- The Washington Times
Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said President Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan has thrust the U.S. into a “clash of civilizations” where “the bad guys think the good guys lack the will to win.”

The former Trump official and possible 2024 presidential candidate offered the remarks in a Tuesday address as part of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library’s “A Time For Choosing Speaker Series.”

“America is once again in a life-or-death struggle,” Mrs. Haley said.

“Islamic terrorists. Iran. Russia. Communist China. They all want to harm America,” she said. “They all want to drive freedom from the earth. And they all increasingly have the capacity and the will to attempt to do it.”

Mrs. Haley said the rebalance of power is directly attributable to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which “has every one of them thinking America’s era has ended and theirs has arrived.”

“The Taliban victory in Afghanistan is a disgrace. It leaves America weaker in the world and less safe at home,” she said.

Mrs. Haley’s remarks echo those of many Republicans who remain critical of President Biden’s time-based withdrawal as a political calculation, compared to former President Donald Trump’s conditions-based withdrawal plan.

Her address Tuesday follows congressional testimony from a series of Biden administration officials — Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley, and U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie.

Last week, Gen. Milley and Gen. McKenzie revealed in back-to-back hearings before the House and Senate Armed Services committees that they opposed the full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan under Mr. Biden, seemingly contradicting the president’s previous comments on the Pentagon’s advice leading up the withdrawal.

“Then Joe Biden pulled everything out with no conditions,” Mrs. Haley said. “Our worst fears were realized within days. Everyone saw it coming, except the president, who promised it would never happen.”

“Where I come from, that’s a fireable offense,” she said.

Mrs. Haley said the consequences reverberate far beyond Afghanistan.

“Our enemies have always hoped this day would come,” she said. “They know from history that when America retreats, freedom falters.”
But her scathing remarks were not reserved just for Mr. Biden. She aimed a “plague of self-doubt” which she says is “the bedrock belief of the American left.”

The former South Carolina governor derided the “woke” culture which she said has “captured the school classroom, the corporate boardroom, the media green room, and the backrooms of government.”

“The most urgent mission of our time is to stop our national self-loathing and to regain our courage and renew our convictions,” she said, and called on Republicans to uphold the “moral mandate to make America freer, fairer and better.”

The speaker series, which the Reagan Foundation launched in April, prompts leading Republicans to speak on the future of the party which remains in Mr. Trump’s grip.

Other speakers in the series are former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Some have speculated that Mrs. Haley may run in the 2024 presidential election, in Mr. Trump is expected to run. She has stated previously that she would coordinate with Mr. Trump, who she says “has a strong legacy,” before making a formal bid on the Republican ticket.

Still, the Republican vision she laid out Tuesday is one in which she has a seat at the table.

“We have no higher calling as a people,” she said. “Together with you, I pledge to answer that call, and inspire our country once again.”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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