CHINA / DIPLOMACY
Blinken jets to Qatar, Europe in bid to rescue US reputation after Afghanistan humiliation
US leaves problems behind and asks others to clean up: expert
Published: Sep 05, 2021 09:28 PM Updated: Sep 05, 2021 10:52 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times



After the US' embarrassing and hasty pullout from Afghanistan has led to heavy casualties among local civilians and terrorist attacks, Washington has decided to send its top diplomat and defense chief to visit the Middle East and Europe to ask its allies to share the headache it created for the world. 

Chinese analysts said Washington should not make its own mess a problem for everyone, and its contradictory policy toward China - seeking cooperation and increasing pressures at the same time - will make it pay new prices. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Qatar on Monday and Tuesday, which was the main hub for the evacuations of some 100,000 Afghans in the final days of the 20-year US military mission, according to Arab Weekly.

At the same time, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will leave Sunday for Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and fellow US military allies in the Gulf, Arab Weekly reported, citing the Pentagon.

After Qatar, Blinken will head to the US air base of Ramstein in Germany, where he is expected to meet with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and hold a 20-nation virtual ministerial meeting on the Afghanistan crisis. Germany has become a temporary home for thousands of Afghans, reports said. 

Blinken said those 20 countries "all have a stake in helping to relocate and resettle Afghans and in holding the Taliban to their commitments." 

These visits are more like a move to save its declining reputation among its partners and allies, prevent more embarrassments in the next stage, deodorize its humiliating failure in Afghanistan, and then evade its responsibilities for handling problems related to Afghanistan, Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies in Lanzhou University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The relocation of Afghan refugees, humanitarian aid and preconditions for recognizing the Taliban's new regime in Afghanistan, are likely to be the main topics for the discussion between the US and its allies in the Middle East, Zhu noted. 

Liu Zhongmin, a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of the Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times on Sunday that the US bears the primary responsibility, and should actively take any consequence brought by its hasty pullout from Afghanistan. 

However, what the US is really up to is to turn the troubles it created into problems for the whole region and even the rest of the world, driving all related countries to clean up the mess for the US, Liu said. 

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a call on Friday with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian that although the US has pulled its troops out of Afghanistan, it still has an inescapable responsibility for the peaceful reconstruction of the country and should not try by any means to make new trouble or even turmoil for Afghanistan, or undermine the legitimate rights and interests of its neighboring countries.

As for the US saying that its withdrawal from Afghanistan allows it to focus more on dealing with China and Russia, Wang said such a notion not only serves as an excuse for America's own failure, but also reveals the nature of its pushing for power politics in the world.

But unfortunately, under US hegemony, its allies might not be able to refuse irresponsible US requests. Qatar now is a key hub for the massive US airlift out of Kabul and a first point of landing for Afghan refugees and was the largest hub for the evacuations of some 100,000 Afghans in the final days of the 20-year US military mission, according to Arab Weekly and VOA. 

Forming an alliance with the US is such a misfortune for countries like Qatar, which paid huge prices for the mess created by the US. A huge amount of refugees will inevitably beef up the burdens for Qatar and other countries who received Afghan refugees, Chinese experts noted. 

The US is not only seeking help from its allies, but also asked major powers which it regards as "competitors and adversaries" to help it to clean up the mess in Afghanistan, such as China and Russia.

"It's totally ridiculous to see: while the US has been repeatedly seeking support from China over issues relating to Afghanistan and climate change, it maintains an intense strategic competition and confrontation with China. Such logic shows that the US may underestimate China's judgment of the China-US relationship and its grip on it," said Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of  China Foreign Affairs University.

Blinken has laid out three categories and the corresponding actions over US policy to China: we would cooperate where we could, compete where should, and confront where we must. 

From their words to their actions, the US's policy on China is fundamentally a  self-contradiction, and this shows that what the US really wants is to see China make concessions on the US' bullying and also be compromised to provide unconditional help on every issue it requests, Li told the Global Times on Sunday.

This kind of problematic policy on China will bring more setbacks and troubles to the US in the future, Li said.
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