The influence of the United States on what happens in the world continues to be very large, particularly in our region, even as China’s profile and influence grow. That is why whatever our neighbor to the north does or does not do must always be an object of our interest.
Unfortunately, the signals it has been sending the past few years are not very encouraging. The U.S. has shown a tremendous lack of foresight with the appearance of the pandemic. Not only because of the incomprehensible and irresponsible attitudes of many of its leaders in rejecting vaccines, methods of care and recommendations of experts, but also because, when this began, they had neither the elements or the plans to confront the pandemic effectively, even though they had all the necessary information.
Not only were there interventions circulating widely on the internet from Bill Gates regarding existing risks, but also warnings along the same line from their own President George W. Bush.*
We now view with concern the inability of its intelligence, planning and enforcement agencies to anticipate the looming disaster with the withdrawal from Afghanistan. It was indisputable that, after 20 years, the U.S. had to leave, and discussions had been underway for several years. The decision to withdraw was in no way a secret.
The least that would have been expected was the ability that had been demonstrated on other occasions, that American leadership would have thoroughly planned this process from all angles, something which logically assumed good intelligence work to evaluate the ability of the Afghan army that had been trained to contain the Taliban advance. More important is the expectation that they would have remembered the series of military failures the U.S. has experienced since the Korean War and, particularly, the cost to the American people of the humiliating exit from Vietnam.
Well, the evacuation ended in a similar way, with the chaos captured through terrifying images of people trying to hang onto planes as they took off. There was an absence of planning, not only to extract their own people but all those Afghans who believed in them and today are desperately trying to travel to a country that does not know how to deal with that avalanche of people. They have had to request help from presumed “special allies,” such as Colombia, to temporarily receive some of the refugees so that, supposedly, they can eventually be given an orderly entry into the U.S.
At this stage, it is not known how this exodus of Americans, allies and Afghans will end, but what is clear is the need for that country to reflect deeply on what happened and what needs to change. Obviously, this partly reflects underlying issues resulting from a divided society, but there are issues such as intelligence that need to be immediately reexamined.
Although this is the cumulative result of all of the former administrations, Joe Biden, and his efforts to overcome Donald Trump’s dark path, will be the victim.
*Editor’s Note: As early as 2015, Bill Gates warned of a lack of preparedness in the face of likely pandemics. President George W. Bush did the same in 2005.