Trudy Rubin: After Afghanistan failure, what is America prepared to fight for now?

triblive.com
4 min read
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As the news shifts, many Americans may think the war in Afghanistan is over. Not so. The searing scenes of Kabul's fall are having a powerful impact on America's global image, including the abandonment of Afghan allies. Chinese and Russian propaganda outlets are gleefully trumpeting scenes of America's "defeat." NATO
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As the news shifts, many Americans may think the war in Afghanistan is over.

Not so. The searing scenes of Kabul's fall are having a powerful impact on America's global image, including the abandonment of Afghan allies.

Chinese and Russian propaganda outlets are gleefully trumpeting scenes of America's "defeat." NATO allies who had troops in Afghanistan are bitter that they were forced to leave Afghan staff and their own nationals — because President Biden didn't consult them.

And the final U.S. defeat — set in motion by former President Trump's surrender treaty with the Taliban and finalized by Biden's exit — raises questions about whom and what our country is willing to fight for.

The Biden team needs to look far deeper than the defensive justifications that the president and top officials have been presenting in public. Here are some of the questions I believe should top the list.

• Why was the exit from Kabul so disastrous?

Whether or not you think Biden should have pulled out U.S. troops, this question must be dissected. White House efforts to spin the U.S. military's herculean last-minute efforts cannot obscure the fact of Taliban victory.

(And GOP hysteria over the chaotic exit is totally hypocritical given Trump's aborted efforts to schedule sudden pullouts before leaving office, and his disastrous U.S. pullout from the Syrian border with Turkey.)

The evacuation chaos has fed a perception by allies and enemies of U.S. incompetence that started with Trump over covid-19 failures, and has been advanced by conservatives' vaccine refusal and global warming denial. Now the messy exit from Kabul is added to the evidence list.

How could U.S. intelligence have failed so badly — when the string of Taliban victories after Biden's withdrawal…
Trudy Rubin
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