After Afghanistan

- January 14, 2022
Can the U.S. restore its global credibility?
Photo of evacuees fleeing Afghanistan on a U.S. Air Force craft on August 21, 2021. (Getty Images/U.S. Air Force/Taylor Crul)
In August, after 20 years of war, it took just two weeks for Afghanistan to fall to the Taliban. The U.S. military's chaotic evacuation from Kabul left many wondering what this meant for America's international reputation. Some say the shockingly quick collapse of the U.S.-backed Afghan government and the messy pullout permanently damaged American credibility.

Why do some foreign allies question U.S. credibility after the exit from Afghanistan? Are these concerns valid?

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2001–2007Deadly Sept. 11 attacks unleash U.S. global war on terrorism.
2008–2011Obama winds down the Iraq War, but bolsters Afghanistan presence.
2012–2013Obama ends Afghan combat operations and begins withdrawal.
2017-2019Trump institutes “America First” foreign policy, alienating allies and damaging U.S. credibility.
2020-PresentU.S. democracy questioned; Afghanistan War ends.

Has the withdrawal from Afghanistan shredded U.S. credibility as a dependable ally?


Andrew Bacevich
President of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.


Charles A. Kupchan
Professor of International Affairs at Georgetown University, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Isolationism: A History of America's Efforts to Shield Itself from the World..


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