BRUSSELS (AP) — Well before U.S. President Joe Biden took office early this year, the European Union’s foreign policy chief sang his praises and hailed a new era in cooperation. So did almost all of Washington’s Western allies.
The EU’s Josep Borrell was glad to see the end of the Trump era, with its America First, and sometimes America Only policy, enthralled by Biden’s assertion that he would “lead, not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.”
Sunday’s collapse of Kabul, triggered by Biden’s decision to get out of Afghanistan and a U.S. military unable to contain the chaos since, certainly put a stop to that. Even some of his biggest fans are now churning out criticism.
Borrell was among them, this time aghast at Biden’s contention that “our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation-building,” coming in the wake of Western efforts over much of the past two decades to sow the seeds of the rule of law and assure protection for women and minorities.
“State-building was not the purpose? Well, this is arguable,” a dejected Borrell said of Biden’s stance, which has come under criticism in much of Europe.
And for many Europeans steeped in soft power diplomacy to export Western democratic values, Biden’s assertion that, “our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what it has always been: preventing a terrorist attack on American homeland,” could have come from a Trump speech.
EU Council President Charles Michel underscored the different stances when he said in a tweet Thursday that the “rights of Afghanis, notably women & girls, will remain our key concern: all EU instruments to support them should be used.”
French Parliamentarian Nathalie Loiseau, a former Europe minister for President Emmanuel Macron, put the unexpected EU-Biden disconnect more bluntly: “We lived a little bit the great illusion,” she said. “We thought America was back, while in fact, America withdraws.”
It was no better in Germany, where a leading member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Union bloc, Bavaria Gov. Markus Soeder, called on Washington to provide funding and shelter to those fleeing Afghanistan, since “the United States of America bear the main responsibility for the current situation.”
Even in the United Kingdom, which has always prided itself on a its “special relationship” with Washington and now, more than ever, needs U.S. goodwill to overcome the impact of leaving the EU, barbs were coming from all angles.
Former British Army chief Richard Dannatt said, “the manner and timing of the Afghan collapse is the direct result of President Biden’s decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of 9/11.”
“At a stroke, he has undermined the patient and painstaking work of the last five, 10, 15 years to build up governance in Afghanistan, develop its economy, transform its civil society and build up its security forces,” Dannatt said Wednesday in Parliament.
“The people had a glimpse of a better life — but that has been torn away.”
Mr Tugendhat asked: “What does it say about us as a country about our willingness to defend our values if we are entirely dependent on a unilateral decision taken by the United States?
Biden has pointed to the Trump administration deal negotiated with the Taliban 18 months earlier in Doha, Qatar, which he says bound him to withdraw U.S. troops, as setting the stage for the chaos now engulfing the country.
Still, Biden putting much of the blame on Afghan forces for not protecting their nation has not gone down well with Western allies, either.
Conservative Parliament member Tom Tugendhat, who fought in Afghanistan, was one of several British lawmakers taking offense.
“To see their commander-in-chief call into question the courage of men I fought with, to claim that they ran, is shameful,” Tugendhat said.
Chris Bryant, from the opposition Labour Party, called Biden’s remarks about Afghan soldiers, “some of the most shameful comments ever from an American president.”
In Prague this week, Czech president Milos Zeman said that, “by withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Americans have lost their status of global leader.”
But despite all the criticism, there is no doing without the United States on the global stage. America remains vital to the Western allies in a series of other issues, in particular taking action against global warming.
After climate change disasters across much of the globe this year, the EU will be counting heavily on Biden to stand shoulder-to- shoulder in taking effective measures at the November COP26 global conference in Glasgow, Scotland, to speed up action to counter global warming.
Europe and Washington also have enough trade disagreements to settle to realize that despite the debacle of Afghanistan, there is much more that unites than divides them. A need for American power and help remains, even in Afghanistan.
Before Friday’s meeting of NATO foreign ministers, some Alliance nations have acknowledged they will be pleading to Washington to stay even longer in Afghanistan than it will take to bring all U.S. citizens home, wanting to make sure their people get out too.
“We and a number of other countries are going to the Americans to say: ‘Stay as long as possible, possibly longer than necessary,’” Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigrid Kaag said.
Associated Press writers Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands; Sylvia Hui in London; Karel Janicek in Prague and Colleen Barry in Milan contributed.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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Our allies are “aghast” with slo joe and find him “shameful”, while our enemies are thrilled to have him at the helm. Isn’t this exactly opposite of the way things should be?
YET those same so-called, ALLIES< WERE praising him winning over trump.
I WONDER HOW MANY would rather trump BE STILL IN CHARGE!
