Ukraine War, August 28, 2023: Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan could cost him the election

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Dispatches

1) Marc A. Thiessen, “Biden’s disastrous pullout from Afghanistan could cost him reelection,” Washington Post, August 28, 2023 (7:00 am EDT),

2) Sherelle Jacobs, “Civilisation or barbarism: that is the choice facing all great powers now; Humanity is confronting a pivotal moment that could consign us to darkness or launch a new era of liberty,” The Telegraph, August 28, 2023 (7:57pm);

3) Franklin Foer, “THE FINAL DAYS: Joe Biden was determined to get out of Afghanistan—no matter the cost, The Atlantic, August 29, 2023 (6 am ET);

Marc A. Thiessen, a pro-Republican columnist for the Washington Post, has put together a devastating analysis of President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, its impact on public opinion, and how it could cost him the election in 2024.

Thiessen succinctly analyzes the misrepresentations and simple lies by Biden regarding support for his decision among military leaders and other aspects of the withdrawal, including his affirmation that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was “an extraordinary success”.

We have spoken out about the incompetence of Biden’s foreign policy team, and repeatedly urged that it be strengthened and that key figures be replaced.

We have characterized the Afghanistan withdrawal decision as the most catastrophic foreign policy decision by a Western leader since Ėdouard Daladier and Neville Chamberlain agreed to cede the Sudeteenland to Adolf Hitler in the infamous 1938 Munich Pact.

A very strong case can be made that Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in April, 2021, his summit meeting with Vladimir Putin in June, and the disastrous execution of the withdrawal in July and August, emboldened Putin to invade Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

In March, 2021 Russia was massing troops for an invasion of Ukraine. In April, Biden decided to withdraw from Afghanistan and Russia stopped threatening an invasion. Whether there was a connection between the two developments is not publicly known. In June, Putin and Biden met in person. The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan culminated in August, 2021.  By October, Putin was planning a renewed invasion of Ukraine, which Russia first invaded in 2014.

Biden’s disastrous foreign policy judgment and decisions could cost the Democrats the presidency in 2024.

From an objective point of view, he is not a viable candidate for the 2024 election.  His and the Democrats’ best chance of victory is if Donald Trump is the Republican candidate in November, 2024.

***

Franklin Foer, a writer for The Atlantic, has published excerpts from his forthcoming book, The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future.. The excerpts from the book constitute a one-sided and uncritical account of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and evacuation from Kabul in August, 2021.

The book is the equivalent of a gushing one-sided eyewitness news report.

Devoid of political or strategic insight, the book is essentially an apology for the good intentions and difficult emotions experienced by American officials as they saw the catastrophic, and entirely predictable, effects President Joe Biden’s calamitous decision in April, 2021 to withdraw all American troops and contractors from the country.

While the experiences of specific Afghanis is not described in any detail, the author does note the anguish felt by State Department officials working on a Task Force working on the evacuation. Foer reports as follows:

When Wendy Sherman, the deputy secretary of state, went to check in with members of a task force working on the evacuation, she found grizzled diplomats in tears. She estimated that a quarter of the State Department’s personnel had served in Afghanistan. They felt a connection with the country, an emotional entanglement. Fielding an overwhelming volume of emails describing hardship cases, they easily imagined the faces of refugees. They felt the shame and anger that come with the inability to help. To When Wendy Sherman, the deputy secretary of state, went to check in with members of a task force working on the evacuation, she found grizzled diplomats in tears. She estimated that a quarter of the State Department’s personnel had served in Afghanistan. They felt a connection with the country, an emotional entanglement. Fielding an overwhelming volume of emails describing hardship cases, they easily imagined the faces of refugees. They felt the shame and anger that come with the inability to help. To deal with the trauma, the State Department procured therapy dogs that might ease the staff’s pain. deal with the trauma, the State Department procured therapy dogs that might ease the staff’s pain.

The book is deeply offensive, uncritically portraying as it does the hubris and self-centered nature of America’s involvement in Afghanistan.

On the other hand, it provides interesting details about what was going through American officials’ minds during the withdrawal and evacuation of Kabul in August, 2021.

Ultimately, the book underlines the fundamental shortcomings of a book based on numerous interviews with key participants in events, and little else.

This is journalism, but not journalism at its best, not journalism as the first draft of history.

The Trenchant Observer

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