When former President Donald Trump was in office, the activist media establishment and Democratic Party members constantly declared that he was destroying America’s relationships and credibility with its allies. But now, as President Joe Biden presides over a messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, it appears that what the left pretended was happening under Trump is now occurring in reality.
Kamala Harris Attempts Damage Control
When it became clear that the situation in Afghanistan was headed for disaster, reports indicated that nations allied with the United States were disturbed by its inept handling of the matter. Indeed, several foreign leaders expressed doubts about the Biden administration’s ability to manage international affairs.
On Aug. 23, Vice President Kamala Harris visited Singapore, where she reaffirmed America’s involvement in Asia. She said: “Our administration is committed to enduring engagement in Singapore, into Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific.”
Harris added: “The reason I am here is because the United States is a global leader, and we take that role seriously.”
Her comments came after the Taliban rapidly seized control of Afghanistan amid the American withdrawal of troops from the region and its difficulty extricating U.S. personnel and Afghan allies who remain stranded in Kabul. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore has offered military aircraft to aid in the evacuation effort. He also indicated that he hoped “Afghanistan does not become an epicenter for terrorism again.”
The Daily Mail noted:
“U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is seeking to reset relationships in Asia after the turbulent Trump era, and project Washington as a stabilising force in the face of growing Chinese aggression.
“But analysts say the seizure of power by the Taliban, notorious for their brutal 1996-2001 rule, and rapid collapse of US-trained Afghan forces have caused fresh concerns about U.S. dependability.”
The Afghanistan situation has left Asian nations worried about whether the United States is still committed to its allies. After the Biden administration placed Afghans who assisted the military in the region at risk, doubts about the nation’s loyalty have arisen. The Hill pointed out that these “concerns have been exacerbated in places such as Taiwan: Not only is there the looming threat of Chinese military action, but some now worry Beijing could be emboldened by the events in Afghanistan.”
The outlet further noted:
“Still, the question of American commitments and credibility is particularly prescient for South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, where U.S. military partnerships are seen as a bulwark against China’s regional ambitions and the persistent nuclear threat from North Korea.”
It isn’t only Asian nations that have looked askance at how Biden is handling the Afghanistan withdrawal. Even the United Kingdom, which has been engaged in the war on terror since the beginning, criticized the administration. Last week, the Houses of Parliament collectively castigated the Biden administration for failing to address the Taliban’s victory in the region.
The British parliament voted to hold Biden in contempt for the botched military operation. U.K. lawmakers slammed the administration for its “catastrophic” and “shameful” handling of the matter. Members accused the president of “throwing us and everybody else to the fire” and called him “dishonourable” for blaming the situation on the Afghan army’s lack of the will to fight against the Taliban.
Can America Be Taken Seriously?
The Biden administration seems fully aware that the nation’s reputation has taken a hit. Harris’ attempted reassurances demonstrate that the White House has much to do in the way of damage control. But this does raise a question: Can America’s allies take it seriously while Biden and Harris are at the helm?
Under Trump, allies may have had a strained relationship with the United States, but none of these countries seemed to doubt the U.S. commitment to its allies. Indeed, it was Biden’s haphazard method of approaching the end of the Afghanistan war that caused legitimate concern. Many on the left and the right marveled at the fact that the president did not bother to impose an evacuation before drawing down the rest of the troops and seemed to take it as a given that the Taliban would not have such a quick resurgence.
In light of the fact that members of the intelligence community have stated they informed the White House of the near certainty of such a calamity, Biden’s incompetence seems even more damning. Nevertheless, time will tell whether the president is able to regain the trust of America’s allies.
Read more from Jeff Charles.