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State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Monday he has a “hard time” understanding how the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has emboldened autocratic leaders around the world like Russian President Vladimir Putin.
During a press briefing Monday about ongoing discussions with Russia, which appears poised to strike Ukraine at any moment, Price was asked whether the Biden administration was aware that “the whole world is watching just like what happened in Afghanistan.”
BIDEN ‘GREEN LIGHT’ TO PUTIN ON UKRAINE WILL HAVE ‘RIPPLE EFFECT’ THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, CRITIC SAYS
The reporter cited claims that Russia is “taking a page of what happened in Afghanistan” in its tactics against Ukraine, and that an invasion without a major U.S. response would have a “domino effect” around the world, including “China against Taiwan, Iran and its proxies, North Korea and its ballistic missiles against South Korea and Japan.”
Price argued that ending the war in Afghanistan allowed the U.S. to be more “strategically positioned” to address Russia.
He said, “I have a hard time understanding how it is that putting an end to a 20-year military commitment where the United States spent billions upon billions of dollars every year, where thousands of American troops, at one point tens of thousands of American troops were stationed, where there was a NATO commitment, where thousands of NATO troops were stationed for many years, taking casualties, enduring the loss of life with an open-ended military commitment – were that still to be the case, how [would] we be better strategically positioned to take on what we’re seeing now from the Russian Federation?”
The reporter pushed back, saying some critics and allies view the Afghanistan situation as the U.S. turning its back on the now-Taliban-controlled country, where thousands of Afghan allies are still trying to get out.
“Now, first of all, the United States has not turned its back on Afghanistan,” Price responded. “Anyone who would take any lesson from that, other than the fact that the United States is positioning itself to take on the threats and opportunities that we face now while we continue to partner with and support the people of Afghanistan, that would be mistaken analysis.”
Price’s comments come amid increasing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, where the U.S. has repeatedly vowed severe economic sanctions against Russia if it mobilizes against the country.
The United States has heightened the readiness of some 8,500 troops, but no decisions have been made yet to deploy them.
K.T. McFarland, deputy national security adviser to former President Donald Trump, told Fox News Digital on Sunday that the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal “contributed” to what’s now taking place between Ukraine and Russia because it gave other countries the perception that the United States is “chaotic” and “won’t stand up to its adversaries.”
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“Whatever happened in Afghanistan had a ripple effect with Ukraine,” McFarland said. “Whatever is going to happen with Ukraine is going to have a ripple effect with China, but it will have a ripple effect with Iran. It’s going to have a ripple effect with North Korea because all of these countries will think they’ll seize the moment. They’ll think this is my time. America’s weak, it’s disorganized.”
McFarland’s comments came around the same time that Fox News confirmed that China had flown fighter jets near Taiwan in what was the communist country’s strongest show of force in months.