A Chinook helicopter flies over Zabul Province, Afghanistan, August 2004
Teun Voeten/Panos Pictures/Red​ux

The decision to withdraw the U.S. military from Afghanistan could have been made years ago or years hence: there was never going to be a perfect time, but the time has come, and President Joe Biden has made a difficult but right choice at a moment of historic shifts in global geopolitical realities. 

Since 2001, successive U.S. administrations have carried out foreign policy through the prism and primacy of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the global “war on terror” in the broader Middle East. While Washington’s attention was fixed on these concerns, China emerged as a

Finish reading this article for free.

Enter your email and we'll send a paywall-free link directly to your inbox.

In addition to your unlocked article, you will receive our flagship weekly newsletter Foreign Affairs This Week, as well as occasional updates and offers from Foreign Affairs. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, visit our user agreement and privacy policy.

Get unlimited access to all Foreign Affairs. Subscribe now.

Are you already a subscriber? Sign in.