The evacuation of U.S. personnel from Afghanistan is not the only time in recent history when Washington has given up on a fight and left locals in the lurch. It happened in Saigon in 1975, in Beirut in 1983, in Mogadishu in 1993, and, arguably, in Syria in 2019. Some foreign capitals are connecting these dots to conclude Washington is not reliable when the chips are down. Against that backdrop, selling weapons so countries can defend themselves may be the next best option to reassure friends. Poland has recently decided to buy F-35 fighters, Patriot air defenses, and Abrams tanks. Taiwan is buying F-16 fighters and tanks. The UAE will get F-35s. Each of these countries is on the frontline against a threatening state, and is desperate to obtain American security guarantees. But if they doubt Washington will come through in a crisis, having the latest U.S. weapons with which to defend themselves certainly can help to allay fears. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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