With Afghan Retreat, Biden Bucks Foreign Policy Elite

NATO allies, who fought alongside the United States in Afghanistan, accompanied him with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Mr Blair, a lead...


NATO allies, who fought alongside the United States in Afghanistan, accompanied him with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Mr Blair, a leader of the Labor Party, supported a Republican President, George W. Bush, in the invasion of Iraq.

Mr. Obama, who once said he was not opposed to all wars, just “stupid wars”, stopped before withdrawing troops from Afghanistan long after concluding that the mission – transforming the country into a stable democracy – was a futile effort. Even President Trump, who made a career out of thumbing his nose at the foreign policy establishment, deferred to his generals when they warned him not to withdraw all U.S. forces.

“You have a president who is prepared to stand up to Washington’s foreign policy establishment in a way that Trump, Obama or George W. Bush was not,” said Vali R. Nasr, a former official. from the Obama administration who teaches at Johns Hopkins University. School of Advanced International Studies. “For me, this requires soul-searching on the part of the foreign policy establishment.”

While Mr. Biden may have stood against the foreign policy elites, his determination to extricate the United States from costly entanglements abroad plays best with average Americans. While the heartbreaking footage of the evacuation damaged his approval rating, polls suggest that many, if not most, share his belief that the country has no compelling reason to stay in Afghanistan.

Mr. Biden is an unlikely insurgent. A longtime senator who chaired the Committee on Foreign Relations, he embraced the post-WWII vision of a globally active United States. He enjoyed his Rolodex of world leaders and enjoyed mingling with elite gatherings, like the Munich Security Conference. He also voted for the war in Iraq.

Yet during his years as vice president, Mr. Biden’s disenchantment with military adventures became one of his core beliefs. In addition to opposing the Afghan push, he resisted NATO intervention in Libya and advised Mr. Obama to suspend the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden (he later changed his story to suggest that he was arguing in private).

“Biden was truly the only dissenting voice on Afghanistan, not only at the table but within the foreign policy establishment, of which he was clearly a member,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, who served as deputy adviser to Mr. Obama’s national security. “He wasn’t just an instinctive progressive.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: With Afghan Retreat, Biden Bucks Foreign Policy Elite
With Afghan Retreat, Biden Bucks Foreign Policy Elite
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