Hagerty: ‘Blindsided’ U.S. allies fear increase in terrorism, ‘shaken to the core’ over Biden’s Afghan exit

Senator Bill Hagerty revealed a “palpable” frustration communicated by America’s European allies over President Biden’s botched handling of Afghanistan and that foreign leaders felt the U.S. handed terrorists a “propaganda victory.”

The Tennessee Republican spoke with Fox News on Monday after meeting with NATO diplomats on his trip to the U.K. and Belgium including German, Italian, Turkish, and U.K. envoys to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Hagerty, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former ambassador to Japan, noted that American allies in Europe fear an escalating risk of terrorism and a burgeoning humanitarian crisis following the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban and that those foreign leaders were “shocked” at the outcome.

“They said that the first time in history that Article Five of the NATO treaty was invoked was when we came to the United States’ aid after the U.S. was attacked September 11, 2001. We came to the U.S.’ aid to show solidarity,” Hagerty stated.

“And the implied question is, ‘Why didn’t you?'” the senator asked echoing the sentiments of foreign allies who want to know why Biden didn’t consult with them. “‘Why did you leave us in a posture like this?’ And frankly, we left our allies in a posture where they couldn’t fulfill their own promises to their own allies. And there’s a palpable frustration.”

(Video Credit: Fox News | Sen. Bill Hagerty)

“Something that was a very common thread… is the belief that we handed terrorism a massive propaganda victory,” he contended. “Their concern is that the propaganda victory will embolden jihadists around the world to act against the West.”

“They feel because of their proximity they’re more at risk than the United States. They said to me that ‘you’re protected by an ocean, we are not,'” Hagerty recounted.

“What I heard was the fact that our alliances have been shaken to the core, that they were, rightly or wrongly, blindsided by this,” Hagerty said in an interview, according to The Washington Times. “I think there’s a real internal reckoning happening, particularly in the U.K.”

“I think that we’ve … put ourselves in a situation where that sort of propaganda will continue to mount,” he asserted. “We just saw China enter Taiwanese airspace again on Sunday with 19 aircraft. I think they’re going to keep testing us, and the situation in Afghanistan does not help that.”

“On a more regional level, what’s happened in Afghanistan is a vacuum has been created,” Hagerty remarked. “And that vacuum is going to draw jihadists from around the world. They’re declaring victory against America.”

He told Bloomberg that there’s a concern “that Afghanistan becomes the world’s greatest arms bazaar where our adversaries from around the globe will be able to go in to secure American military equipment that they can reverse engineer, that they can use, that they can modify.”

According to Hagerty, our allies feel that Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was a political calculation ahead of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 instead of an assessment made by condition on the ground.

“What is really frustrating, then, on top of that is they can see, just as we do, the efforts the Biden administration takes to spin it, to cast blame in other places, to not just step up, own it and fix it,” Hagerty commented.

“Each of those countries has their own domestic political concerns, economic concerns, national security concerns, and they are deeply concerned that the destabilization of Afghanistan is going to result in a new wave and a new flood of refugees that they’re not, they’re not positioned to handle,” he remarked.

Hagerty stated that the humanitarian crisis could potentially destabilize countries.

“What they implied was that we make the decisions, and they’ve got to foot the bill for it,” he surmised. “We make a decision to pull out in a disorderly manner, we allow the nation to collapse and they’re the ones that are going to suffer the brunt of the consequences.”

There is also widespread fear and exasperation at home in the United States on both sides of the political aisle over Biden’s dealings with the Taliban and what could potentially be a new hostage crisis due to the number of Americans left behind enemy lines in Afghanistan after the withdrawal.

“I have been deeply frustrated, even furious, at our government’s delay and inaction. There will be plenty of time to seek accountability for the inexcusable bureaucratic red tape that stranded so many of our Afghan allies,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said Monday concerning the planes with Americans on their passenger manifests stranded in Afghanistan.

“I expect the White House and State Department to do everything in their power – absolutely everything – to make this happen,” Blumenthal declared. “These are Americans … and Afghans who risked everything for our country. We cannot leave them behind.”

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