AGI – In the frantic hours following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, exasperation over the initial shock prevailed. First in the US and soon after in the UK, criticism of President Biden and Prime Minister Johnson escalated hour by hour for forcing them to speak out. And if it was Biden’s turn on Monday to defend his decision to leave the country after twenty years, it was Johnson’s turn on Wednesday, who faced a barrage of criticism in the House of Commons.
More difficult to digest came from her fellow party member and former Downing Street tenant, Theresa May. In an honest speech, not without emotional exasperation, he exclaimed from the majority seats: “Was our intelligence so scarce, or did we choose to follow the United States in the hope of a stroke of luck to get out of it?” .
May also expressed concern that the UK had failed to put together an alternative NATO that could handle things differently. “What message are we sending to Russia and China? Is NATO on a par with the situation?” It is a rush of Mai. And more harsh words: “This is a major drawback for UK foreign policy. Let’s talk about global Britain, but where is this global Britain in the streets of Kabul? We will be judged on our actions, not our words.”
The debate took place in the House of Commons after a weekend and the start of a week that was largely marked by images coming from the Afghan capital.
Since Monday, European leaders have chased each other by phone to seek a common approach, suddenly but not unexpectedly. Boris Johnson called the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to propose to him an extraordinary G7 meeting in a video conference with three main purposes: to deal with the humanitarian emergency in the country, to decide on a unified approach to the new Taliban force and to assess possible sanctions in the case of human rights violations. The summit is expected to be held next week.
Biden avoided contact with European leaders until Tuesday evening, when, in the course of a phone call with Johnson, he finally agreed to participate in the extraordinary G7 meeting. It is not excluded that the breach will volatilize.
The need for these hours seems to be to save face at a time when public opinion is so shaken by the way in which it is decided to leave the country. Johnson and Biden should be equal. On how to manage the real consequences of the selection, the two leaders will play the game independently with their eyes turned to their selected constituents.
In this scenario, a united Europe could make a difference. The Afghan question is a critical test case to confirm one’s credibility and prove that it is up to the great challenges of the times.
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