America cut and ran with panicked incoherence

America cut and ran with panicked incoherence. By Peter Jennings.

The only thing worse than a “forever war”, as Biden has called the Afghan conflict, is a “forever defeat”. Biden has delivered that. …

There was no negotiation with Washington’s partners, and no attempt to manage a handover to the Afghans, who were simply abandoned after a shameful “agreement for bringing peace” was cut between the Trump administration and the Taliban and subsequently endorsed by Biden.

An obvious lesson for America’s allies is that none of the administration’s words, about America being back in the world and wanting to work with allies, can be taken at face value.

Biden’s national security team are polished Ivy League technocrats. Do any of them have the grit to face up to the immense strategic pressures undermining America’s place as the world’s pre-eminent strategic power?

A few thousand grimy Taliban fighters with AK-47s and Toyota pick-ups outlasted American power in Afghanistan. We are now asked to believe a rout in Central Asia somehow better positions Washington to deal with the People’s Republic of China in the Indo-Pacific. …

Who won, apart from Islam?

Who wins from the Afghan debacle? Terrorist organisations of all stripes win. Al-Qa’ida and the so-called Islamic State will have access to their old training grounds. Russia wins because it relishes American discomfort.

Beijing wins. Their foreign minister has already met with Taliban leaders. The PRC will be in Kabul before the end of the month with soft loans and hard power, with “smart cities” technology and “advisers” to help the Taliban consolidate control.

Who lost?

Now the Afghans will be in a world of pain for years…

America and its allies are diminished in hard and soft power. Xi and Vladimir Putin will be laughing at our collective stupidity.

A lesson for Australia:

A key lesson from Afghanistan for America’s allies is we all need to strengthen our own defence capabilities. We cannot assume the US will just be over the horizon ready to defend our strategic interests. …

This is a tough message for Australia, which has become habituated to think that defence spending at a little over 2 per cent of gross domestic product and a defence force about two-thirds the size of a Melbourne Cricket Ground crowd is enough to defend the country.

It’s almost as if Biden did what was best for China.