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Tyler Cowen

A Hawkish Approach to Afghanistan Wouldn’t Have Worked, Either

The U.S. could have usefully remained longer, but there’s too little public support for robust, long-term commitments abroad.

This couldn’t go on forever.

This couldn’t go on forever.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As the Taliban seize control of Kabul and indeed all of Afghanistan, it is worth pondering the less obvious lessons of this 20-year episode. It is a reminder of why I cannot bring myself to be a foreign policy hawk, even though I largely accept the hawks’ worldview and underlying values.

Let’s put aside whether or not you favor President Joe Biden’s withdrawal, and note that sooner or later it was likely to happen. Former President Donald Trump had favored withdrawal, too, as had earlier Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Trump also negotiated toward that end. Barack Obama’s administration also toyed with the idea of troop withdrawal.