Eliot Cohen dredges up a very tired argument in response to the announcement that U.S. forces will withdraw from Afghanistan before September 11 of this year: But strategic freedom will come at the cost of strategic reputation. It is not possible simply to walk away from a war one has been committed to and pay no penalty, even if the penalty is less than the cost of continuing to fight. It is perhaps not entirely coincidental that the Great Power that knows Afghanistan best from its own experience, Russia, is now testing Western resolve by mobilizing forces on the Ukrainian frontier. The price of an Afghan exit, in other words, may be the need to show military determination in other hot spots in Eastern Europe or the Far East.
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