As China, Russia, Iran and others rise to the occasion, the ascent of the Taliban may signal a post-American world order. The US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the rapid advance of the Taliban are not necessarily a simple cause and effect. The US had very few troops in Afghanistan, and they weren’t doing much fighting for years. The Taliban appear to have planned a massive offensive, unlike anything seen in the past, likely with foreign intelligence and other support, after having sent delegations to Russia, China, Iran, Qatar and Pakistan. This means that what is happening has unforeseen consequences. There are many unanswered questions. The New York Times claims that “few will gang up on the U.S. for finally stopping a failed enterprise.” But in the longer term, “the notion that you cannot count on the Americans will strike deeper roots because of Afghanistan.’’ This may underpin some European reactions, according to the article. What is more perplexing is that other NATO members, including European countries, also withdrew from Afghanistan and yet, oddly, this doesn’t erode confidence in whether anyone can count on NATO or European countries.