After Afghanistan

January 14, 2022 • Volume 32, Issue 1
Can the U.S. restore its global credibility?
By Jonathan Broder


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. Others defend America's decision to end the war and say the debacle will be only a temporary blemish on U.S. prestige. However, many allies, as well as adversaries, say their faith in U.S. stability and reliability has also been eroded by the turbulent Trump administration and deepening domestic political divisions. Such doubts have spurred the 27 members of the European Union to consider once again creating a separate military force that would exist along with the U.S.-led NATO alliance created in 1949. The doubts have also raised concerns among some over whether the United States will stick to its pledges to condemn human rights violations by Saudi Arabia, help Taiwan resist Chinese pressure or aid Ukraine in a showdown with Russia, among other things.

Photo of evacuees fleeing Afghanistan on a U.S. Air Force craft on August 21, 2021. (Getty Images/U.S. Air Force/Taylor Crul)
Evacuees fleeing Afghanistan as its government falls to the Taliban crowd onto a U.S. C-17 military aircraft on Aug. 21. The chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years has foreign allies and adversaries alike questioning American stability and reliability. (Getty Images/U.S. Air Force/Taylor Crul)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jan. 14, 2022  After Afghanistan
Aug. 07, 2009  Afghanistan Dilemma Updated
Jun. 2007  Afghanistan on the Brink
Dec. 21, 2001  Rebuilding Afghanistan
Alliances and Security Agreements
Civil Wars
Defense Technology and Force Planning
Diplomacy and Diplomats
Elementary and Secondary Education
Emergency Preparedness
General Defense and National Security
General International Relations
Global Issues
International Law and Agreements
Iraq War
Middle East Conflicts
Military Bases
Military Intelligence
Party Politics
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Regional Political Affairs: Middle East and South Asia
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
U.S. at War: Afghanistan
U.S. at War: Iraq
War and Conflict