politics

Biden’s caution about the limits of U.S. power could launch a debate that many Americans have wanted for decades.

President Joe Biden walks from the podium after speaking at the White House about the end of the war in Afghanistan on Aug. 31, 2021. | AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Opinion by JEFF GREENFIELD

08/31/2021 06:30 PM EDT

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Jeff Greenfield is a five-time Emmy-winning network television analyst and author.

They were words no president has ever spoken, at least not since the Cold War began three-quarters of a century ago.

They spoke not of global responsibility nor the “indispensable” role of the United States, but of what this richest and most powerful nation could and should not do, and the astonishing financial and human cost of trying — and failing.

We are, President Joe Biden said, “ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries … trying to create a democratic, cohesive and united Afghanistan — something that has never been done over centuries in Afghanistan history.”

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