America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan put vulnerable democracies around the globe at severe risk. Allies and partners who stood beside us in our fight now question our nation’s commitment to those difficult tasks. Nations who routinely balance the challenges of building their democracies against the seeming ease of aligning with autocrats now question the strength and validity of American support in that endeavor. Worse, opportunistic adversaries are plotting and calculating the ways they can undermine American efforts and capitalize on perceived weakness in our commitment and resolve.
Just a couple short months after America’s exit from Afghanistan, we can already see the geostrategic effects in the aggression of Russian President Vladimir Putin against the vulnerable country of Ukraine.