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The war in Afghanistan is over, and the president stands by his decision to end it.
Today, just one day after the last military flight departed from Kabul, President Joe Biden defended his decision to pull U.S. forces from Afghanistan and praised the evacuation mission as a success.
It’s too early to know what history will make of the president’s calls over the past few weeks; writers at this publication have doled out both criticism and praise. And we still don’t know what the retreat means for U.S. foreign policy going forward. For now, this long, fraught chapter is simply over.
Afghanistan tested one of the core tenets of Biden’s foreign-policy strategy. Yascha Mounk argues that the past few weeks show the limits of designing a “foreign policy for the middle class.”
Biden’s foreign policy looks a lot like Trump’s. “Their shared lodestar is the idea that it’s time for the U.S. to focus on its own interests—and to leave other countries to fend for themselves, come what may,” David A. Graham pointed out recently.
Biden deserves credit for his actions. David Rothkopf argues: “The very last chapter of America’s benighted stay in Afghanistan should be seen as one of accomplishment on the part of the military and its civilian leadership.”
Liberal democracy is worth defending with more than just words. “The events in Afghanistan are part of a much bigger story” about the global contest between freedom and autocracy, Anne Applebaum argues. “Sometimes only guns can prevent violent extremists from taking power.”
The news in three sentences:
(1) In California, the massive Caldor fire continues to threaten South Lake Tahoe, forcing thousands of people to evacuate. (2) More than a million people in Louisiana and Mississippi remain without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. (3) Texas passed a restrictive new voting bill, which Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign.
What to read if … you’re trying to make sense of Kanye’s new album:
Let our critic Spencer Kornhaber help: “Inevitably and avoidably, Donda’s graceful moments will be outshone by spectacle and conflict.”
Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:
Only Murders in the Building, out on Hulu today, stars Steve Martin and Martin Short beside wildcard Selena Gomez for a crime-comedy series that mines the generational divide.
A break from the news:
“Dead-internet theory. It’s terrifying, but I love it.”
3-Down, six letters: Jaguar part that might purr
Try your hand at our daily mini crossword, available on our site, which gets more challenging through the week.
Thanks for reading. This email was written by Caroline Mimbs Nyce.
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