The fall of Afghanistan and the chaotic American withdrawal has been a propaganda campaign for autocrats around the world. Nowhere is the perception of US weakness more trumpeted than in China, where state media outlets predict a US decline and warn US allies and partners that they will also be left out. The Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times called Afghanistan an “omen” for Taiwan’s fate.
While images of Kabul have damaged US global reputation in the short term, Washington can still ensure that its interests are protected in the long term. China’s desire for forced integration with Taiwan is no secret. Beijing has increased military, economic and political pressure on Taipei over the past year and it is showing no signs of easing. After Afghanistan, deterring China from a disastrous invasion of Taiwan should be a major national security objective of the Biden administration.