There's a big fallacy behind the criticism of Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan--which is that the alternative to withdrawal was the status quo (as McConnell and other critics maintain). That's simply wrong. 1/x Image
The situation McConnell describes, of a stable Afghanistan maintained by 2,500 troops and no US casualties in a year, was about to change as a result of the February 2020 agreement between Trump and the Taliban. 2/x
Under that agreement, the Taliban agreed not to attack US forces so long as those troops (and all civilian contractors) left by May 1. In the intervening months, the Taliban had strengthened its position (in part because Trump had forced the Afghans to release 5,000 Taliban. 3/x
So when Biden came to office, the Taliban was at its strongest since its defeat in 2001 and US and NATO forces were slated to leave Afghanistan in 3 months. The Taliban had been degrading Afghan forces and preparing a major offensive after foreign troops had been withdrawn. 4/x
If Biden had reneged on the Trump deal, the Taliban would've resumed attacking US forces from a position of strength. To continue to support the Afghan government and security forces, the US would therefore have had to increase its military presence significantly. 5/x
So the choice facing Biden wasn't between withdrawal or an ideal status quo of keeping a few thousand troops who had suffered no casualties, as the critics maintain. It was between withdrawal or a major surge of troops to fight a strengthened Taliban. 6/x
Given that Biden had opposed the Obama surge in 2009 because he didn't think sending more troops would bring stability, let alone transform Afghanistan into a viable democracies, no one should have been surprised that he opted for withdrawal. 7/x
While Biden owns the consequence of his decision, which are now playing out, his critics should own up to the fact that the real alternative would have been a major escalation of a war that most Americans had long come to oppose. 8/x
To govern is to choose, as they say. Let's not pretend that the choice Biden and the government faced in Afghanistan was an easy one.

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More from @IvoHDaalder

14 Jun 19
In his latest column, @nytdavidbrooks writes that we’ve entered a “dark spiral” of Americans supporting a US withdrawal from the world. Nothing could be further from the truth, as @ChicagoCouncil polling data shows. 1/8
70 percent of Americans now favor the United States taking an active part in world affairs. Since @ChicagoCouncil polling on that question began in 1974, the only time that number has been higher was in 2002, just after 9/11. 2/8
Large majorities of Americans also now say that international trade is good for consumers like them (85%), good for the US economy (82%), and good for creating jobs in the United States (67%)--the highest level of support in 15 years. 3/8
Read 8 tweets
8 Mar 19
THREAD: The idea that US Allies should pay the full cost of hosting US troops on their soil, plus 50%, as reported by @Bloomberg, represents a fundamental affront to the very idea of why we have allies and alliances.…
Insisting that US allies pay 150% of the cost of deploying US troops on their territory is preposterous. It would turn the relationship between the US and these allies from an alliance of mutual interest into the US becoming a military for hire—a pay-to-play military.
US troops aren’t for sale. They serve American national security wherever they are deployed—including when based abroad.
Read 9 tweets

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