We include two sharply contrasting accounts on the political fall-out from the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The first, by former British Ambassador to the US Sir Christopher Meyer argues that President Biden's decision to withdraw was the right one in spite of the current shambles.
"[Biden's] address will not have satisfied those who question the wisdom of a deadline that handed the initiative to the enemy or of using Donald Trump’s botched 2020 agreement with the Taliban as a basis for withdrawal. It will not have satisfied those who wonder why the great military base and airfield at Bagram was abandoned so early. It will certainly not have satisfied the British Government and Nato allies who stood shoulder to shoulder with America in its hour of anguish after the 9/11 attack in 2001, invoking for the first time Article 5 of the Nato treaty, which deems an attack on one is an attack on all members of the alliance.
Yet, Biden has done us a favour. Foreign policy works best when, stripped of illusions and overblown rhetoric, it is based on a hard-headed calculation of national interests. The real significance of Biden’s words on Tuesday is an apparent recognition of these home truths. There are even the first signs of a Biden Doctrine, which, if implemented, would mark a radical break with the past."
The second, by Dominic Green provides a withering account of the President's response to the unfolding disaster and a glimpse into the character flaws of the man now residing in the White House.
"The reality is that Biden has been in high office for sixteen of the twenty years of the War on Terror. No one in this White House was more for it before he was against it. Even when he did develop misgivings about nation-building, Biden supported funding and arming the Afghan allies that he now denounces for “corruption and malfeasance”. The failures of empathy and honesty that we are now witnessing, and his rage at being called to account, are truthful reflections of Biden’s career as a paragon of institutional folly."
Only time will tell what the long-term implications of the current crisis for us in the West will be.
Both articles can be read in full here with links to the originals beneath them: