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Jen Psaki is Not Having These Comparisons on Biden's Foreign Policy Catastrophes

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Russia is reportedly all the closer to invading Ukraine. Even Ukraine, where President Volodymyr Zelensky has tried to temper fears and warn of overreactions from the United States, is on edge. A Fox News update cited a U.S. official in pointing out that the "Ukrainian military is on edge tonight" and that the official had never heard them "more stressed." It's hard to ignore the comparisons between Ukraine and Afghanistan, especially when the State Department has warned Americans to leave and could leave them behind considering there are admittedly no guaranteed rescue efforts. Another potential foreign policy catastrophe looks to be before the Biden administration's doorstep just six months after the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is having none of the comparisons, though. 

During Friday's press briefing, after National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had just given the update about Ukraine, Pskai took a question about such comparisons. 

Not only did she reject the comparison, saying Ukraine "is entirely different because we are not ending a 20-year war, we are trying to prevent war here," but she appeared to frame Biden's handling of Afghanistan as a good thing, while throwing previous presidents under the bus for how "many of [Biden's] predecessors failed to take exactly that step" of ending the war. 

"We knew it would be complicated.  We knew it would be challenging," Psaki claimed, also adding that Biden "had the courage to get our troops out of there and end a 20-year war."

Not many would refer to the way Biden handled the withdrawal as having to do with "courage." While a majority of Americans felt it was time to leave Afghanistan, a majority also gave the president low marks for how he handled the task. Not even his base thought he handled it well, as polls showed. 

Psaki also went with the narrative of how Biden "made the decision to end a 20-year war" when taking a question about how the president is "rejecting" a report from the U.S. Army about his failures in Afghanistan.

Ending America's longest war, which Psaki also referred to as a "failed enterprise," is a narrative the Biden administration and Biden himself have frequently touted.

During an address last year about Afghanistan, Biden also offered that after four presidential administrations had dealt with a war there, he would not put it on a fifth. This administration has handled it so catastrophically, however, that it's possible future presidents may have to do something about that. 

Shortly after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, a Quinnipiac poll revealed that by 62-28 percent, a majority of U.S. adults believe that "American troops will have to return to Afghanistan to fight terrorism." 

In a report from Caitlin McFall, Fox News also noted that the White House will not reveal how many Americans are actually in Ukraine. Meanwhile, as Matt covered last week, it appears that there were about 9,000 Americans left behind in Afghanistan.

As I covered earlier, Biden is going to Camp David this weekend, where he will call Vladimir Putin on Saturday. He will be there to examine Supreme Court nominees. The White House has doubled down on will be limited to a Black woman. Also during the press conference, Psaki took a question about the yet-to-be-announced nominee, and whether or not the timing will be affected. 

Psaki noted that "it could be as early as next week," but that she "would not echo reporting that it is definitely next week" when it comes to the president meeting nominees. 

Biden's decision and an announcement on that decision will be coming "in the next few weeks," with Psaki making clear "that has not been changed by whatever decision President Putin makes."


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