America’s future enemies are rubbing their hands with glee after seeing what has happened in Afghanistan. The speed at which the country collapsed, and the ineptitude of President Biden in responding to the taking of Kabul have made America the world’s laughingstock. Our allies are perplexed and hanging their heads in shame, while our enemies realize that the US military is just a shell of its former self.
China has taken advantage of the United States’ ineptitude to rattle sabers regarding Taiwan, holding a series of military drills near the island. Chinese state media has stepped up the pressure on Taiwan too, claiming that the US was set to abandon the island, and that any US troops in Taiwan would be crushed by the Chinese military.
This type of aggression is particularly worrisome, as the US military almost seems to be leaving Afghanistan with its tail between its legs. Neither military nor civilian leaders seem to have been prepared for what happened in Afghanistan, with the ongoing attempts to get American and Western citizens out of the country being almost fruitless now that the Kabul airport is surrounded by the Taliban. And with all the focus now being on Afghanistan, will the military even have the resources to take on China should it attempt to take Taiwan by force?
Even more worrisome is the fact that the US military has been so focused on counterinsurgency operations and nation-building that it lacks the ability to confront an equal military power in conventional combat. Direct combat operations through the use of armor, artillery, and combined arms and maneuver have gone by the wayside as part of the “War on Terror.” As astute observers have pointed out, it could take a generation for the US military to regain its footing as a conventional military power.
If the Chinese do decide to take Taiwan by force, any US response could end up resulting in a rout, especially with the current administration’s apparent nonchalant attitude toward foreign aggression. Don’t expect President Biden to commit to any sort of defense of our allies. It could very well be that the US exit from Afghanistan, like that of the Soviet Union before it, is spelling the end of the American Empire.