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Calamitous withdrawal from Afghanistan was a crisis of Biden’s own making

Joe Biden has been looking for a way out of Afghanistan for decades, and regardless of how ugly things get, he's not turning back. After Trump reached a deal with the Taliban in 2020 to end the war, Biden decided to stick with the arrangement, overruling his own generals. Ian Bremmer explains that while he agrees with Biden's decision to get out, he did not foresee the incompetence of the execution. In that sense, the last few weeks have constituted the greatest foreign policy crisis for President Biden to date, and one that was largely self-imposed. Ian looks at four key failures led to this disaster on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Afghanistan, 2021: Afghan & US military perspectives as the last soldier leaves

Biden's mistakes in Afghanistan were not "dereliction of duty"

In his latest Washington Post op-ed, Marc Thiessen makes strong statements about how and why the Taliban came to take control of Kabul. There have been big mistakes in executing this exit. But "dereliction of duty?" Not in our view. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst explain why in this edition of The Red Pen.

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Europe matches US travel restrictions; Ukrainian president asks for US support

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

With the EU having achieved 70% vaccination of the adult population, why are new travel restrictions being proposed?

Well, it's with the US, because the US has restrictions against Europeans. And with the EU now having more vaccinations than the United States has, this is sort of a signal to the US that perhaps we should look at this again.

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US-EU tensions aren't just a Trump problem

"Many European diplomats are already infatuated with Biden," a US-based analyst wrote in May about the so-called revival of the transatlantic relationship. Well, that assessment seems to have aged as well as an overripe banana.

This week, the EU advised member states to restrict travel from the US because of America's rising COVID infection rate. While that may be true, it could also be, at least in part, a retaliatory move: Brussels is furious that the Biden administration has refused to allow most Europeans to enter the country for 18 months, despite the bloc now having vaccinated more adults than the US.

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The US no longer wants to be the world's policeman

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Now that the war in Afghanistan is just about concluded, less than 24 hours before all of the remaining American troops wrap up their mission in Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, after over 100,000, mostly Afghan civilians, as well as American and coalition partners evacuated from the country. One thing to point to is just how much the United States and the American people have changed in interests, in what presence, what the role, what the mission of the United States globally is and should be.

As everyone now is very keenly aware, this war became very, very unpopular among Democrats, among Republicans. If there was anything you could find people agreeing on in foreign policy, it's, "We're angry at China, we want to end the wars. The war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, why are we doing all this stuff?" In other words, the idea that the United States is the global policeman. A role that the Americans had accepted to a great degree during the cold war, accepted to a significant degree after 9/11, really doesn't accept any more. And so, I think one of the reasons why people give such a hard time to this America is back idea of Joe Biden is that, there are many things about America's history that a lot of Americans increasingly aren't up for. The idea of being the global policeman. The idea of being the architect of global trade. The idea of being the promoter of common values, of an open society and rule of law and human rights.

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Kabul attack poses political risks for Biden

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

How will the Kabul airport attack influence the US evacuations?

Well, so far it looks like President Biden is on track to keep the August 31st deadline for evacuating, for finishing evacuations and leaving Afghanistan fully. However, there's still somewhere in the range of about a thousand American citizens, plus potentially tens of thousands of special immigrant visa holders who are Afghani citizens that helped the United States, that could potentially be left behind because of this expedited withdrawal schedule. This is a real risk for Biden.

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Hasty US pullout led to Afghan government collapse, says exiled official

As the August 31 deadline approaches for the US to get out of Taliban-held Afghanistan, one Afghan official in exile says the pullout could have been "better managed and thought through." For Ajmal Ahmady, the former central bank chief who went viral for his Twitter thread about the country's finances, the withdrawal may have been a strategic choice for America — but the hasty way it was implemented teed up the collapse of the government he was once a part of. Watch Ahmady's interview on an upcoming special episode of GZERO World.

What to expect at the Biden-Bennett meeting at the White House

For the first time since assuming their posts, Israel's right-wing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and US President Joe Biden will meet Friday for a face-to-face meeting at the White House. (Fun fact: Joe Biden was elected to the US Senate in 1972, the year Naftali Bennett was born.)

What's on the agenda — what likely isn't — and why does this meeting matter now?

Iran, obviously. Bennett may embrace a more conciliatory tone than his predecessor Bibi Netanyahu, but when it comes to Iran policy, he too thinks that a return to the nuclear deal would be catastrophic for Israel. For the Israelis, delivering that message feels all the more pressing given that their security establishment now warns that Tehran is only two months away from being able to produce a nuclear weapon.

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