With Afghanistan, Biden tries to restore ideal of American — not partisan — global deals
By Chuck Todd
The headline from President Biden’s remarks on Wednesday was clear: After 20 years of war, the United States is finally — and fully — withdrawing from Afghanistan.
But the president said something else that grabbed our attention: He’s sticking to the deal that his predecessor, Donald Trump, cut with the Taliban.
“When I came to office, I inherited a diplomatic agreement, duly negotiated between the government of the United States and the Taliban, that all U.S. forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, just three months after my inauguration,” Biden said.
“It is perhaps not what I would have negotiated myself, but it was an agreement made by the United States government, and that means something. So, in keeping with that agreement and with our national interests, the United States will begin our final withdrawal — begin it on May 1 of this year.”
Prior to 2017, what Biden said would have been uncontroversial. Foreign policy agreements cut by previous administrations get respected by the next administration.
You’re not negotiating with a Democratic or Republican president; you’re negotiating with an American president.
But then came Trump, who tore up Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal and pulled out of the Paris climate agreement — all raising the question whether foreign governments and entities should even negotiate with the United States if the next president can scuttle the deal.
With his comments yesterday, Biden tried to turn Trump into a historical outlier and send a message to China, Russia and Iran that you can’t play one party’s president against the other party.
Or can you?
We won’t know if Trump is the outlier until the next Republican president. Will our country have partisan foreign-policy deals that can be undone by a successor of the other party? Or American deals that endure?
Blinken makes surprise visit to Afghanistan
Speaking of Afghanistan, “Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Afghanistan on Thursday for a surprise visit less than 24 hours after President Joe Biden announced the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country by Sept. 11 of this year,” per NBC News.
“While in Kabul, Blinken met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the country’s High Council for National Reconciliation.”