The Afghan Tragedy Is China’s Opportunity

An Afghan soldier stands guard on a security tower in Bagram Air Base after American troops vacated it, in Parwan Province, Afghanistan, July 5, 2021. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)
America’s superpower rival has designs on the country as a base from which to exercise control over Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE I mages of the collapse of the Afghan government in Kabul bring back painful memories of a similar collapse in the wake of a similar U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975. The comparisons with Vietnam, however, go beyond American humiliation and defeat — and the abandonment of those whom American power was supposed to protect. If history is any guide, we can expect America’s retreat also to boost the opportunities for our superpower rival. In 1975 that was the Soviet Union; today it’s Communist China.

The United States’ withdrawal from Vietnam allowed the Soviet Union to expand its influence around the world,

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Arthur Herman is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and the author of, most recently, The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World (Houghton Mifflin, 2021).


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