top of page

The Swoon Is Over: Europe Breaks up With Biden Over Afghanistan Betrayal

Welp, that was a short marriage. Mere months after glowingly calling the new love of their life “a return to adulthood,” no-longer-swooning European leaders have kicked the inept “cheater” — beleaguered Joe Biden — to the curb, correctly labeling his haphazard, unilateral, disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, “cowardice,” “the greatest debacle that NATO has experienced since its foundation,” and worse.

At the NATO summit in 2017, French President Emanuel Macron dug his fingertips into then-President Donald Trump’s hand, as reported by the BBC, staring him in the face. Macron would later say: “It wasn’t innocent. In my bilateral dialogues, I won’t let anything pass.”

Four years later, at the recent G7 summit in Cornwall, Macron again grasped the moment. As cameras snapped, the French president walked across the beach with his arm around the new American president, Joe Biden. The body language shift was clear, said the BBC: “the two sides arm-in-arm once again.”

That was then, this is now.

In capitals across Europe, from London to Berlin, the far-reaching disaster in Afghanistan — solely the fault of Biden, regardless of his pathetic attempts at “advanced rationalization” — poisoned the sweetness of the Biden-Europe honeymoon. Again, it’s not that the withdrawal itself has rankled the Europeans; it was the complete lack of coordination or even a heads-up of what was happening when it began — particularly, as noted by the BBC, since at the time of drawdown of U.S. troops, three-quarters of total troops in Afghanistan were non-American, leading to an international scramble to evacuate.

But, hey — as Joe told us, he has no regrets.

Not only has our hapless president not second-guessed any decisions he made; he would make those decisions all over again and do the whole disastrous thing exactly the same way. Now that’s courageous leadership delusional stubbornness for the sake of political expediency.

While I’m hardly the president of the “We Love Europe!” fan club, a bit of perspective is necessary, here. The German deployment in Afghanistan was its first major combat mission since World War II, reported the BBC, so the frustration at how it ended runs deep. Armin Laschet, Germany’s conservative candidate for chancellor ahead of elections later this month, called the US withdrawal “the greatest debacle that Nato has experienced since its foundation”.

Czech President Milos Zeman upped the ante, labeling Biden’s debacle “cowardice,” and adding: “The Americans have lost the prestige of a global leader.”

Carl Bildt, Sweden’s former Prime Minister, told the BBC that European expectations of Biden proved to be too high.

Expectations were very high when Joe Biden came in — probably too high, they were unrealistic. His ‘America is back’ suggested a golden age in our relations. But it didn’t happen and there’s been a shift in a fairly short period of time. The complete lack of consultations over the withdrawal has left a scar.

Without actually saying IT, Nathalie Loiseau, France’s Europe Minister until 2019, pretty much told the BBC that Europe is now going through Trump withdrawals.

Many EU countries were in a state of denial. They thought they should wait until Trump was gone and we’d go back to the ‘old normal’. But that ‘old normal’ isn’t alive anymore. I hope it’s a wake-up call for us.

Let’s be honest. A large part of each of us has to love that regret and buyer’s remorse of generally smug European leaders, right? Oh hell yeah, we do.

So what’s was Europe’s beef with Trump?

Nathalie Tocci, an adviser to the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, and a visiting professor at Harvard, told the BBC that Europe’s problem with Donald Trump was less about his foreign policy and more about “America First” and how he “seemed to get on” Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping.

The main rift under Trump had less to do with specific foreign policy decisions and more that we didn’t share the same values all of a sudden.

The real trauma of Trumpism was not only ‘America First’ but that he seemed to get on more with the Xis and Putins. That we’re on the same side hasn’t been questioned with Afghanistan. What has changed is the growing preoccupation in Europe that as the US withdraws from the world, it may be very committed to protecting values in America — but what about elsewhere? Loiseau, the former French minister, said European leaders are now concerned about their own security.

[C]ountries, such as the UK and Germany always thought they could rely mostly on the US for security. So of course they’re fearing times have changed. But we’ve often said we should rethink how NATO works. We should not remain in a state of denial.

Europeans even teeing off on Biden over COVID vaccinations.

European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas told the BBC he canceled his planned trip to the U.S. next [this] week “because I do not find the lack of reciprocity on travel rules fair.” The EU has now removed the U.S. from its travel “safe list” — seen by many as an illustration of growing tensions.

“There was a time when the US talked about upholding the global order,” Sweden’s Bildt told the BBC.

But that is not the language now coming out of the White House. Expectations for a revival of the transatlantic relationship have been deflated. And one is resigned to an America that does it its own way.

I’m confused. Didn’t Joe tell us he had not only heard zero complaints from European leaders but also that several had actually called to tell him they supported his actions?

Wait — you don’t think Joe was… dare I say… lying, do you? Why I never.

Author: Mike Miller

bottom of page