WASHINGTON, SEPT 4 – “America is back,” goes President Joe Biden’s catchphrase, but his unapologetic exit from Afghanistan shows America won’t be back to business as usual.
Beyond the trauma of the Kabul evacuation, Biden is pitching a much broader retreat: a halt to using vast military resources to impose order and US values around the planet.
“This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan,” Biden said in what many see as a historic speech on Tuesday. “It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.”
“Human rights will be at the centre of our foreign policy but the way to do that is not through endless military deployments,” he said.
“Our strategy has to change.” Benjamin Haddad, director of the Europe Center at the Atlantic Council and an expert on transatlantic relations, called the speech “one of the most eloquent repudiations of liberal internationalism by any US president in the last decades.”
For those Americans fond of imagining their country to be a unique, invincible superpower — winner of the Cold War, then awesome military interventionist everywhere from Iraq to Africa ever since — this is a shock.
For most, though, polls show Biden’s pivot is likely to be popular.