After President Biden declared the end of America’s 20-year war, President Obama’s foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes summarized the accomplishments of the War on Terror: “Afghanistan. Iraq. Yemen. Somalia. Libya. Every one of those countries is worse off today in some fashion.”
Many saw our exit from Afghanistan as a bellwether for a larger pivot in U.S. foreign policy. Yet so far that pivot is more about what the U.S. won’t do on the world stage rather than what it will do.
Biden is right to renounce the use of force “to remake other countries,” effectively foreswearing the type of armed counter-insurgency campaigns that have given the once-respected task of nation-building a bad name.