By Samuel Goldman, The Week
America’s European allies are not happy about the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. In a speech last week, the EU’s foreign policy official Josep Borrell described the situation as a “catastrophe.” Borrell is not the only European critic. German politician Armin Laschet, who leads the ruling Christian Democratic Union, called recent events “the biggest debacle NATO has suffered since its founding.” Even traditional supporters of the U.S. in the U,K,’s Conservative Party have called for re-evaluating trans-Atlantic relations. “We need to think again about how we handle friends, who matters, and how we defend our interests,” tweeted Tory MP Tom Tugendhat.
Biden’s domestic opponents have seized on such remarks to mount a broader criticism of the administration. In an interview over the weekend, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted that “this debacle will certainly harm America’s credibility with its friends and allies.” The underlying idea, which has adherents in both parties, is that American power depends on the perception that the U.S. is capable, determined, and reliable. If we don’t uphold our public commitments the argument goes, why should anyone take us seriously?