Today, the world continues to absorb the stunning scenes in Kabul after the U.S. military pullout in Afghanistan. After days of radio silence, President Biden spoke to the nation Monday. In a presidential speech characterized mainly by its defiant tone, Biden said that 20 years was long enough. Although he conceded in passing that the speed of the Taliban takeover took him and his administration by surprise, the only finger-pointing Biden did was aimed at the Afghan military, which collapsed without U.S. air support.
Even before taking office in January, Joe Biden had laid the groundwork to undermine or reverse a host of Donald Trump's policies. They ranged from Iran, the World Health Organization, the U.S.-Mexico border, climate change, energy use, domestic tax rates, critical race theory, and mask-wearing. When it came to Afghanistan, however, Biden changed nothing. The Trump administration had negotiated a U.S. troop withdrawal directly with the Taliban -- tacit acknowledgement of the militants' power -- and that became Biden administration policy as well.
Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.