When President Joe Biden came into office, I was told ad nauseam that the “adults are back in charge.”
Biden issued record executive actions to “clean up” Donald Trump’s mess, as Barack Obama supposedly did 12 years prior with George W. Bush.
But in his defiant Monday address, the “adult” claimed he could not fix one mess.
Biden also admitted he was surprised by how fast the Afghan government collapsed. Really? Sitting in a t-shirt and shorts in rural America, I sent texts Friday morning predicting Kabul would fall by Sunday night. I understood this reality, but the president and his cadre of “experts” did not? Or perhaps Biden ignored his hand-picked foreign policy team, who overwhelmingly advised him against withdrawal?
Biden made “America is back” the unofficial slogan of his presidency. How does that sound to those who clung to a C-17 aircraft before plunging to their deaths, or the teenage Afghan girls forced to marry Taliban fighters? Every rogue nation — from China and Russia to Iran — is more powerful now than seven months ago.
Every four years, a Democrat presidential candidate claims he represents the “smart party” on global affairs. He (or she) is not isolationist or interventionist; the person is tough but also nuanced. And every four years, the media fawns over these Democrats.
The Obama administration cleverly referred to its own policies as “smart power.” Obama infamously mocked Mitt Romney during a 2012 presidential debate while discussing Vladimir Putin’s Russia, claiming: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” Romney was proven correct by future events.
Yet what often happens whenever the self-proclaimed “smart” Democrats come to power? Disasters, like the catastrophic incoherence and tactical incompetence we witnessed over the last 96 hours.
“Nation building has failed” and “forever wars” remain perfidious clichés. The strawman is rebuked by explaining that a small security contingent is not nation building, and when your foreign policy is built upon a simplistic slogan, you get a new terrorist safe haven and millions of women enslaved by Taliban.
Related: Biden Promised to Bring ‘Competence’ Back to Government. So Where Is It?
“We are in Afghanistan for America,” GOP fundraiser Eric Levine wrote me Tuesday. “The purpose of our presence is first and foremost to prevent the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations from using Afghanistan as a base to launch attacks against the American homeland, and our interests around the world, like on 9/11. The president used the weakness and fecklessness of the Afghan government and its military as a reason for us to leave. But it is precisely because the Afghan government alone is not capable of preventing these terrorist organizations from using the country as a base to plot and carry out attacks that we need to be there.”
The idea that Afghans weren’t willing to fight is also bogus, since they’ve successfully done most of the fighting since 2014. More Americans are killed every weekend in Chicago than during the last six years in Afghanistan.
But once Biden announced our departure, we removed the only advantage they had over the Taliban, and it became a fight they couldn’t win. Afghan forces suddenly were emotionally outnumbered, and once Biden put cheap politics ahead of strategy and pulled air support, America’s abandonment became demoralizing.
“It didn’t have to be this way,” former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said Tuesday in a fact-filled excoriation. “Biden destroyed the progress, the relationships and everything we had done the past 20 years. This couldn’t have gone any worse. It is not always what we do; it’s how we do it. He failed miserably and humiliated America.”