On August 11 of 1972, rather quietly amid the general uproar of the Vietnam War, superpower diplomacy and domestic protests, the United States removed its last ground combat unit from Vietnam.
It was some two and a half years before the tragic fall of Saigon and some people, though probably not Richard Nixon, believed it was clever to have a “decent interval” before the consequences of “bugging out” became clear.
But you can’t preserve credibility by ditching an ally when you think no one is looking.
They are looking, and the turmoil in the world in the late 1970s should give pause to anyone who figures the US and NATO can quietly sneak out of Iraq or Afghanistan and have nobody notice.
If friends do not trust you and enemies do not fear you, you’re in a world of hurt.