Despite the Chinese government's celebratory rhetoric about how the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan exemplifies its decline as a global power, Beijing may not actually be relishing the departure, The Wall Street Journal reports.
"The chaotic and sudden withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan is not good news for China," Ma Xiaolin, an international relations scholar at Zhejiang International Studies University in Hangzhou, China, told the Journal. He explained that the U.S. is still more advanced when it comes to technology, manufacturing, and military power, and said "China is not ready to replace the U.S. in the region."
As the Journal notes, Afghanistan shares a border with China, meaning Beijing is more suspectible to consequences from the fallout of the American exit and the subsequent Taliban rule than Washington is, whether that be in the form of refugee flows, terrorism, or the drug trade. Plus, the U.S. will now likely have "more resources to put toward its strategic rivalry with China," the Journal writes. The same goes for Russia.
"Serious people in Moscow understand that the American military machine and all the components of America's global superiority are not going anywhere, and that the whole idea of no longer being involved in this 'forever war' was a correct one," Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center, told the Journal. "Yes, the execution was monstrous, but the desire to focus resources on priority areas, especially East Asia and China, is causing here a certain unease, a disquiet." Read more at The Wall Street Journal.