With Afghanistan, Biden Presents His Own Rendition of America First!
Biden like Trump, shares some of the concerns about Beijing, a position held across the aisle with Beijing’s belligerence. However, the belief was that Biden unlike Trump would adopt a “small yard, high-fence approach” meaning that it wouldn’t have the open bellicosity of vitriol against the communist party leadership or trade wars, but there would be a cautious approach, especially on dealing with technology.
Given the emphasis on the Indo-Pacific and Quad to contain China, it remains to be seen if the Biden administration has missed the forest for the trees in leaving a vacuum in Afghanistan that China, Russia, Iran, and Pakistan will all try to exploit, each one with their own Rashomon style version of narration of priorities.
Biden will continue to engage on climate change, COVID-19 issues, however, the “America First” model was witnessed even when India’s request for unused AstraZeneca vaccines was initially rebuked. Biden’s agenda very much includes domestic priorities in injecting both vaccines and capital for the sake of health and economy, a massive infrastructure bill, and Climate Action priorities.
Afghanistan is often called the graveyard of empires, as the British, Russian, and American conquests have seen fickle and fail. It remains to be seen if Afghanistan can be the coup de grace of an administration. After all, successful Presidencies are a result of several policies, but failure can be as a result to tackle just one main issue (as evinced with Trump on COVID and Carter on Iran).
As said earlier this week, Biden may be done with Afghanistan, but Afghanistan may not be done with Biden.
Originally published at https://www.thequint.com on August 23, 2021.