As the last of our troops leave Afghanistan despite U.S. citizens behind on the ground, bluecheck Twitter is feverishly disseminating an Atlantic essay explaining, per its headline, why “Biden Deserves Credit, Not Blame, for Afghanistan.” Foreign policy tests establishment loyalties these days, as the chattering class supports both President Biden and endless conflict. David Rothkopf’s argument in The Atlantic mercifully gives the Jen Rubins among us cause to celebrate President Biden amid this disaster.
The argument, however, is predicated on a false dichotomy, one that is consuming debate over our departure from Afghanistan and needlessly undercutting the movement against nation-building.
Consider these two back-to-back sentences from Rothkopf’s article: “The White House was indeed surprised by how quickly the Taliban took control, and those early days could have been handled better. But the critics argued that more planning both would have been able to stop the Taliban victory and might have made America’s departure somehow tidier, more like a win