The United States’ involvement in the country is drawing to a close, but this is not the end of the war, two of our writers warn.
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The United States’ involvement in Afghanistan is drawing to a close, but the conflict there is far from over. “This is not the end of the war; it is merely the end of its direct American phase,” our contributing writer Eliot A. Cohen explains.
The war will continue, and the people of Afghanistan will suffer. “Opening American doors is a matter of this moment,” Eliot argues. “Passing historical judgment on the meaning of America’s Afghan war is something best deferred for a decade.”
President Joe Biden now has a second chance to redeem his mistake. “In April 1975, as a first-term senator, he was an outspoken opponent of using American money and risking Americans’ safety to rescue the tens of thousands of South Vietnamese who had bet their lives on American promises,” George Packer reminds us.
America never knew why it was in Afghanistan. “Are we building a nation? Are we chasing terrorists?” Wesley Morgan, who reported on the ground in the country, recalls one senior U.S. officer asking him. “I read the same news as you do, and it doesn’t always seem very clear.”
Further reading: Biden’s foreign policy prioritizes the domestic. “His ambition is to succeed where his predecessor failed: pursue a foreign policy that provides tangible benefits for middle-class Americans,” our staff writer Peter Nicholas, who covers the White House, reports.
What to read if … you’re still trying to make sense of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause:
“Our regulators are not fools,” our staff writer Graeme Wood argues. “But they have a peculiar sense of responsibility that leads them to adopt a fraidy-cat level of caution … that no normal person should want in her daily life.”
Tonight’s Atlantic-approved isolation activity:
Stream Taylor Swift’s re-recording of her second album, Fearless, while reading our critic Spencer Kornhaber’s review: Swift knew everything when she was young, he says.
Today’s break from the news:
What if friendship, not marriage, was at the center of life?