After Afghan debacle, can India and the world trust the US?

24-08-2021 Tue 20:06 IST | IANS | Opinion

New Delhi, Aug 24: Credibility of Washingtons foreign policies has come under a cloud with the unfolding of events in Afghanistan following the pull-out of US troops from the country. After the humilating Afghan debacle, can the US be trusted with their other initiatives such as the QUAD or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue on the global stage?

As the world watched the developments in Afghanistan with disbelief, the US will have to fight the rapidly growing trust deficit, which would be felt among its post-war allies including Japan, Korea and the 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

At a time when India-US relations have been cementing amid the changing geopolitical landscape, pressure is building on South Block to relook at its overall foreign policy in the wake of the Afghanistan crisis.

"New Delhi should keep all channels of co-operation (with other countries) open. Already, we have suffered considerably due to US sanctions on Iran which led to confusions with Tehran. Besides, there have been setbacks over the Chabahar project as well," an analyst told India Narrative. The Narendra Modi government stopped oil imports from Iran in early May, 2018 after the US sanctions on Tehran kicked in.

The Observer Research Foundation (ORF) said in its report that across the world there are worries about the reliability and credibility of the US as a guarantor of security.

"It would be foolhardy to take American credibility on external commitments as a given. While there are fewer doubts about US commitments to Europe and the NATO, the looser arrangements in the Indo-Pacific leave open many questions," the ORF paper stated.

Many have also opined that this is a "Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh) moment" for the US.

Gerald Ford, then US President announced in April 1975 that for Washington, the Vietnam war, which it was spearheading was "finished."

According to Al Jazeera, "the president's words landed like shells of cold indifference on the ears of the South Vietnamese who had been promised support by successive US administrations, including Ford's." Following the US withdrawal, Saigon fell and the Communists assumed power.

Though US President Joe Biden has made it clear that he has no regrets in withdrawing from Afghanistan as "the objectives of the war have been met," "the goals of wiping out terrorism, nation building, political stability and peace stand like a ruin in the face of the empire," the news organisation said.

While many eyebrows have raised over India's US policy, Shakti Sinha, Hony Director, AB Vajpayee Institute of Policy Research and International Studies told India Narrative that the move should not come as a surprise to the world.

"The US has been talking about pulling out its troops, the world including India should have been prepared for this though from a humanitarian point it is an extremely sad episode." Sinha, who served as head of the governance and development section of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2008, said.

The Doha Peace Agreement was signed last year in February. The agreement signed by the US--under the Donald Trump regime -- and Taliban got the support of China, Pakistan and Russsia. Under the agreement, the US and NATO forces committed to pulling out of Afghanistan.

Several experts also said that the exit of the US from Afghanistan will allow Washington to focus more on China. "The US is withdrawing from Afghanistan because it wants to concentrate its resources against China," Satoru Nagao, fellow at Hudson Institute, told India Narrative.

Irrespective of the course that the US charters once it closes the Afghanistan chapter, it will have to seriously look at rebuilding its credibility as a world power.

By Mahua Venkatesh

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