As the U.S. retreats from Afghanistan, scrambling to get the remnants of American diplomats, non-government agency personnel, and contractors out of the country, the specter of what happens next looms over the chaos. Liberty Nation reported on Iran’s drone strike on an Israeli tanker as another indication that Iran is growing bolder. Disregarding the outrage of western nations, Tehran showed a determination to discard norms of international behavior and attack innocent, civilian commercial vessels in international waters.
The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Shaw sees the Biden administration’s debacle in Afghanistan as a catalyst in escalating mischief in the Middle East. Shaw explained:
“The Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan, while swift and dramatic, is neither the first nor the sole challenge to the U.S. and its allies taking place in and around the region. Iran is mounting another, no less significant push. Behind both offensives is the perception that the regional order is failing, and the U.S. is retreating.”
Expecting a failure of the Middle East “regional order” is a complete reversal of the regional optimism the Trump administration had achieved, brokering the Abraham Accords between Israel and Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, and the UAE. Seth J. Frantzman, writing for The Jerusalem Post, laid out the concerns many feel in his article: “Afghanistan debacle message for U.S. allies, including Israel – analysis.” Frantzman criticized the Biden administration for dispassionately referring to U.S. “interests” in the Middle East rather than “partners and allies.” He explained: “U.S. support for the Abraham Accords is also a key issue. The new U.S. administration won’t even call the Israeli peace deals by their name, but it has put out messaging praising the normalization Israel now has with Gulf states and Morocco.” More condemning, Frantzman got right to the geopolitical and strategic heart of the matter, explaining:
“When the U.S. refuses to even see countries as allies but calls them ‘interests’ and then asks to help with confrontation with Russia and China, many countries wonder what happens when the U.S. shifts policies, and the ‘interests’ no longer align. These countries are asking themselves if it is in their ‘interest’ to confront China or Russia or Iran.”
Israel is not part of the big global competitor confrontations. On the contrary, Jerusalem sees the consequences closer to home of an emboldened Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, and a host of terrorist groups nearby. Any provocation is ample motivation for the Islamic jihadists who hold Israel in the crosshairs. The perception among Israel’s sworn enemies is that perhaps the United States, rather than a partner and protector, is more of a paper tiger. Again, from Shaw:
“Lebanese Hezbollah’s launch of 20 Katyusha missiles at Israel on Aug. 6 represents a sharp breach of the de facto rules that have largely held along the border since the end of the Second Lebanon War 15 years ago. The launch itself and the claim of responsibility by Hezbollah—Iran’s proxy—reflect an apparent willingness on the part of the Lebanese Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps franchise to provoke Israel.”
Perhaps the most damning commentary on the willingness of Joe Biden – and, by extension, his entire administration – to stand behind allies and friends when the chips are down is the president’s own words. Daily Mail’s Andrew Neil opined on the plight of women and children in Afghanistan and their return to “medieval status, or worse.” He wrote:
“Biden had nothing to say about any of this in his speech. Perhaps he doesn’t care. In 2010, he told Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s special representative for Afghanistan, that the U.S. had to leave, regardless of the consequences for women. Holbrooke records in his diary that, when confronted with America’s obligations to ordinary Afghans, he replied: ‘F— that. We don’t have to worry about that. We did it in Vietnam. Nixon and Kissinger got away with it.'”
But did Nixon and Kissinger get away with it? Decidedly, they did not. Vietnam is a stain on U.S. national security leadership that has not gone away. Otherwise, why have the nearly constant comparisons between the fall of Saigon and the disaster taking place in Kabul filled news analysis almost 24/7? And, by all recent media accounts – even the slobbering, adoring mainstream press – Biden is not getting away with it.
As for the Jerusalem government, it, sadly, sees the current U.S. national security and foreign policy crowd as feckless, incompetent, and unreliable. Consequently, the security of the Jewish state will not depend on the U.S. In an August 18, 2021, article in The Jerusalem Post, Lahav Harkov wrote:
“Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs president Dore Gold, who was Foreign Ministry director-general under Netanyahu, said it is important for Israel to study the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan. The message of the situation in Afghanistan ‘is that Israel’s doctrine of self-reliance has no replacement,’ Gold said. ‘Israel understood all along that its defense doctrine cannot be based on foreign forces, but the ability of Israel to defend itself by itself,’ he stated.”
The Israelis have it right. All the evidence points to a U.S. incapable of dealing effectively with crises. If Biden really wanted to make a comparison between his cowering, failed policy and the success of then-President Nixon, he’d look to the decisiveness with which Nixon implemented Operation Nickel Grass, airlifting vital combat equipment to Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. But that was then, and this is now. The United States is painted with the growing disgrace of Biden’s failed leadership and his administration’s ineptitude. If America’s friends and allies are doubting U.S. resolve, they have good cause.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
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