Joe Biden crisis: how the US president will be haunted by Afghanistan | World | New
The fall of Saigon in 1975 saw the capital of South Vietnam captured by the Vietnam People’s Army. After nearly two decades of fighting, the United States was forced to evacuate, with famous images showing crowds of people desperately boarding U.S. military planes to flee. After the recent fall of Kabul to the Taliban and the ongoing evacuations of the United States and allies, comparisons have been drawn between the American defeats in the two conflicts.
Former President Donald Trump signed a deal with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020.
The agreement pledged to withdraw U.S. and Allied troops, including British forces, from Afghanistan by May 2021.
The Taliban have agreed to take action to prevent terrorist groups like Al Qaeda from threatening the security of the United States and its allies.
President Joe Biden backed the deal when he took office, announcing earlier this year that all US troops would be out of Afghanistan by September.
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But Mr Biden has faced significant criticism for his decision, with many saying the Afghan people have been abandoned as the Taliban reconsolidate their power in the region.
The Taliban claimed Kabul on Sunday, and now Afghans live in fear for their lives as another period of strict Taliban rule looms.
Some have argued that the United States’ decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, as well as the country’s hasty and chaotic exit in recent days, can be seen as Mr Biden’s “Saigon moment”.
The United States’ exit from Afghanistan could be a defining legacy of the Biden administration, according to a history expert.
Dr Donna Jackson, senior lecturer and specialist in American history and politics at the University of Chester, said: âIt took many years for the United States to recover from the shame of the fall of Saigon and the scenes evacuations that have been seen around the world.
Perhaps even more gruesome and unforgettable are the images of Afghans hanging from planes as they take off and then falling to death.
âBiden admitted at his press conference that he was surprised at how quickly the Taliban took control and that this intelligence failure is something hard to ignore and something that certainly has contributed to the chaotic scenes we have witnessed in recent days. .
“It’s a legacy that could haunt the Biden administration in the same way the fall of Saigon haunted the United States in the 1970s.”
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While many have criticized Mr. Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, there is also the argument that Mr. Biden inherited the deal to end the war America was involved in. for two decades.
President Richard Nixon did not end the American engagement in Vietnam, his successor Gerard Ford making the decision to withdraw from Vietnam.
Dr Jackson added: “When Richard Nixon took office in 1969, he had a choice.
“He could have ordered the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam in the same way Biden ordered the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
âIf he had, it is very likely that South Vietnam would have collapsed and that it would have been seen as a major failure of US foreign policy.
âIt certainly wouldn’t have been the ‘peace in honor’ that Nixon was looking for.
“But by insisting on ‘peace in honor’ and trying to avoid the collapse that of course happened in 1975, more than 27,000 more American servicemen and women have died, and thousands more. Vietnamese were killed or left homeless.
“When something is never going to end well, maybe this is the lesson of history that Joe Biden referred to in his press conference when explaining his take down order.”
Referring to claims that the current crisis is Mr Biden’s ‘Saigon moment’, Dr Aurelie Basha, professor of American history at the University of Kent, said: “I guess they imply that this is a humiliating foreign policy moment for Biden, which he is or should be.
âThere is no doubt that this is a humiliating time for the United States and indeed ‘the West’.
âBut Gerald Ford was president when Saigon fell and I don’t think historians blame him for it.
“I think historians will see this as a cumulative series of mistakes with Biden’s decision to step down so quickly as the last big mistake … although who knows, more may follow.”