Issues & Insights
This Burqa seller thrives as Taliban prepare to retake Afghanistan. Photo: Jan Chipchase, licensed under (CC BY-SA 3.0). (

Afghanistan’s Tragic Collapse And The Death Of U.S. Influence

It’s one thing to lose a war intentionally, quite another to botch it so badly that it damages our relations around the world. But thanks to the epic ineptitude of the Biden administration, our military leaders and dysfunctional intelligence agencies, that’s exactly what has happened.

The news couldn’t be more depressing. Our president’s response was, no joke, a strongly worded letter to the Taliban from our United Nations ambassador. At the same time, our own State Department informed U.S. citizens now stuck in the capital of Kabul that they should make their way to Karzai Airport if they can, but that the U.S. can’t guarantee their safety.

Even as the horrible images of the Taliban’s takeover come tumbling in over social media and news sites, the harm to the U.S. and its global reputation has been significant.

The Taliban has already started killing people, including a woman for not wearing a burka, while making up more comprehensive death lists of those who will be summarily murdered once it takes total control.

Here’s how the London Times describes the mayhem:

Despite pledges to be magnanimous, the Taliban have been accused of beheading prisoners, gouging out eyes and executing hundreds. Fleeing civilians have brought tales of girls forced into marriage or kidnapped as sex slaves. Video on social media shows Islamists pumping machine gun rounds into the bodies of captured Afghan policemen.

This is what the Biden administration’s ineptitude hath wrought. Now add to that the hundreds of Americans and other Westerners now stranded and cut off from leaving after Kabul’s main airport came under Taliban control “unexpectedly.”

Another hostage crisis, as in 1979 Iran, anyone?

After the Biden administration’s betrayal of both the Americans who fought there over two decades and the brave Afghanis who dared to work with us to build a better country, it’s hard to see the U.S. regaining its status as the world’s champion of freedom and justice.

But the negative fallout of President Joe Biden’s weakness, dishonesty and, to be frank, outright stupidity won’t be limited to our military or our wounded national pride and prestige.

Already, the disastrous effects are creating an even more unstable and dangerous world, with our enemies ascendant. Michael Walsh calls it the death of the “liberal world order,” and it’s hard to argue with that.

As but one example, China under born-again Maoist Xi Jinping is even now rattling swords in the direction of Taiwan. And, why not? China now sees the U.S., in a term the Chinese coined years ago, as a “paper tiger.” Beijing won’t fear a response from the U.S., because it thinks we’ll do nothing.

Don’t believe it? How’s this for a headline: “China vows to ‘crush’ any U.S. troops on Taiwan ‘by force’ and conducts live fire naval exercises in South China Sea after Biden abandoned Afghanistan.”

Does anyone think Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, India and a host of other China-adjacent countries that have relied on our strength feel better today than they did last week? Will they ever trust our assurances again?

Thanks to Joe Biden’s errors, the shadow of China now looms larger over a vast swath of the world, including Afghanistan itself, which Xi hopes to add to his world-girding “Belt and Road” initiative. It’s a great day for Russia, China, Iran and radical Islam, our greatest foes, who are all no doubt having a hearty laugh at our expense.

Russia’s neo-czarist-former-KGB-thug Vladimir Putin already has been gifted by Biden after the U.S. leader OK’d Russia’s energy pipeline to Western Europe, which will lead to greater dependence on Moscow, less on the U.S.

An emboldened Putin might decide to take over the Baltics, or return to cause trouble in the Ukraine. He’ll start bullying others in Eastern Europe as well, while expanding Russian influence in the Mideast. And why not, if the U.S. no longer stands in the way?

Meanwhile, Afghanistan is once again open for business as a sanctuary for America-hating Islamist terrorists. And guess what? Biden’s open-border policy now carries the very real threat of some of those terrorists coming across our border with Mexico, as our own outgoing Border Patrol chief just warned us.

Even just asking OPEC for a little more oil, please, Biden came up dry. The leaders of the oil cartel sense that the U.S. leader is no longer the “strong horse,” as the ancient Arabic saying goes, and said a firm “no” to boosting their output to ease U.S. surging energy prices.

It’s abundantly clear to any reasonable person that Biden, whether due to age-related mental decline or simple incompetence, is in over his head. As we’ve seen with so many issues, ranging from the flood of illegals into our country to his mishandling of COVID-19, he’s not up to the job.

His ineptitude is bad enough. But he straight up lied to Americans about what was happening. A new report out from the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General shows that Biden knew full well what would happen, but moved forward with his withdrawal anyway.

“The report is peppered with DIA intelligence and media reporting that showed the Afghan forces couldn’t ward off Taliban aggression without U.S. and coalition support, yet the Biden administration responded with surprise as the Taliban took one provincial capital after another and last weekend arrived in Kabul,” a piece in Townhall summarizes.

CIA officials and military leaders are letting it be known they warned Biden and the White House of this:

“As the Taliban began seizing provinces across Afghanistan in recent weeks, the CIA’s intelligence assessments began to warn in increasingly stark terms about the potential for a rapid, total collapse of the Afghan military and government, current and former U.S. officials told NBC News.”

It’s clear that the current military leadership, likewise, can no longer claim the respect needed to lead our defense forces.

The recent focus on “woke” initiatives in the armed forces and on “domestic terrorism” to the detriment of our defense readiness and ability to respond to catastrophes such as the one in Afghanistan, is an indictment of Biden, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and Biden Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

With the bumbling Kamala Harris waiting in the wings as his successor, Biden’s resignation would likely please neither Democrats nor Republicans. Still, he deserves to go, as do the others responsible for this debacle. It’s time for some accountability and a restoration of our ability to defend ourselves and our interests in a hostile world.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Am I the only one who suspects the destruction of USA influence around the world was the goal and this fiasco was part of the plan with the throwaway puppet Biden taking the hit?

  • This is a truly terrifying prospect (fall of Afghanistan with large numbers of Americans, American troops, and former Afghan people and families who were affiliated with the former Afghan government and military).
    It puts our country, alliances, economy and even pandemic response in a precarious situation, and puts American territories and the continental United States at risk of attack.
    DEFCON state immediately went up from 4 or 5 up to DEFCON 2 or 3, (DEFCON1 is outbreak of nuclear war).
    Likely DEFCON state is classified, so I don’t have inside information.

  • Why does everybody assume the Afghan debacle was incompetence? Biden himself may not know what he’s doing — literally — but whoever is pulling his strings knew exactly what they were doing.

  • In his elliptic explanation for the Afghanistan disaster, Joe Biden has gone rogue with the truth. He has arrogated to himself a grand fiction, one that a few disingenuous Democrats are dissembling into their own fictional narratives so as to polish their boss. But most Democratic officeholders, along with all other sentient Americans, know exactly which cat should be belled. No Byzantine intrigues can disguise the absurdity of Biden’s calamitous decision, nor can he credibly claim that big bad Trump made him do it. This is the Slow Joe Show in primetime and he owns it bigly.

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