Psaki struggles to name any Biden foreign policy achievements in first year

President Biden has been heavily criticised for the way he has handled several foreign policy flashpoints throughout the year

White House press secretary Jen Psaki seemed unable to name President Joe Biden’s biggest foreign Policy success as commander-in-chief during a recent briefing.

It’s been a tumultuous year for the Biden administration, with its handling of the US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan dominating the headlines back in September – as well as attracting widespread condemnation from allies.

There have been several other setbacks since then, including a “clumsy” defence deal that strained Franco-American relations, further Russian interference in Ukraine, and bad PR in the form of President Biden’s apparent “nap” at the recent COP26 climate summit.

Therefore, as the Daily Mail noted, Ms Psaki struggled to provide a clear answer when quizzed over the administration’s biggest foreign policy achievement so far.

“What does the administration consider your biggest achievement in foreign policy in this first year? And also what lessons have you learned from what is arguably the biggest failure which is Afghanistan,” she was asked by Patsy Widakuswara, a reporter from Voice of America.

“You know, this is a great question,” the press secretary responded. “I want to be thoughtful about it. I want to talk to the president about it. And I’m happy to do that.”

The hesitant answer was seized upon by the Republican National Committee, which shared the clip on Twitter via its official account. The US government's handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal was seized upon by conservatives, even though former President Trump had locked in the troop-withdrawal deadline during his term.

The rushed nature of it saw Taliban troops sweep through the land-locked country with ease, culminating in the fall of the capital city, Kabul. In the days that would follow, 13 US service members were killed in a suicide bomb attack, with a further 10 Afghan civilians killed by an American drone strike.

While the responsibility of the botched withdrawal doesn't lie squarely at the feet of the Biden administration, many critics did condemn the lack of a cohesive withdrawal plan – one that might have saved lives.

Biden

“How embarrassing,” wrote international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky in response to Ms Psaki’s answer.

Criticism has also been levelled at Mr Biden for his perceived failure to address the deepening Ukraine crisis. With Russian troops now amassing at the border, in a show of force from President Vladimir Putin, pressure is mounting on the White House to respond in kind.

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