The world is traumatized by the United States withdrawal from the Middle East, beginning with the chaotic and messy withdrawal from Afghanistan. Almost all agree that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and later from Syria and Iraq, is inevitable. But, withdrawing in such a chaotic and irresponsible manner; exposing hundreds of thousands of lives to risk, creating a refugees’ crisis, and availing the space for terrorist organizations to re-arise, is an act of insanity that will turn our world upside down. A heavy cloud of fear is covering our skies. The uncertainty about when exactly this cloud is going to melt and allow the new sun to send its light and warmth to the panicking people, is the most difficult part to deal with. However, there is one thing we know for sure is going to happen. That is the fact that our world is currently changing, and this change could be irreversible.
Decision-makers, in the east and the west, are mostly confused about how to apply the classic equation of magnifying gains and minimizing losses out of the fluid and quickly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, American politicians, especially from the leading Democratic and Republican parties, are ridiculously stuck in the blame game over the decision and the procedures applied to withdraw American and allies’ troops from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the general public, worldwide, is panicking about Afghanistan returning to be a hotbed for terrorist organizations, which will eventually lead to an international security crisis. The Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists have already launched two suicidal attacks near Kabul Airport, in late August, that killed over a hundred people, including American soldiers. That is only the beginning of many terrorist operations to follow.
This is the reality we are living, since the ideological extremist organization of Taliban took over Afghanistan after the United States and NATO troops started withdrawing in mid-August. But, for a moment, let’s zoom out of the bloody scene and look at the bigger picture. The waves of Afghanistan’s shock are echoing much larger than its size. The history of mankind is going through a critical transitional moment, after which the world system that we know will exist no more. A whole new world order will replace it; with new centers of power and new rules to govern.
Around the same timing, one century ago, the World Wars (1914-1945) marked the death of an old world and the rebirth of a whole new one. It was not an easy process, but eventually it resulted into a world capable of coexisting under one universal system of governance, represented by the United Nations. This was a unipolar system, wherein the United States of America acted as the one great power that enjoyed the greatest cultural, economic, political, and military influence over the world for more than seven decades. The current U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East is similar to the World Wars of the 1900s, in terms with its influence on changing the balance of power in the world. However, this will not be for the benefit of the United States, but for the benefit of its eastern rivals, Russia and China.
Ironically, the current U.S. Administration of President Biden and the former Administration of President Trump promoted for the U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East by saying that they need to reallocate resources to confront the growing Chinese power. They simply committed a grieve mistake by availing the enormous and unique political and economic playground of the Middle East to the Russian and Chinese players to dominate. What the American Democrat (current) and Republican (former) presidents failed to see is that the United States balance and power is extremely dependent on the Middle East. It is not the other way around. The Middle East can survive without the United States, but the United States will lose the major part of its economic and military power by turning its head away from the Middle East.
It will not be an exaggeration to say that the U.S. exit from the Middle East is similar to withdrawing a soul from a body, after which neither the soul nor the body will be the same. This is definitely the beginning of the end of the world as we know it.
Also, read on The Levant