WASHINGTON—Characterizing the disaster left behind after a 20-year military intervention as completely indicative of what America stands for, critics warned Tuesday that the withdrawal from Afghanistan paints an entirely accurate picture of the U.S. government. “The collapse of a nation following its occupation by the United States sends the international community a message that we’re a big powerful country that goes around the world blundering into lengthy imperial misadventures,” said Douglas Reisenthaler of the nonpartisan Institute for Federal Policy, one of many detractors who argued that by exiting Afghanistan, the U.S. military was giving the completely spot-on impression that America invades foreign countries on dubious grounds, enters aimless, prolonged conflagrations that it refuses to leave out of pride, and then retreats after a humiliating defeat. “And while that’s absolutely true, it’s poor strategy to continually reinforce that image, giving our allies and adversaries an emblematic representation of what the foreign policy establishment in Washington has been advocating for decades. Every time we act in line with what we actually stand for, the United States loses a little more prestige.” At press time, supporters of the withdrawal were praising America for being consistent with its values by completely bungling the conflict.
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