US ending ‘forever wars’ to focus on China, Russia

US ending 'forever wars' to focus on China, Russia
US ending 'forever wars' to focus on China, Russia

WASHINGTON: The United States will complete its troops pullout from Afghanistan next month to focus more on, what it considers, emerging threats from China and Russia.

Fighting stateless terror groups like Al-Qaeda and Daesh consumed the US security establishment, and trillions of dollars, since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Biden predecessor Donald Trump came to office in 2017 promising to quit Afghanistan, calling the war there a “mess” and a “waste.”

The conflicts there and in Iraq had come to be characterized by unending troop deployments, persistent levels of violence, and no ability to conclusively defeat the enemy.

By 2020 Trump had overcome resistance and laid the ground for pullouts, leaving only 2,500 troops in each country by the time he stepped down in January. Biden accepted that trajectory, announcing Thursday that US military involvement in Afghanistan would conclude by August 31.

“We are ending America’s longest war,” he said. “The United States cannot afford to remain tethered to policies created to respond to a world as it was 20 years ago.”

The 9/11 attacks blindsided the US security establishment, forcing a whole-of-government refocus and the launching of the “War on Terror.”

The US and NATO allies invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban government, which had protected Al-Qaeda.

And then-president George W Bush took advantage to also invade Iraq to overthrow strongman Saddam Hussein, hoping to remake the Middle East and snuff out a broader threat.

The initial assaults largely succeeded quickly, with Al-Qaeda fractured and on the run in Afghanistan, and Saddam deposed and captured in Iraq.

But in both cases the United States and allies remained on the ground, hoping to rebuild each country, and unable to pull out without risking a return to the pre-9/11 situation.

Then, starting in 2013, US security leaders rebooted their views when new Chinese President Xi Jinping began aggressively expanding his country’s military.

Seeking to counter and surpass US military strength, China began building armed bases on disputed islets in the South China Sea, added a base in Djibouti and planned other bases around Asia and the Middle East.

Meanwhile in 2014 Russian President Vladimir Putin sent forces to seize Ukraine’s Crimea and supported an insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

US ending 'forever wars' to focus on China, Russia
US ending ‘forever wars’ to focus on China, Russia