In November 2009, the late Charles Krauthammer gave a seminal speech, titled “Decline Is a Choice.” In it, Krauthammer stated, “The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no … Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written. For America today, decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice.”
This week, President Joe Biden chose decline.
That choice was not inevitable. It was foolhardy in the extreme, a symptom of Biden’s commitment to his own idiotic ideology — an ideology that crashed headlong into the steel wall of reality in Afghanistan. Former Presidents Obama and Trump both wanted to remove the United States from Afghanistan, but both recognized the reality on the ground: that removing all American support from the Afghan military would result in the Taliban — the terrorist regime responsible for providing aid and support to Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaida in the run-up to and aftermath of 9/11 — taking over the country.
Biden knew this. He just didn’t care. As he reportedly expressed in 2010, while speaking with Richard Holbrooke about American responsibility in Afghanistan, “F— that, we don’t have to worry about that. We did it in Vietnam, Nixon and Kissinger got away with it.”
And so, Biden destroyed the stalemate in Afghanistan that had allowed America’s counterterror mission in-country to continue successfully. The Afghan military was built to work with U.S. close air support; Biden withdrew that support. In fact, he went so far as to bar American contractors from entering the country to help the Afghan air force maintain its equipment. He cut the Afghan military off at the knees, then blamed them when they left the battlefield.
And Biden lied. He lied that Afghanistan represented an “endless war” carrying the possibility of “endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery”; in reality, the United States ended its combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014, had just 2,500 troops on the ground before Biden’s unplanned pullout, and has not suffered a combat casualty since February 2020.
Biden suggested that his hands were tied by a tentative agreement between the Trump administration and the Taliban, though he has had no problem abrogating Trump’s agreements, and despite the fact that the Taliban had obviously failed to fulfill any of the contingencies under the Trump agreement. And he lied that the Afghan military’s collapse simply reflected a lack of willpower: The Afghan military incurred 55,000 deaths since 2015, compared with nearly none from NATO.
Why did Biden do all of this?
Because American strength is not Biden’s priority. He wants America’s footprint on the world stage minimized; he wants America focused as much as possible on building a Nordic-style social welfare state accompanied by racially inflammatory equity programming at home.
The result of Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan will be a reconstituted terror threat as our enemies recognize we are a paper tiger; renewed Chinese aggression against Taiwan and diplomatic overtures toward the Taliban; and new offensives from Russia and Iran. Foreign policy abhors a vacuum. Biden has willfully created one. What’s more, in abandoning an ally of two decades, Biden has sent a clear message: Those who rely on American support can no longer do so securely. They’d be better off making realpolitik connections with America’s enemies in order to hedge their bets.
Meanwhile, Biden presses forward toward American hospice care. With the economy under inflationary pressure, he continues to foster trillions in spending, extraordinary new entitlement programs and a complete rethinking of the relationship between individuals and the government.
If there is a Biden doctrine, it’s simply this: surrender abroad, bloated dotage at home. Decline is a choice. And Biden has made that choice.
Ben Shapiro, 37, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com.