Before today, Europe believed Joe Biden was the master of all things. Today, European officials are concerned that the American government’s willingness to allow Afghanistan to fall into the hands of the insurgents inadvertently sped up what his predecessor, Donald Trump, supposedly began.
The world watches on in disappointment
Authorities across Europe have responded with a mixture of astonishment and disappointment. Even supporters of Biden’s election who hoped he would soothe current tensions in the transatlantic partnership say the departure from Afghanistan was a historic blunder.
I say it with a sense of great sadness and dismay at what is occurring, said Norbert Röttgen, head of the German legislature’s diplomacy committee. The early departure was a major and very far mistake by the present administration. The USA’s moral and political standing is severely harmed as a result of this.
— Aditi Mishra (@itiaditi7) August 17, 2021
Röttgen, a leader of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, isn’t a firebrand. He’d known Biden for years and was confident in his chances. Although Merkel has avoided outright condemnation of Biden, she has made it obvious behind the scenes that she thought a quick withdrawal was a blunder.
These were all bitter occurrences for those who trusted in democracy and liberty, particularly for women, she said in a conference with members from her organization late Monday, as per German news accounts.
Why does the spokesman for the cruel & murderous Taliban government in Afganistán have a Twitter account but our former President Donald Trump cannot?
Our country is so whack right now.
I can’t take it! pic.twitter.com/AELPIrnJQN
— Rachel Campos-Duffy (@RCamposDuffy) August 17, 2021
The mood was comparable in the United Kingdom, which, like Germany, had backed the US involvement in Afghanistan from the start. Since Suez, Afghanistan has been the worst international relations debacle.
We need to reconsider how we deal with allies, who counts, and how we protect our aspirations, Tom Tugendhat, the Tory chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the British parliament, wrote.
Clearly, this has harmed America’s reputation, as well as that of the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, according to Rüdiger Lentz, the former chairman of the Berlin-based Aspen Institute.
Disheartening to see those visuals from #Afganistan.
I think "UNO works for international peace and cooperation.” was added in our textbooks just for fun.
— David Deepak (@DavidDeepak08) August 17, 2021
One could only pray that the harm to America’s dominance in global affairs is limited
While dissatisfaction with the direction of affairs in Afghanistan was felt throughout Europe, it was especially strong in Germany. The Afghan operation was not simply about rushing to an ally’s help or “nation-building” for Germany; it was also about showing the world, as well as Germany, it already transformed.
The campaign in Afghanistan was Germany’s first significant commitment since the Second World War. In 2001, when Chancellor Gerhard Schröder started asking the German legislature to endorse the military objective in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, he ran into opposition from his own Democratic Socialists.
Finally, he decided it was worth his political survival by tying the judgment to a confidence motion. Schröder later complained to acquaintances that US President George W. Bush didn’t recognize the danger he’d taken, which may reflect why the chancellor declined to support the US invasion of Iraq a year afterward.