It was a very good week for Joe Biden. On the other hand, it was a very bad week for the United States in regards to Afghanistan. We witnessed two historic events that could shape our future in ways we can’t yet comprehend, and both are worth examining.
First, Joe Biden—whose campaign seemed all but over a few weeks ago when he scurried out of New Hampshire before the results were in—staged a sudden and overwhelming comeback that flipped the Democratic primary on its head. After he won South Carolina, his main “moderate” opponents dropped out and endorsed him in quick succession, setting the stage for him to win 10 contests on Super Tuesday. Is Biden the man Democrats want to face Donald Trump? Did we just avoid the prospect of a race between two candidates (Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump) whose bases of support foretell an angry and even-more-polarizing general election? We’ll find out soon enough.
The other historic event is nothing if not ignominious. Last Saturday—the same day that Biden won South Carolina—Mike Pompeo went to Doha, Qatar, for the signing of a deal with the Taliban to bring American troops home from Afghanistan. It’s inaccurate to call it a “peace” deal, and is better described as an exit deal. Why? The U.S. will bring home all its remaining troops despite the fact the Taliban concedes almost nothing and the document includes nothing that guarantees a much-ballyhooed actual break between the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Are we leaving Afghanistan more vulnerable to a complete takeover by the Taliban? Are we inviting an attack by al-Qaeda? Again, there is no way of knowing, but if history is our guide then the consequences of this flawed deal will be unwelcome.
Here is a roundup of our best work from the last week.