Poor Biden — blamed for an agreementTuesday, August 24, 2021
BY FAROUK MARTINS ARESA
President Joe Biden must accept responsibility for the mess he inherited as Americans quiver looking at the process in action. While it is true that Americans have had enough of wars and want their troops home, they do not like the way the withdrawal is being implemented in Afghanistan under Biden.
The end of wars have never been pretty. Even the separation and reunification of Germany before and after the world wars were not implemented without the loss of lives on all sides.
It was not Biden who surrendered to the Taliban and labelled it a “peace” deal — like the ongoing one with Kim Jong-un of North Korea without the South Korean president.
How soon we forget that it was former British Prime Minister Tony Blair that rightly helped invade Afghanistan but then invaded Iraq under false pretence. Yet he is now calling Biden's implementation of his predecessor's peace deal with the Taliban, already set in motion, “imbecilic”.
No steps were taken by the Americans to execute this peace agreement under the Donald Trump Administration, other than smiles and pictures with the Taliban terrorist leader himself.
This idea that you can negotiate peace by photo opportunities with North Korea without South Korea, or the Taliban without the sitting Afghan president is absurd on its face. But then diplomats always seek to explore new ways to secure peace. President Richard Nixon visited and made deals with the communists he criticised vehemently — a complete about-face.
Where was Tony Blair when Trump entered negotiations with the Taliban without getting Americans and their Afghan aids out of the country? The Joe Biden Administration cannot be blamed for the mess created by Trump and his team.
Most Americans are not surprised, because politics and elections are no longer based on facts. It is who can outdo the other and call white black in broad daylight.
The Yoruba say you cannot shave a man's head in his absence. Again, how do you renegotiate with the Taliban without the Afghan president, his army, or representatives? President Biden was somehow supposed to reverse a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan — a deal that had rendered its sitting president persona non grata — a deal based on giving American soldiers free passage but silent on the treatment of the Afghans aiding them?
President Biden did not help by publicly expressing his frustration that the president of Afghanistan had fled and his army had surrendered. He should have understood that they were negotiated out of power.
What is surprising is that the president and his army did not resign after the deal between the Americans and the Taliban was signed but waited, desperately hoping that a new American Administration would save them by sending more American soldiers to be added to the 2,500 already on the ground — a number which would soon be reduced to zero.
Even more amazing is that the same Monday morning quarterbacks are blaming President Biden for the agreement they made with the Taliban.
America has become so divided on emotional issues it is difficult to know the difference between liberal and conservative ideologies. You cannot castrate a sitting president in Afghanistan, hand power to, and back his opponents, then blame poor incoming President Biden for the mess you have created.
Biden, throughout his career in politics, has never been an extremist. If anything he was more of a conservative Democrat. Those old enough may remember that any Tom, Dick, and Harry could get elected in America by shouting their opposition to bussing during the civil rights era.
It is worse right now. You can get elected, at least during the primaries, by declaring that you are against COVID-19 vaccines and masks. Even when you know very well that the disease is deadly and can kill, you still take your chances in politics. Hypocrisy has always been part of politics in any country, but there are honest and dignified men and women willing to lose their political careers, as some conservatives did, than dance naked in the marketplace.
It is too early to count President Biden out. He can still get away with what President Barack Obama could not because of the colour of his skin. It may be sad to say but, folks, that is reality in America. They can't scare most Americans with Biden as they did with Obama.
Ask most people in the world who they would rather trust as a superpower and the answer would be the USA. Mind you, not because it is the best country to live in, but because it can be challenged within by people of goodwill who are willing to lose their lives to transform America. But those hiding under the banner of conservatism will always fight back. Voting rights and freedom are not permanent.
The problem that President Biden is faced with is the number of American troops needed on the ground to boost the morale of Afghan soldiers to keep them from deserting so that they can negotiate the peaceful evacuation of Americans and Afghans who want to leave. This would require between 2,500 and 4,500 Americans soldiers; however, the previous Administration had agreed to a total pull-out. How do you renegotiate that?
Some Americans think the president can dictate or renegotiate the terms of the agreement with the Taliban, or use the same force which has not worked for 20 years. Even if more force can be used, it would be at the risk of more collateral damage to the same people they are trying to save – Americans, Afghans employed by Americans, and women.
It boils down to the fact that Americans should have stayed longer to achieve “peace with honour” as promised in Vietnam.
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