After the fierce years of Donald Trump, European allies had hoped that Joe Biden’s election as US president would strengthen NATO’s relevance. Washington’s withdrawal from the chaos in Afghanistan is prompting people to rethink.
After the fall of Kabul, EU defense and security officials U.S. decision Sending troops back to China believes that this weakens NATO and raises questions about Europe’s dependence on Washington for security. Their response marked the painful end of the alliance’s longest-lasting mission, which at the end changed from combat to a training program involving 10,000 personnel from 36 countries.
“This withdrawal creates chaos. The chaos will cause more suffering,” Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks told local radio on Tuesday. He added that such long-term tasks are unlikely to be carried out in the future: “This era is over. Unfortunately, the West, especially Europe, has shown that they are weaker on a global scale.”
He responded to the views of British Defense Minister Ben Wallace, who burst into tears on Monday because he believed that “some people will not return from this war-torn country.” “It’s sad. Twenty years of sacrifice is like this,” he said.
German conservative candidate Armin Laschet called the withdrawal of the Allied forces “the biggest disaster since NATO was founded.”
“It looks like NATO has been completely replaced by a unilateral decision by the United States,” said Lord Peter Ricketts, a former British national security adviser. “First, Trump decided to start discussing departure with the Taliban, and then Biden decided to set a timetable. The Afghanistan operation will always end for a while, and it will never last forever, but the way it is done has been humiliating and Harm NATO.”
The 9/11 attacks led by Al Qaeda and the United States triggered NATO intervention in Afghanistan. This is the first and only time the alliance has invoked its fifth principle of collective defense, in which an attack on one ally is regarded as an attack on all its allies.
Nearly 20 years have passed, and there has been a crack in the unity of the best way to end the “longest American war.” When the Taliban surrounded Kabul on Friday, Wallace revealed that he had tried to form an alliance of “like-minded” NATO nations this year to keep some troops in Afghanistan independent of the United States.
Lord George Robertson served as the Secretary-General of NATO on the day of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York and triggered this article a few hours later. He stated that even if other allies raised objections, the US decision to withdraw troops would be harmful. “This weakens NATO’s power, because both Donald Trump and Joe Biden seem to abandon the principle of’together in and out’,” he told the Financial Times.
Biden administration officials have already consulted with allies when trying to unravel Trump’s isolationist legacy. However, on the issue of Afghanistan, some coalition members complained that Washington had presented them with fait accommodating facts.
A person familiar with the withdrawal plan said: “This has been discussed in detail, the United States has listened to opinions, but Biden has made a political decision.”
Once the decision is formalized, Britain, Turkey, and Italy are all eager to find a way to keep troops in place to help stabilize the country. But without the huge military infrastructure provided by the United States, especially the air support of the Bagram Air Force Base operated by the United States north of Kabul, this is considered impossible.
Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that the downfall of the Afghan government has put Turkey’s plan to continue protecting Kabul International Airport into question.
Merkel said on Monday: “We must realize that in NATO’s Afghanistan mission, it is impossible for Germany or European troops to play an independent role.” “We have always said that we basically depend on the decision of the US government.”
A former military commander who served in Afghanistan said that his perception of NATO’s deterrence capabilities had a “significant impact”.
“NATO talks about its ability to fight Russia very well, but it can’t even find 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers to ensure that Afghanistan is stable enough to force a deadlock and eventually ceasefire on the Taliban without U.S. support,” he said.
In its 2030 strategy, NATO outlines its commitment to deepen political coordination and reaffirms its members’ commitment to a 2% defense expenditure target. But the Afghan crisis has highlighted the uneasy lack of strategic focus.
Podemos leader and Spanish Minister of Social Policy Ione Belarra wrote on Twitter: “Afghanistan today is a countless expression of NATO’s failed supine policy.”
Lilith Verstrynge, another key official of Podemos, believes that NATO’s failure provides more reasons for Europe to move towards its own more independent position, which is the position promoted by French President Emmanuel Macron. “It’s time to turn to greater sovereignty and defend our own interests,” she said.
When asked on Monday whether NATO should abandon “nation building”, Merkel agreed: “Goal [of such deployments] It should be reduced a lot. “
Lord Mark Seidwell, who served as the former ambassador to Afghanistan and NATO’s senior representative, suggested this week that the alliance should focus on rCultivate practical ability Intervene when necessary to “avoid overextension and impatience that had a fatal impact on the campaign in Afghanistan.”
Robertson said that the downsizing of Afghanistan may become a warning story for NATO countries that fail to realize that the United States’ security guarantees are time-limited. “If this is a wake-up call for Europeans-in the future they will have to protect their own safety more than before, because… the US global police will not necessarily be around all the time-that will achieve the goal.”
Additional reporting by Daniel Dombey in Madrid, Victor Mallet in Paris and Katrina Manson in Washington