Ukraine is the hot topic right now, but here's a reminder of why Russia and China feel so emboldened on the world stage right now. A Taliban Training video featuring a lot of American merchandise.
A weakened and degraded American military is awful for the state of the entire world, and we can explain it to everyone in one simple word. Deterrence. Deterrence is defined as The action of discouraging an action or event through instilling doubt or fear of the consequences. American military might spread around the world is an active deterrent for bad faith actors. Two of the largest bad faith actors in the world at the moment are China and Russia. After the fall of Afghanistan, American hegemony took a massive hit, and we looked incredibly weak on the world stage.
This first spurred China on to begin threatening a reunification with Taiwan. China however, is far more conservative in their warfighting and expansion efforts. They prefer a total war approach which enables them to rot out a country from the inside economically over decades while they wait to put themselves in a more powerful position. Initially, after the collapse of Afghanistan they thought that it was their time to move. That crisis was barely averted, but not entirely eliminated. China is still waiting on their moment to strike.
Russia on the other hand is a country that believes might makes right in all facets of life. For the past eight years they have been supporting Separatist factions in Ukraine, forcing the Ukrainian military to fight against very well funded and trained separatist fighters backed with Russian weapon systems and vehicles. It took them a bit longer to jockey for position and prepare, but today we are seeing the results of this weakness.
Russia and China both know that with the current political administration in the United States focused on gaining as much power as possible for themselves and their side of the political aisle, America is weakened. This was proven with the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan going entirely unpunished through the ranks of the U.S. Military, because the Biden administration needs those current leaders in power to maintain their culture war on Twitter. While we're distracted with that, we forgot two key things about the global stage of politics.
Military hegemony and absolute deterrence are the only two things that have prevented a Third World War from erupting. When we blinked in Afghanistan, we gave Russia and China all the permission they needed to start their own expansionist activities to establish their own military and economic hegemony.
All of that said, I'm just some dude on a blog, I'll prove that to you by not proof-reading my work. You probably didn't read this far down anyways. The video is definitely a display of our failures in Afghanistan however, as you can guarantee the pilots of those helicopters were trained in the United States, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of those guys sliding down the fast ropes were once Afghan Commandos who turned their backs on Afghanistan.