Stop the Doomsaying on Afghanistan

Stop the Doomsaying, U.S. Credibility Will Weather Afghanistan

Regional mistakes and setbacks stretching back to the Carter administration did not stop countries from relying on Washington, and the Kabul crisis will be no different in the end.

The cascade of crises in Afghanistan has left many Americans wondering if our credibility on the world stage has suffered a mortal blow. Not since the fall of Saigon and the ignominious evacuation of the last Americans in 1975 has the United States been so vulnerable to fundamental questions about America’s reliability, about whether friends and allies will ever again be able to count on U.S. commitments. Before we draw definitive conclusions, however, a little perspective is in order.

Vietnam, cited so often in recent days, was undoubtedly a debacle. But it did not spell the end of American leadership on the world stage, nor did it lead others to believe they could not depend on the United States. And since then, there have been many other geopolitical challenges and top-level decisions (or lack thereof) that have cast doubt on American credibility. They did not, however, lead to a waning of American influence.

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