By Ryan Hass, Brookings Institute
In recent days, many analysts have stepped forward to provide predictions on how America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan will impact China’s regional and global standing. Some argue the withdrawal will free up American resources to focus on China and the Indo-Pacific. For others, the withdrawal opens a vacuum for China to exploit. Still others assert that Taiwan is now more vulnerable because Beijing has taken the measure of America’s resolve and competence and found it lacking.
While it is difficult to know with certainty how China’s leaders are evaluating developments in Afghanistan, it is possible to draw a few preliminary conclusions. The following observations are based on over a decade of discussions with Chinese officials and experts focused on such questions.