The image of desperate Afghans chasing an American C-17 cargo plane taking off from Kabul Airport is a powerful symbol of the failure of President BidenJoe BidenSupreme Court blocks Biden’s eviction moratorium Overnight Defense & National Security: Terror in Kabul as explosions kill and injure hundreds White House: Biden ‘somber’ and ‘outraged’ after hearing of Kabul attack MORE’s foreign policy. While Americans sympathize with their plight, we also know that the president’s failure in Afghanistan will have repercussions on our own national security for many years to come.

Without question, our adversaries in China, Russia, North Korea and Iran sense our weakness, and will be tempted to take advantage of it. Meanwhile, our partners in Taiwan, Ukraine, South Korea, the Middle East, and even Europe are surely doubting American resolve as we falter on our commitments to allies and partner nations. This failure opens the door for future wars and conflicts.

As we analyze the fallout from Biden’s botched exit strategy, it is important we diagnose the problem. It is understandable for Americans and our global allies to question our purpose in Afghanistan after nearly two decades of combat and nation building. Our initial mission was necessary: destroy al-Qaeda following the horrific attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and dismantle the Taliban forces who harbored them. Over time, we unwisely pivoted from our initial objective, which has cost a fortune in blood and treasure trying to remake a country whose culture and history we did not fully understand.

U.S. attempts at nation building have not been successful — we have been more successful in inculcating our beliefs of freedom, liberty, and prosperity abroad — than trying to clone replicas of America. It is this kind of “soft power” that has helped us become the superpower that leads by example, not unbridled force. But if we fail to uphold our commitments to our allies and partner nations, that soft power is worthless.

While a draw down in Afghanistan was appropriate, President Biden’s botched exit strategy led to a foreseeable, embarrassing, and preventable crisis. Indications are Biden actively ignored warnings from his national security and military advisers regarding the perilous nature of a rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan. Instead of listening to his experts, Biden chose to unilaterally withdrawal all United States forces, ignoring potential catastrophe for political expedience. Not only did his poor judgement and actions lead to a Taliban victory, they telegraphed to the world that the U.S. is willing to abandon its international commitments for the sake of political expediency. China’s goal to retake control of Taiwan is clear,  and Russia has naked ambitions to influence Ukraine and Moldova. North Korea continues its quest to develop nuclear warheads and Iran just inaugurated one of its most radical presidents in its history. These rogue nations will likely increase funding of terrorism and nuclear weapons development or acquisition.

In addition to state actors taking advantage of our failure in Afghanistan, we also ironically risk the resurgence of the same terrorist threat we worked so hard to eradicate after 9/11. We cannot trust the Taliban when they say they will not allow jihadist groups like al-Qaeda to use Afghanistan as a staging ground to attack the U.S. and our allies. Despite the Biden administration’s best hopes, the Taliban do not care what elites in Washington think of them and have no reason to abide by promises they have made. At best, the Taliban will turn a blind eye to jihadist groups once again taking root in Afghanistan. At worst, the Taliban will encourage these groups to continue their jihad against America.

The Biden administration’s ultimate failure comes from viewing the world as they would like it to be, not as it is. Despite what doves may wish, it is peace through strength that keeps America safe — not white-glove diplomacy with jihadist organizations. As President Ronald Reagan noted in 1980, “We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong. It comes when tyrants are tempted. We simply cannot learn these lessons the hard way again without risking our destruction.” Ultimately, through the Biden administration’s failure in Afghanistan, the world is more dangerous and Americans are less safe as we conclude our longest war.

Scott Franklin represents the 15th District of Florida and is a member of the Armed Services Committee.

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