It’s a common mistake for leaders of nations to suppose that their one-time international rivals are, at heart, reasonable people with whom they can do business.
This was the mistake Chamberlain made in this assessment of Hitler. It’s the same mistake FDR made in dealing with Stalin. It was the mistake Obama made in trusting Iran to behave itself in return for cash and concessions. And now it’s the mistake Biden is making in dealing with the Taliban. For him to assume that these bloody cutthroats are rational and reasonable men is insane.
He assumed that this band of fanatics was hungry for international recognition and to acquire the accoutrements of nationhood. This assumption led to a massive miscalculation: that the Taliban could be trusted to oversee the withdrawal of US troops with dignity and concern for those left behind.
Instead, he should have refused to withdraw until all Americans were out and our Afghan allies protected. His flawed judgment will cost thousands of lives.
The reality is that Biden let his desire for a 9/11 photo op eclipse the commonsense measures he should have taken to assure the safety of his people. He so wanted to be able to say he withdrew on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 that he was blind to all other considerations and, in his blindness, he actually trusted the Taliban to be of assistance.
Biden went so far as to vest Haqqani with overseeing airport security. He trusted the fox to guard the chicken coup.
So, what do we charge Biden with? Gullibility would seem the mildest accusation. Stupidity is closer to the mark. But he is really guilty of the most crass and cynical of political calculations by subordinating US national security to his political goal of pulling out before the twentieth anniversary of 9/11.
The Taliban saw him coming and realized that he was so hot and bothered by his obsession with a pre-911 pullout that he would trade any concession to secure it.
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