The European socialists and Biden are made for each other. They are both weak and they are both shameful. On Tucker yesterday, Tucker had film of American soldiers stating that ABOUT 90% of Afghan soldiers were uneducated (they could not read or write) so they could not follow directions / orders and the American soldiers also stated that 3/4 of the Afghan army trainees were high on drugs, so it was inevitable that these so called “Afghan soldiers” would be no match for the Taliban or any other army for that matter. So the collapse of the Country was going to happen. Like Tucker said, this was all big money (taxpayer money) for American contractors, this was big money for the Pentagon, big money for the deep state and its cronies. This is why the United States was in Afghanistan for 20 years. Both parties and the deep state sold out the American taxpayer to the deep state and their special interest cronies. Traitors of the highest order and corruption of the highest order.
When i saw that, and i heard “ALL of them still GRADUATED”< i was wondering "ARE our leftist educators, in charge over there???"
All true, backpacker.
It is worth noting that EU & NATO countries did NOT make any deal with the Islam Taliban terrorists & they are welcome to use their combined military forces & bankrupt their countries to protect the 39 million Islamist Afghans against their friends, relatives & countrymen who demand total submission to Islam.
Lot of vague gibberish & double talk from Western leaders going on but bottom line is that Islam followers wherever they settle have proven they will never be anything but devoted disciples of the Islam philosophy of submit to Islam or die.
Also notable is that I have seen no countries, even Islam ones, volunteer to permanently take in possibly millions of Afghans, which means they will.All end up in US as burden of working class taxpayers, just like the multi millions other foreign alien migrants the US govt has dumped on us.
Fact is that EU nations have been trying to deport many Afghans or other Islamists that they let migrate / infiltrate into their nations few years ago without any vetting &’based solely on so-called “humanitarian” reasons who, surprise, began creating criminal & societal upheaval & conflict like they always do because they hate the non-Islam culture of their idiot or
fatally naive saviors.
Thats practically the norm.. Take a look at the MILLIONS who fled Somalia. NOT ONE FELLOW ISLAMIC Natin took any in. SAME for those who fled Iran and Iraq under sadam.. Same with Syria. Same with, and the list goes on.
ONLY US “Western nations’, eve seem to take them in, ALL SO ISLAM CAN SPREAD like a bloody virus.
“The EU’s Josep Borrell was glad to see the end of the Trump era, with its America First, and sometimes America Only policy, enthralled by Biden’s assertion that he would “lead, not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.” To the writers of this article: YOU may not have liked Trump’s America First policy, but his allegiance was first and foremost the country he was leading and the interests of the American citizens. He was simply trying to right lopsided arrangements with foreign nations, so get your head on straight.
“Well before U.S. President Joe Biden took office early this year, the European Union’s foreign policy chief sang his praises and hailed a new era in cooperation. So did almost all of Washington’s Western allies.” Just like the low information voters here, they fell for all of the political rhetoric and flowery campaign speeches. They didn’t know Joe like we know Joe—that honeymoon was destined to end in a rude awakening at some point—and it finally came. But solely because of your disenchantment of Trump, you somehow thought you would be better off dealing with a thief, a liar, and a total incompetent. He stole the election over here and he lies through his teeth. And you can see from his brilliant decision-making that he is in well over his head.
Well you, just like the Liberals over here, got exactly what you bargained for—so enjoy.
This incompetent man has been on the WRONG side of every issue, his entire Political career ! What made those liberals think that he would suddenly grow an intelligent brain !
The Puppet Master only wanted a “FRONT MAN”, having a brain was not required !
It seems European leaders believed all the campain rhetoric about Joe Biden that we knew was hooey for at least twelve years. The resented Donald trump because he demanded they hold up their end of bargains made in good faith that had been ignored. They were happy Biden’s America was back so they could go about about their old ways of doing business but they miscalculated, Joe Biden wasn’t going to hold up America’s end of the bargain either. Maybe they thought they might exert greater control over him than his predecessors, they didn’t realize that he would go out of control!
I remember all of these countries leaders saying, “I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with Trump anymore”. Be careful what you wish for. My dad used to tell me to study people before you say you know them. When a snake is hiding in the grass, it’s hard to tell if they are poisonous. In this case it was a basement.
Like us true American’s, the ones that are hardworking, honest and seek fair elections. Our allies also have these electronic things called Televisions and watched the entire election process. Everyone knows the truth except the big guy.
That didn’t take long for Biden; Foreign Leaders may not have liked President Trump but I can tell you one thing, they respected him! That is true leadership! We did voted Donald Trump in office in 2016 to do a Job and he did the Job!!
That’s cause TRUMP kept his word
He didn’t drain one drop out of that swamp, the swamp swallowed him. I love Trump for what he did – he’s a businessman, politicians ate his lunch in politics (lies & all). Can we say “Term Limits”?
Not to mention the ca elitists who have shut up and gone into hiding. Why aren’t these women who yelled and screamed at what Weinstein did, yelling and screaming at what bozo has done to the Afghan women? I guess because those who pleased Weinstein to get ahead may be in their circle of friends.
BECAUSE they are ALL COWARDS.. Weinerstine was an EASY TARGET< just like Epstine..