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Biden has big ambitions in foreign policy. Can they survive Kabul?

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31.08.2021
By Doyle McManus

When President Joe Biden arrived in the White House, he proclaimed grand ambitions for U.S. foreign policy.

"America is back," he declared, promising to restore U.S. leadership of what he called (in a term borrowed from the 20th century) "the free world."

He said he would restore alliances his predecessor had scorned, rally democracies to contain autocracies like China and Russia, and put human rights at the center of the U.S. agenda ― all while building a foreign policy that served the middle class.

Plus one more goal, almost an afterthought: He'd disentangle the United States from Afghanistan, a war he considered a waste of resources and a distraction.

But the withdrawal from Kabul turned into a nightmare, which has raised doubts about the coherence of Biden's policy.

The president committed a basic political error: He promised too much and delivered too little. He said America was back; but in Kabul, America was abruptly getting out. He said he cherished traditional alliances, but he barely consulted with allies.

He declared himself a champion of human rights; tell that to Afghanistan's terrified women. The........

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