Afghanistan’s chaotic withdrawal has left a transatlantic relationship in tatters that had not yet been fully restored with the arrival of Joe Biden in the White House. The absence of consultation and coordination between the United States and its European allies has been very evident. Biden has considered it a success to be able to leave the country anyway and end a twenty-year war. The Biden Doctrine is an extreme continuation of Barack Obama’s realism, which led him to “lead from behind” in many crises, to put all the attention on the rise of China. It is not clear whether the saving of resources by the United States outweighs the greater influence of the US regime.
Beijing in Kabul.
On the European side, Carl Bildt lucidly explained how the financial and operational burden of setting up a viable and corruption-free Afghan state had fallen on Europeans, while the United States, under different presidents, guaranteed military occupation. Josep Borrell, for his part, has put his finger on the wound by calling for the creation of a European army. The lack of security and defense capabilities in our continent is due to a widespread pacifist mentality, which does not recognize the threats to our interests and values and does not want to equip itself with the essential means to protect them.
Afghanistan must put European defense and its global projection back at the top of the agenda. But close transatlantic cooperation will remain absolutely essential. We Europeans are America’s indispensable allies, although not the only ones. Without the active collaboration of Washington, the international deployment of European forces is much more costly and their effectiveness more limited. The two shores of the Atlantic share the same conception about the dignity of the person and their freedoms. We also face an identical populist internal threat and the external challenge of China’s global expansion. Despite recent mistrust, exacerbated by the Afghanistan crisis, the best path is to rebuild bridges across the Atlantic.