FDD | Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker: August
Edited by David Adesnik and John Hardie
Welcome back to the Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker. Once a month, we ask FDD’s experts and scholars to assess the administration’s foreign policy. They provide trendlines of very positive, positive, neutral, negative, or very negative for the areas they watch.
Just hours before this tracker’s completion, news broke that a U.S. drone strike had killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of al-Qaeda since the death of Osama bin Laden. The strike brought a measure of justice to the terrorist responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans. President Joe Biden reported from the White House that Zawahiri “had moved to downtown Kabul to reunite with members of his immediate family.” Zawahiri’s presence in the Afghan capital reflects the enduring strength of the Taliban relationship with al-Qaeda. Yet less than a year ago, Biden defended his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan by claiming al-Qaeda was “gone,” so “[w]hat interest do we have in Afghanistan at this point?” The Trump and Obama administrations also sought to obscure the relationship between the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Perhaps this fiction at the heart of U.S. counterterrorism policy will finally die along with Zawahiri.