President Biden is under fire from members of Congress, the media, and veterans for the chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, which led to a swift takeover of the country by the Taliban. One lawmaker told Fox News the Biden administration’s actions could lead America’s allies around the world to question whether the United States would come to their aid if necessary.
“To make it very simple, the question is will our allies still trust us and will our enemies still fear us. I think that’s an open question,” Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said in an interview to Fox News Digital.
Chabot, who served as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia from 2011-2012, said Afghanistan was particularly important in regards to China, which he said was our “principle strategic adversary over the coming century.” He added that the Chinese Communist Party has already begun embracing the Taliban and capitalizing on the chaos left in the wake of the United States’ withdrawal.
Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. forces, Chabot said, will give China an even stronger foothold in the region, and hinder the United States interests abroad.
“China will take advantage of this, they already are, and that’s a tragedy we’re going to pay for years, decades to come,” he said.
One such ally that may be questioning the United States’ support is Taiwan, a country that China has declared dominance over for decades. Democracy in that part of the world, Chabot said, is crucial to the United States’ global interest, but the people of Taiwan are “very worried because of this.”
“They have to question themselves, can they rely on the United States?” he said. “I’ve always thought that one of [President Xi’s] legacy items would be taking back Taiwan, And that they’re more likely to act if they see weakness, either on the part of Taiwan or the United States…and this certainly makes that another question.”
Chabot emphasized the chaos now ensuing in Afghanistan was both predictable and preventable.
“We absolutely should have seen this coming, it was completely predictable, many of us warned the administration that this was likely to happen,” Chabot said. “Unfortunately, despite that, they showed really callous disregard for the safety of Americans, for the safety of those Afghans who worked with us over the years, and for the safety of 20 million women and girls who are essentially going to head back into a 12th-century version of slavery.”
Chabot added that the crisis has taken a toll on his constituents as well, some of whom are Gold Star families with loved ones who were killed in Afghanistan. They, he said, are asking themselves if their sacrifice meant anything.
“What we’ve been saying…is that for 20 years, we have been safe here in the United States. We haven’t suffered another 9/11,” Chabot said. “So the sacrifice certainly did mean something. But this has been a tragic blow at this point because of what the administration has done on this careless pullout with really no plan.”
The “careless pullout” has left thousands of Americans stranded in Afghanistan, leaving the Biden administration to rely on the Taliban to give them “safe passage” to the airport in Kabul to evacuate the country. Chabot said this is a mistake.
“There’s no reason for us to believe anything the Taliban tells us. We should judge them by their actions, not by what they say,” he said. “Apparently this administration doesn’t realize that, and they’ve put us in a position where we have no choice but to rely to some degree on them, their good graces. And the Taliban doesn’t have good graces.”
He also emphasized that the Taliban is currently putting on a positive public face, but that could all change as they cement their control over the country.
“I believe they will go dark very soon,” Chabot said.
The congressman said the disorganized nature of America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan allowed the Taliban to get “lists” and other information that they can use to track down those who helped the United States.
“They got it, and they’re going to use it, unfortunately,” he said.