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Four reasons why Biden ‘failed’ in Afghanistan withdrawal

In this article:
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Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss America's 'disasterous' withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Video Transcript

- Where did they go wrong? It's so obvious. I mean, the Russians, the British, hundreds of years of failure here in terms of Western countries or in the case of Russia-- Russia trying to impose their will and failing. And who were we to think we'd be any different?

- Well, you can't blame Biden for that. You can't blame Biden for 20 years and $2 trillion of failure. That's just not on right.

I mean, Bush the Bush administration deserves truly the greatest level of responsibility for the decision and the way they pursued that war. But as well as Obama for the failed surge, as well as Trump for the failed negotiations with the Taliban and drawing down US forces that were not conditioned based at that point. And now Biden for the execution of the actual withdrawal.

So everyone-- everyone gets a piece of this. But let's focus on because Biden is the president now. And the buck stops with him for things that he can decide what the hell did he do wrong.

And I would focus, I think there are four different pieces of that. The first is the military and intelligence failure. The United States has indeed spent almost $90 billion in training an Afghan force that refused to fight again. That-- that is on every administration since Bush.

But after 20 years of personally training Afghan forces on the ground, the Biden administration somehow didn't understand the morale and the capabilities of those forces. That is just unconscionable for them to get it that wrong.

I mean, literally when Biden made the decision to push off to forestall the May exit that Trump had said we would do, and said instead it's going to be August. Everyone out by September 11.

At that point, US intelligence agencies said that Kabul could hold off the Taliban for two to three years without the United States. Last weekend, it was two to three days. In my life, I have never seen. I have never seen an intelligence failure like that.

Then you have the coordination failure. Biden is the guy that's supposed to be engaged with the Allies. We've been fighting with these allies on the ground for 20 years. 20 years.

When we were attacked on 9/11, we asked NATO come to our defense and they did. And they fought bravely side by side with the Americans for all this time. And when we decided that we were going to leave, that was a policy decision that we made by ourselves.

That Afghan policy review was done internally by the United States. Nobody else was involved. I find that unconscionable. And furthermore, I mean, it wasn't just about the decision to leave. It was also the ongoing decision of how are you coordinating with refugees, what are you doing with humanitarian aid even a simple thing.

This weekend, the American acting ambassador flees the country. The British ambassador is still there helping to try to get the Brits out. How could we not be coordinating the simple thing with our allies on the ground? We are the superpower here.

So that's a big mistake. Then you've got the planning failure, which is even if the intelligence is wrong. You know, you plan for bad scenarios. What if things don't go the way you hope they're going to? And especially because this has been done on our timeline.

And-- and we clearly did not have the plans in place for the evacuation. We did not have the plans in place for what about not just our citizens. But all of the people that have been supporting the US government on the ground in Afghanistan many of which are now at risk and will die. They'll be killed by the Taliban.

And we've got to suddenly scramble to-- to send 6,000 troops in from the United States to defend the airport. I mean, again an enormous failure on the ground. Then finally, and I mean, this isn't the most important. But it does matter the communications failure.

The fact that President Biden when came out weeks ago and actually said that it was highly unlikely for the Taliban to be overrunning everything and owning the whole country. He insisted and I quote here that there is going to be no circumstance, where you see people being lifted off the roof of the US embassy.

These predictions literally unraveled in real time. And the Biden Administration had nothing to say. And so again, as someone who cares deeply about my country sees myself as patriotic.

It is this is one of the most painful things I've ever witnessed. And I think the implications are very significant serious and lasting.