[Editorial Analysis] Certainly not the end of the road for the U.S.

Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: Not much
Mains level: India and its neighbourhood relations

Context:

• The future of Afghanistan is yet to be determined, but the debate has abruptly shifted to the future of the United States after its withdrawal from Afghanistan as many see this as an end to the influence of US in the world Politics.

• However, nothing can be farther from the truth.

Defining event:

• 9/11: To understand the present plight of the U.S., we need to go back to the terrorist bombing of 9/11, which was a game-changing global experience. It transformed the geopolitics of the world, which was determined by the size of the nuclear arsenals of the nuclear weapon states. The most powerful country in the world, which had the capacity to destroy the world many times over, became powerless before a few terrorists, who had only knives and forks as weapons, who blew the twin towers of New York.

• Once the responsibility of the attack was traced to Osama bin Laden and the terrorists in Afghanistan, it was imperative for the U.S. to retaliate by overthrowing the Taliban regime and hunting out and killing bin Laden

Benefits of the U.S. presence:

• The U.S. accomplished its mission within a short period but it was not able to withdraw because the Afghanistan government was unable to withstand the onslaught of the Taliban and other terrorist groups. Even neighbouring countries, including India, were strongly in favour of continuing the American presence.

• Pakistan played a double game — of being a partner on the one hand and an adversary on the other. It was not a matter of the Americans imposing themselves, but being invited to provide a certain stability for Afghanistan.

• A relatively Peaceful US years: The result of their presence was the prevalence of relative peace in the region except that Pakistan fattened the Taliban with American largesse. In the process, the troops in Afghanistan protected the homeland and the Americans, because the Taliban and other groups were kept engaged in Afghanistan territory. The U.S. presence in Afghanistan had succeeded in containing the dangers of terrorism for two decades.

The Afghan exit:

• Biden had no option: The clear mandate given to Mr. Biden was to clean up the Augean stables left behind by his predecessor, President Donald Trump, and how the world as a whole and a majority of the U.S. citizens heaved a sigh of relief that the U.S. finally had a predictable.

• Post Afghan Polity: Mr. Biden moved in earnest to return to the Paris Agreement (climate), resume the dialogue on the Iran nuclear deal and to reassure America’s traditional allies that the U.S. would stand by them. He gave a clear signal to China and Russia that no confrontation would be tolerated, but cooperation, wherever possible, will be pursued.

• No setting sun: US is still the most powerful economic and military power around which the whole constellation of the world rotates.

• Importance of US: In fact, the world has a stake in ensuring that a democratic nation leads the world rather than an expansionist dictatorship which has no public opinion to restrain it. The free world has a responsibility to maintain the American leadership of the world till a wiser and more benign alternative is found.

Conclusion:

• Many commentators have argued that the Kabul fiasco was worse than Vietnam, Tehran, 9/11, Iraq and pandemic because the details of the other disastrous developments had lost their sharpness with the passage of time. However, nothing can be farther from truth.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the SAMRIDH scheme, consider the following statements:
1. It will create a conducive platform for Indian software product startups to enhance their products and secure investments for scaling their business.
2. The programme is being implemented by MeitY Start-up Hub (MSH)

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

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