Connect with Point of View   to get exclusive commentary and updates

Biden Broke NATO 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
By: The Editorial Board – wsj.com – August 19, 2021

This was a fulfillment of their obligations after the Sept. 11 terror attack led to the first invocation of the mutual self-defense clause in NATO’s founding treaty. European allies also have a stake in preventing a nation of nearly 40 million people from collapsing into a failed state that could trigger more mass migration to Europe, or become a new breeding ground for terrorism.

Yet everything about Mr. Biden’s Afghan withdrawal has been a slap to those allies. They didn’t want the U.S. to leave, but he did. The botched execution has left them scrambling to airlift out thousands of their citizens and thousands more Afghan translators and others who assisted each nation’s war effort.

And the snubs keep coming from Washington. In his Monday speech, Mr. Biden made only a glancing reference to NATO and none to America’s European alliesin his account of the conflict. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly had to wait a day and a half after requesting a call with the President to get Mr. Biden on the phone.

No wonder European leaders are apoplectic. U.K. Defense Minister Ben Wallace called the Trump -Biden agreement with the Taliban “a rotten deal,” in an interview this month after the Taliban started capturing chunks of the country. In Parliament on Wednesday, Tom Tugendhat —chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee who served in the British forces in Afghanistan—called Mr. Biden “shameful” for blaming the retreat on a supposedly pusillanimous Afghan military. Former Prime Minister Theresa May criticized Mr. Biden for following President Trump’s lead in a “unilateral” negotiation with the Taliban.

Press reports say German Chancellor Angela Merkel told her conservative party she believed Mr. Biden withdrew “for domestic political reasons.” Her potential successor, head of the Christian Democratic Union Armin Laschet, called theAfghan withdrawal “the biggest debacle that NATO has suffered since its founding, and we’re standing before an epochal change.”

French President Emmanuel Macron took considerable flak in 2019 for saying NATO is experiencing “brain death.” He warned that with or without President Trump in office, the U.S. was becoming a less reliable ally and argued that Europe would need to “reassess the reality of what NATO is in light of the commitment of the United States.” Mr. Biden has made him seem prescient, and the wonder is that Mr. Macron has been too polite this week to point it out. French leaders are now planning for the refugee crisis Paris fears Mr. Biden has unleashed on Europe.


European leaders have never demanded an open-ended U.S. commitment to Afghanistan. But NATO allies were justified in expecting that if the U.S. were to withdraw, it would do so in consultation with its partners. Mr. Biden’s failure here, and it’s a NATO-endangering one, is to offer stark proof that America’s supposedly grown-up liberal internationalists are as much in global retreat as some Trump Republicans.

Other allies are noticing. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen warned this week that in light of the U.S. retreat, “Taiwan’s only option is to grow stronger and become more united, strengthening our determination to protect ourselves.” It’s a telling remark because Mr. Biden says he has withdrawn from Afghanistan in part to devote more resources to East Asia. Instead his chaotic, almost callous withdrawal is casting doubt on U.S. credibility.

A President who understood foreign affairs as well as Mr. Biden claims he does would grasp the damage his disgraceful Afghanistan exit has inflicted on America’s alliances and reputation. He will never be trusted the same way again.

To see this article and subscribe to others like it, choose to read more.

Read More

Source: How Biden Broke NATO – WSJ