This time there were no tears or lamentation for Afghanistan. Joe biden had a strong and combative tone by formally announcing this Tuesday in a message to the nation that the United States had put an end to the longest war in its history and firmly defend its decision to withdraw troops, despite the chaos that was generated at the exit.
In addition, he put on the board a new vision of the foreign policy of the United States: intervene militarily only in places where US security interests are affected and not to rebuild countries.
“It was the best option between leaving or climbing and I was not going to extend an eternal war, I was not going to extend an eternal way out, “he said in an expected speech at the White House. “We no longer had a target in Afghanistan. It is the right decision, a wise decision and the best decision ”, he assured.
And he promised to continue counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan, but without forces on the ground: “ISIS-K, we are not done with you yet ”, he warned, and spoke of harsh and “very targeted” attacks against the terrorist organization that claimed responsibility for Thursday’s bombing at the Kabul airport, which killed 13 US soldiers and some 170 Afghan civilians. “We will not forget, we will not forgive,” he cried.
The president was until the last moment weighing every word of his speech together with his top security advisers and diplomats and for that reason he delayed his presentation for several hours.
It was a difficult challenge: although it was the message that he longed to deliver since he assumed the presidency – that the longest war in the history of the United States was ending – Biden never imagined it would end in that chaotic, bloody way, wrapped in a halo of failure because the Taliban had suddenly returned to power, where they were precisely 20 years ago.
In the last speech on Afghanistan, last Thursday, Biden had appeared before the cameras head down, tearful and very shocked for the death of US soldiers in the airport bombing.
This time was different. His tone was raised, sure, away from the whispers that were barely heard last week. He firmly defended himself against the criticism he had endured. “I take responsibility for the decision,” he said. “Some say that the evacuation could have started earlier, but I respectfully disagree, if it had started, in the middle of the civil war, it would have been worse,” he explained.
“To those who ask for a third decade of war, I ask: What is our national interest there? “he cried.
And there he pointed out that the world was changing with different challenges as Chinese competition, cybersecurity, nuclear proliferation and that then the foreign policy of the United States, under his presidency, was going to be different. “We have to set targets that we can meet. And that they serve our interests ”.
The objective of the speech then was to refocus the message to the Americans: that, despite the setbacks, it was necessary for the United States to leave Afghanistan because this withdrawal is in the best interest of national security.
And, furthermore, to emphasize that, under his presidency, the foreign policy of the United States be guided by national interests of American country and security. Nothing to invest money and blood of soldiers in remote conflicts that do not have an impact on the citizens.
Paradoxically, it is a kind of “America first”(USA first), the premise of his predecessor, Donald Trump. And an idea that is very popular, especially in the interior of the country. In fact, it was the former president himself who agreed to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2020 and Biden decided to make it happen.
A recent Pew Research Center survey revealed that a majority of Americans (54%) endorses Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. But 69% said that the country had failed to achieve its objectives in that country.
Biden has highlighted in recent days that in Afghanistan Osama Bin Laden and the threat of Al Qaeda had been eliminated, one of the objectives sought with the offensive unleashed by the US. after the attacks of September 11, 2001. But, obviously, the democratization of the country has not been achieved and the Taliban have returned to power.
Too sought to stop criticism by the chaotic exit from Kabul. “We have completed one of the largest air evacuations in history, with more than 120,000 people evacuated safely. That number is more than double what most experts said is possible. No nation has done something like this in all of history, “he said.
And he promised that the nearly two hundred Americans still in Afghanistan will be evacuated, pero through diplomatic efforts.