So is this how Joe Biden planned to “restore America’s standing” in the world? If so, count our allies and security partners in the West completely unimpressed. Politico Europe reported last night that Biden’s chaotic and catastrophic bug-out in Afghanistan has horrified leaders across the continent, many of whom are just now coming to grips with Robert Gates’ acerbic summation of Biden’s supposed expertise:

Until Sunday, Europe thought Joe Biden was an expert on foreign policy.

Now, the American president’s decision to allow Afghanistan to collapse into the arms of the Taliban has European officials worried he has unwittingly accelerated what his predecessor Donald Trump started: the degradation of the Western alliance and everything it is supposed to stand for in the world.

Across Europe, officials have reacted with a mix of disbelief and a sense of betrayal. Even those who cheered Biden’s election and believed he could ease the recent tensions in the transatlantic relationship said they regarded the withdrawal from Afghanistan as nothing short of a mistake of historic magnitude.

Had they ever met Joe Biden or heard Biden talk? Gates spent enough time around Biden to correctly assess him as an utter poseur on foreign policy, but then again, most of Europe’s leadership is composed of similar poseurs. In that collection, Joe Biden’s status of twenty pounds of manure in a ten-pound bag probably doesn’t stand out quite so starkly as it does here. Plus, Biden’s more a member of their club, mouthing the same bons mots as they do about their priorities, which makes them all feel smarter than they clearly have been until now.

The scales are falling from their eyes now, however. Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan didn’t phase them, as almost all of these countries (with the notable exception of the UK) had removed their troops before now. The incompetent and brutal manner in which Biden has abandoned Afghans to their fate is quite another matter altogether:

“For those who believed in democracy and freedom, especially for women, these are bitter events,” [Angela Merkel] told a meeting with officials from her party late Monday, according to German media reports.

In the U.K., which like Germany supported the U.S. engagement in Afghanistan from the beginning, the sentiment was similar. “Afghanistan is the biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez. We need to think again about how we handle friends, who matters and how we defend our interests,” tweeted Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative chair of the U.K. parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

For those familiar with the Suez crisis of 1956, that statement speaks volumes. That humiliating episode put the final nail in the coffin of the UK’s standing as a major world power and elevated the US to the role of chief Western nation. Only Israel managed to extricate itself from the debacle with any real gains. Western credibility took a body blow, which may or may not have emboldened the Soviets in their decision to invade Hungary to put down a rebellion against communist rule.

Sixty-five years later, Joe Biden has put the shoe on the other foot. And this time the repercussions won’t be felt in Hungary and Russia, but more likely in Taiwan and China. Such are the wages of squandering military and moral credibility for the sake of an election campaign.

There may still be repercussions in Europe too:

At a time when some European leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, have been pushing for the bloc to pursue a security policy less dependent on America, Afghanistan is bound to be used as evidence for why “strategic autonomy” is necessary.

“Naturally this has damaged American credibility, along with that of the intelligence services and of the military,” said Rüdiger Lentz, the former head of the Aspen Institute in Berlin. “One can only hope that the damage to America’s foreign policy leadership can be quickly contained.”

Not for another three years, unfortunately.

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