by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden’s foreign policy chops have been tested and his administration’s reputation for policy precision questioned after the Afghan government’s implosion.
Biden and his aides are being criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike for the United States’s botched exit from Afghanistan after hundreds of Afghans, including allies, descended on Kabul’s international airport, the only way out of the country and away from a potentially vengeful Taliban regime.
The fall of U.S.-backed Afghanistan is immensely problematic for Biden, according to political analyst Dan Schnur, a Republican-turned-independent at the University of California. Not solely because of the policy and geopolitical ramifications, Schnur said, but because it also undermines Biden’s standing as a president who understands the federal government and wanted to rebuild U.S. credibility overseas.
“It’s a lot harder for him to make those cases now, and it will harm him politically,” he told the Washington Examiner.
Afghanistan appears to be a misstep for Biden, agreed Costas Panagopoulos, a Northeastern University politics professor and commentator. But it may not be politically fatal to the president, he said, depending on what comes next.
“One mistake, even one as serious as Afghanistan, may not sink Biden, but an ongoing series will do lasting damage,” Panagopoulos added.”Unfortunately for Biden, however, this miscalculation will put every other decision and policy under the microscope and give fodder to critics seeking to fuel attacks.”
Developments are still playing out in Afghanistan, but Biden’s statements are already being more closely examined. His assurances, for instance, that the Taliban’s ascendance was “not inevitable” and that there would be “zero” echoes between Afghanistan and the emergency evacuations from Saigon after the Vietnam War are being reassessed.
White House talking points are aimed at spinning those past Afghanistan comments.