by Matt Nizich

Trump Backs a Surge Into Afghanistan He’s Unfit to Lead
August 22, 2017
The Atlantic’s, Conor Friedersdorf argues that President Trump’s declaration earlier this week that he will commit more soldiers to Afghanistan is doomed to fail, not only strategically, but because President Trump has publicly stated that the war in Afghanistan is an “idiotic waste” and has repeated his statements multiple times via social media throughout the years. Trump has shown a lack of commitment to steady leadership and an inability to rally Americans around a cause that requires as much unwavering devotion and effort as America’s longest running war.

State Dept. Official Who Quit in 2009 over U.S. War in Afghanistan Speaks Out on Trump’s Troop Surge
August 22, 2017
Matthew Hoh, a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy, argues that the U.S will never know peace at home until we are at peace abroad, and that this latest troop surge is a reflection of the military men that Trump has surrounded himself with, and their belief in war as a way of life for Americans. He believes that there was no change in direction from our current strategy for Afghanistan, merely a “hardening of policy” and a noted decrease in future transparency and desire for a political solution as opposed to a military one. Hoh sees General Kelly and Mattis as “modern day legionnaires” who are determined to solve America’s foreign policy issues with sheer force of violence and will.

‘It’s a coup d’etat’: Antiwar conservatives decry Trump’s Afghanistan surge
August 22, 2017
Conservatives opposed to foreign military involvement feel betrayed following the reversal of President Trump’s anti-Afghanistan war rhetoric. Parts of President Trump’s base feel that his commitment and resolve is being called into question given his inability to stick to one policy, and others fear for what could be a series of secret troop escalations down the road.

As Trump Rolls Out War Plan, Taliban Are Gaining
August 21, 2017
In Afghanistan, casualties and armed clashes have risen to their highest of the war – and the Taliban has gained the most territory it has controlled since the U.S originally ousted them in 2001. Despite this, the U.S will be sending a new surge of troops who will likely serve as trainers and advisors to the Afghani military. The Afghani government is a “coalition of political enemies” and the insurgents are “at the gate of at least a half dozen provincial capitals”. According to some Afghan officials – the Taliban is gaining ground, the government is in retreat, and the latest troop surge doesn’t seem that it will have any lasting impact on this trend.

‘We Are Not Nation-Building Again,’ Trump Says While Unveiling Afghanistan Strategy
August 21, 2017
President Trump declared on Monday that he would be approving a troop surge to Afghanistan, and would not be withdrawing from the region to prevent a vacuum for terrorism. He stated that he is frustrated with the war, and believes that a shift in strategy from “a time-based approach to one of condition” as well as one that avoids releasing information on timetables and troop levels. President Trump gave no timetable for when we might expect the war to end.

Trump Outlines New Afghanistan War Strategy With Few Details
August 21, 2017
President Trump unveiled a plan Monday for a new strategy in Afghanistan, but declined to offer any specific numbers about troops or how they would be judging success in the war. Trump declared that we would “no longer be nation-building” and would instead be “killing terrorists”. He also specified that the United States would be putting significant pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terrorist sanctuaries. Some have praised Trump’s doing away with “arbitrary” withdrawal deadlines, but others have criticized his idea that they could get the Taliban to the negotiating table despite failures over the last 16 years at the exact same ploy.

What’s the Point of Donald Trump’s Afghan Surge?
May 17, 2017
Stephen Walt, Professor of International Affairs at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, argues that President Trump’s troop surge strategy is doomed to fail, simply because it is more of the same strategy that administrations have pursed for the last 16 years. Before committing to a troop surge, President Trump and his cabinet need to identify what the strategic purpose is behind it, what to do about the Taliban’s cross-border sanctuaries, how to better motivate and train local allies, what the definition for victory is, and whether this is simply stalling an eventual defeat.