China has tightened its hold on Tibet, launched an aggressive campaign in Xinjiang, crushed Hong Kong’s autonomy, attacked India, and conducted a massive buildup aimed at Taiwan. American foreign policy has been mostly inert in the face of this gathering storm. Now is no time to appear soft in the face of this aggression.
- An overt attack by either China or Russia on the vital interests of the U.S. is unlikely, if only because they are each weaker than the U.S. militarily. Also, it would be difficult for them to gang up together on us. Nevertheless, they are pushing us to see what they can get away with. We need to appear strong especially at a time like this.
Conclusion. By a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan, the U.S. is putting at great risk the gains that have been made, especially by women, in the last 20 years. Furthermore, such a withdrawal makes the U.S. appear weak at a time when both China and Russia are flexing their muscles against us.