Analysis: America’s longest war is ending. A nation is left wondering whether it was all worth it.
But the American operation — launched by President George W. Bush when New York’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon lay in ruins — is functionally over.
In a wider strategic sense, the withdrawal underscores how the War on Terror — which US and allied leaders insisted would be the organizing principle of international relations for decades to come — has faded as the dominant priority. Years of war abroad sapped US hegemony and contributed to domestic discord that further weakened its global footprint. A new era of great power competition, marked by China’s rise and Russia’s belligerence now most concerns Washington.
And the Covid-19 pandemic has killed hundreds of thousands more Americans than terrorism ever did.
After years of full-scale anti-terror blitzes, bitter land combat, nation-building, US neglect then fresh resolve, counter-insurgency offensives, negotiating with the Taliban…