Popular conservative commentator Candace Owens tweeted that US President Biden pulled out of Afghanistan on China’s orders. His exact words were as follows: “Biden was instructed by China to remove American troops from Afghanistan and he did it. It had NOTHING to do with wanting to end a war and EVERYTHING to do with what he & Hunter were paid for; Biden’s orders from Beijing are to destroy America so China becomes a global hegemon.”
Her views are based on the belief common among conservative circles that Biden is really just President Xi’s puppet. They think that China bribed his son and might even be blackmailing the American leader due to some of the scandalous footage that was reportedly found on one of his laptops.
Read more: Biden says tough to meet May 1 deadline for Afghanistan troop pullout
Why did Biden announce the withdrawal?
With all due respect to Mrs. Owens whose takes I generally enjoy reading and usually agree with, she’s flat-out wrong. Biden didn’t surrender Afghanistan to China even though the People’s Republic will benefit from the American withdrawal. He left the country because it realized that his military was fighting an unwinnable war that already cost it over $2 trillion with no tangible results.
Moreover, the American leader wanted to free up his forces in order to redeploy them towards the Asia-Pacific so that the Pentagon can focus more on containing China. It was clearly a controversial decision that wasn’t popular among many in his country’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”), but it still has a certain logic to it.
What Mrs. Owens is also conveniently forgetting is that it was former President Trump who was the first to make a major move in this direction after his administration clinched a peace deal with the Taliban in February 2020. In all actuality, Biden is just continuing his predecessor’s policy.
Read more: Afghanistan’s Ghani urges Biden to increase pressure on Taliban
If she’s consistent with her interpretation of events and unless she clarifies otherwise, it would therefore follow that he too was a Chinese puppet according to her logic even though nobody would ever reasonably accuse him of such considering the fact that he was tougher on the People’s Republic than any US President in history. Of course, she likely doesn’t believe that, which makes one wonder why she’s making that claim about Biden when Trump was responsible for this.
Anticipating China’s next move
Back to how Beijing will benefit from this, it’ll probably seek preferential extraction contracts from the Taliban in order to obtain access to some of the estimated $3 trillion worth of rare earth minerals under Afghanistan’s soil. China will incorporate the country into its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) via two complementary projects: the so-called “Persian Corridor” connecting the People’s Republic to the Islamic Republic via Tajikistan and Afghanistan (which could be described as part of the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor) and the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (PAKAFUZ) railway that was agreed to in February which essentially expands BRI’s flagship project of CPEC north (N-CPEC+) to the Central Asian Republics (CARs) and Russia.
Read more: Biden blames Afghan army and political leaders for “giving up”
Understandably, the average American’s superficial assessment of everything might make it seem like all of this was preplanned in a conspiratorial way, especially considering the powerful influence of partisan politics and the smoothness with which everything recently progressed. Nevertheless, such interpretations as Mrs. Owens’ aren’t accurate since they ignore Trump’s role in initiating this sequence of events, China’s genuine economic appeal to the Taliban for reconstructing Afghanistan, and Biden’s disastrous series of mistakes during the American military withdrawal which made everything all the more dramatic in recent days. Biden didn’t surrender Afghanistan to China, he simply continued Trump’s plan, and China’s naturally taking advantage of it.
Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst, radio host, and regular contributor to several online outlets. He specializes in Russian affairs and geopolitics, specifically the US strategy in Eurasia. The article has been republished and the views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.