In a previous blog post, I described the potential loss of credibility in the US because of the untimely and botched withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Once again, the US disappointed the global community of nations, but that does not mean nations around the world will not work and consult with the US to intervene in future diplomatic, political and financial crises.
An op-ed piece in the New York Times by Dennis Ross claims that the nation’s history since the 70s is proof that, in spite of several disagreements and embarrassments, other nations, the UN and NATO still solicit the help of the US on a regular basis.
Mr. Ross looks back on the “ignominious” 1975 evacuation of the last Americans in Vietnam. At first, credibility was in question “but it did not spell the end of American leadership on the world stage nor did it leave others to believe that they could not depend on the United States.”
In 1979, Jimmy Carter had to deal with a hostage crisis in which Americans were detained for 444 days. It was marked by a failed rescue attempt, while the rest of the world witnessed American impotence.
Ronald Reagan, after losing 241 Americans in the 1983 Beirut Barracks bombing, promised to avenge the death of American soldiers, but instead, withdrew our troops from Lebanon. No lasting harm was done to American credibility.
George W. Bush invaded Iraq, justified by the false belief that Saddam Hussein held weapons of mass destruction. The US effectively destroyed the country and unseeded Saddam. This action contributed to sectarian conflict and the evolution of ISIS. The fallout from these decisions did not relegate the US to a lesser role in global events.
Obama drew a red line on the use of chemical weapons by Syria. The president failed to react when such weapons were used on Syrian civilians. There was no great response to Obama’s hesitancy to react militarily.
Trump made several decisions including a threat to pull out of NATO and to invade Syria, which rolled off the backs of global leaders.
Recent Biden decisions to remove troops have Americans in an uproar along with the rest of the world. Internationally, the response will have a far less impactful than from domestic critics. Ironically, most Americans wanted the US to bring our troops home, but the tactics employed were ineffective and naïve. The blunders in Afghanistan may be a death toll for the Biden administration in the upcoming elections.