By April 30, 1975, the last of the United States Army had left South Vietnam and Saigon to the tender mercies of the Viet Cong. Not only did this mark the end of a 20-year conflict, but more importantly the retreat of America. A retreat not just from Vietnam, but as well from interventionist policy.
Ever since the United States had retreated from Saigon it had been on a gradual retreat to isolationism. Anti-war sentiment from the Vietnam war lingered and yet while America still plays a major role in International Politics, anti-war sentiment has been increasingly embraced by movements on both the left and right.
Recently, as of this week, President Joe Biden and his administration have begun a complete pullout from the Afghanistan conflict. The Taliban’s gains do not bode well for him politically.
As a result, the Taliban have secured large amounts of territory and currently threaten several major cities across the country. In the City of Kunduz, the Taliban have swiftly seized surrounding military bases, outposts, and towns. In nearby Pul-i-Khumri the Taliban have seized several highways that are economic lifelines to Kabul. Meanwhile, the Taliban have secured the surrounding districts of the major city of Kandahar, a major hub in the Southern Province.
But the abandonment of Afghanistan signals not only the fate of many living in Afghanistan but also serves as yet another reminder that the United States is a bad ally.
As Americans left the city of Saigon, they also left thousands of civilians, former allies, and soldiers under the bus. The South Vietnamese ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) had been disintegrated and 250,000 personnel- the allies we abandoned — had been murdered and tortured by the newly established communist government.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians would cling to helicopters to escape rule by a government that was long labeled their enemy. And thousands more would be “reeducated” in destitute camps.
America’s failed policies in the Middle East had also left their allies in a state of abandonment. In Iraq Particularly, the United States had thrown its Kurdish allies under the bus for Saddam Hussein, the Iranian Shah, and for Erdogan.
In 1963, the United States had not only supported the coup that would soon lead to Saddam Hussein’s rise to power. When Kassam had been ousted, the United States not only immediately threw our allies under the bus and ended military aid but also supplied Iraq with napalm to use against them.
By the early 1970s, Saddam Hussein was no longer useful to the Nixon Administration prompting the rearming of Iraqi Kurds. However, Kissenger had no intention for a free Kurdish state after a deal had been made with both Hussein and the Shah despite the pleading from our allies.
Then again, in 1991, President George H.W. Bush had famously called on the Iraqi people to take matters into their own hands. Only when Iraqi Kurds and Shias would attempt this, the United States army watched as Saddam Hussein violently silenced their rebels in Northern Iraq.
And when we finally toppled Saddam Hussein, the United States Army had been withdrawn by the Obama Administration by 2011 just as Iraq might become a functioning democracy. By 2013, the Islamic State had taken power while cries for help had fallen deaf from the Obama Administration.
Many veterans and active soldiers who had cooperated with us to topple Hussein had been executed. And as the United States returned to Iraq to fight the terrorist group ISIS, we still received vital assistance from Syrian and Iraqi Kurds. Allies that we had before and will once again betray following President Trump’s pullout from Northern Syria.
For many, the war in Afghanistan is a matter of life and death. While the Taliban embraces a more repressive and fundamentalist view on Islam, it will have to remain less brutal to gain international recognition. But trusting our adversaries to be benevolent rulers has done nothing but disappoint us.
The United States faces a challenge in terms of foreign policy. Having started several endless wars abroad, the United States has created a path of destruction. Yet, we refuse to finish conflicts that we started. Instead of ensuring peace and stabilization we have fed our allies to the wolves and inconsistency caused by partisan politics have made the United States have only made us a worse ally.