The US president Joe Biden made a bold statement in relation to ending all Americans’ efforts in nation-building. According to the American leader, the US played its part in nation-building and that era is over. Normally, the US has never been the one to shy away from getting involved in other countries’ business and has been blamed for meddling in various states where it was not even needed. When it comes to abuse of human rights and bad governance, the American government claims to stand for people in oppressive nations, but Biden seems to state that country is moving away from such a stance.
President Biden highlighted how military deployments would no longer be channeled in rebuilding other nations. On the earth’s interface, everyone can spot American military personnel stationed in foreign countries fighting to liberate those foreign nationals from the clutches of a bad government. With the vast resources at its disposal, the US can extend its hand to help other nations and incur expenses. But due to its determination to continue helping other people, the country has been sending its citizens all over the planet to serve. Depending on one’s viewpoint, such actions have either been criticized or applauded by those involved, but a universal view aired out by most leaders was centered on how Americans focus too much on other people’s business for selfish gains.
In an address to the nation on 31 August 2021, Biden explained his country’s actions in relation to the situation in Afghanistan. For the past months, the American government removed soldiers from Afghanistan after serving for about 20 years in the territory. Many resources were poured into withdrawing soldiers, and the goal was completed, which then promoted Biden to address the nation. Reports indicate that the last C-17 military cargo plane took off from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul this week, ferrying the last group of Americans to be lifted from Afghanistan [Source]. Taliban forces gained ground as the foreign soldiers were leaving and took over the country. And since then, Afghan people are witnessing intense violence because the Taliban is in pursuit of establishing its rule and authority.
And Biden commented on the issue and cleared the air in relation to how the US plans on reacting given the Taliban’s actions in Afghanistan. During the address, Biden cited that the war in Afghanistan had officially ended. He was the fourth leader to delve into the dilemma of whether to end the war or implement other strategies. He said, “When I was running for president, I made a commitment that I would end this war, and today I have honored that commitment. It was time, to be honest with the American people; we no longer had a clear purpose in an open-ended mission in Afghanistan” [Source]. The president applauded all those who served in the military and sacrificed their lives and uttered that “We owe them and their families a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid, but we should never ever forget.”
He further explained that “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan, it’s about ending an era of major military operations to make other countries,” and outlined how the Afghanistan government failed to suppress the Taliban forces. The US achieved its goals of forcing militant groups such as Al Qaeda and Isis into hibernation and killing the leader Osama bin Laden which means the mission was a success. Future plans included defending the country against terrorists and dealing with terrorism head-on without engaging in other ground wars. Biden noted, “First, we must set missions with clear, achievable goals, not one we’ll never reach. And second, we must stay focused on the fundamental national security interests of America.”
In declaring a new leaf, the president posited, “As we turn the page on the foreign policy that has guided our nation over the last two decades, we’ve got to learn from our mistakes.”
Financial figures presented by a report from the Defense Department notes how wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria have swallowed about $1,57 trillion from US taxpayers since 11 September 2001 [Source]; this puts pressure on the country’s coffers to keep on funding missions that are not necessary anymore. In the recorded address, Biden said, “It was time to end this war. I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit.”
“Let me be clear, leaving on August 31 is not due to an arbitrary deadline. It was designed to save American lives,” said Biden. Americans who live in Afghanistan were exposed to danger. Hence the government sought to shift them. He explained that “We were ready when the people of Afghanistan watched their government collapse and the president flee amid corruption and malfeasance, handling over the country to their enemy, the Taliban, and significantly increasing the risk to US personnel and our allies.”
A statement from the White House boasted on how many Americans were airlifted to safety, and it stated, “We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with more than 120 000 people evacuated to safety. That number is more than double what most experts thought was possible. No nation – no nation has ever done anything like it in all of history. Only the United States had the capacity and the will and the ability to do it, and we did it today” [Source]. The withdrawal of Americans was a necessary move in ending the war and a sign of freeing themselves from the duty of rebuilding other nations [Source].
Thus, Biden showed pure determination in highlighting that the US is now hands off from military inversion without a clear mission and will pour resources in issues that matter to Americans. But only time will tell if the US is ready to step away from inviting itself to other countries’ rebuilding processes.