U.S. President Joe Biden is hesitating on withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan. The Trump administration’s deal with the Taliban stipulated that all U.S. soldiers be pulled out from the country by May. Not just the Pentagon but Democratic chairs of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee also are of the opinion that a withdrawal would be problematic. By extending the pullout for another six months, rumor has it that Biden is trying to buy time. The Taliban for its part issued a warning saying that they do not want to see hide or hair of an American soldier.
Biden’s foreign policy team insists that pulling U.S. troops from Afghanistan before a permanent deal is made between the Taliban and Afghan government would only trigger more violence. Meanwhile, top level generals say that the U.S. withdrawing under the current conditions would bring about the end of the Afghan government. Likewise, the "US Central Forces Command (CENTCOM), which also includes Afghanistan, is of the same opinion.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday when he paid a surprise visit to Kabul. Austin, who is a former CENTCOM commander, didn’t make a clear statement on the U.S.’s position regarding a withdrawal. If the current debates are any indication, it would be a miracle for all U.S. troops to be pulled from Afghanistan by the beginning of May.
American soldiers in Afghanistan and in the Middle East coming home has more to do with the needs of the Pentagon and arms corporations known as the Military Industrial Complex. These needs are being legitimized under the guise of “national security interests,” whereas most Americans want the U.S. to immediately withdraw from the “endless wars.” As it is, it is not the everyday Americans who have a say but those circles that profit from those wars.
Meanwhile, local forces, whose interests will be harmed by the change of the current situation in Afghanistan, are sparing no effort to keep U.S. troops on the battlefield. Here, the U.S.’s “needs” come into play once more. So it seems that the fate of Afghanistan rests in the hands of America’s needs. The first question to be asked in terms of every country where U.S. troops are stationed should be “Who needs what?” The U.S.’s defense budget for 2021 stands at 740 billion dollars. Of course, the reasons for this enormous expenditure must be on the same scale.
China is America’s biggest rival, according to Biden as well as previous U.S. governments. Russia comes second on the “enemy list.” Trump wanted to get along well with Putin’s Russia, whereas he didn’t have such an intention with China. The Biden administration, on the other hand, is filled with hawks who want more stringent measures to be taken against Russia. Biden branding Putin as a killer recently sheds enough light on how U.S.-Russia relations will proceed. The U.S. has hundreds of military bases surrounding China in the Asia-Pacific region. As a matter of fact, there have even been attempts to increase the budget of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, which has been extended to the region in question.
Even debates about the U.S.’s 2022 defense budget have prematurely begun. Fifty lawmakers from the Democrat Party’s progressive left-wing asked Biden to cut spending. It is being said that Biden wants Pentagon’s budget to be stabilized somewhere between $704 and $708 billion. Progressive Democrats, operating under the umbrella of the Defense Spending Reduction Caucus presented a proposal last year to reduce the Pentagon budget by 10 percent. The proposal was killed in both wings of the U.S. Congress with bipartisan agreement. China, on the other hand, said it found the 740-billion-dollar budget extremely provoking.
Hawk Republicans are requesting that the defense budget be increased between 3 and 5 percent. Progressive Democrats for their part object by saying, “Even if we cut the defense budget in half, we’ll be spending 100 billion more than China, and 300 billion more than Russia.” Democrats' top members of the Armed Service Committees in the U.S. Congress argue that America's defense budget should match the grand strategy developed against China. This matter will be more fervently debated between both parties’ pro-endless-war wings and those who oppose it.