by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
John Daniel Davidson of the Federalist offers a discouraging prediction about America’s future.
Our total defeat and ignominious, disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan, after 20 years of war and nation-building, closes a chapter on post-9/11 America — and opens another.
What comes next is to some extent uncertain, but you don’t need to be a grand strategist to see the broad outlines of what is already taking shape.
First and most obvious, Afghanistan will revert to being a terrorist haven. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, by its very nature, will not keep to itself, the erstwhile assurances of Taliban officials notwithstanding. Every committed jihadist on earth who can get to Afghanistan is headed that way now or making plans to do so. …
… In practical terms, this means in the years to come we’re almost certainly going to see a resurgence of Islamist terrorism worldwide, and likely another attack on American soil. Why? Because for al-Qaeda, and for jihadists the world over, the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan is a vindication of 9/11, a strategic victory. After 20 hard years, they won and we lost.
Osama bin Laden predicted something like this would happen. Not long after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, bin Laden issued a “letter to the American people,” in which he declared that, like the Soviet invasion of an earlier generation, the Americans would eventually leave in defeat. …
… [A] Soviet-style collapse of the United States won’t happen. But our humiliation in Afghanistan will have global reverberations. The military power of the United States was the last institution of public life Americans really trusted, and it was the foundation of other nations’ trust in us — or fear of us.
Our adversaries will react accordingly. China, above all, will understand our defeat in Afghanistan as the end of American deterrence and a chance to press its irredentist agenda in Taiwan and the South China Sea. Moscow and Tehran will come to similar conclusions, as will Pyongyang.