Although in rhetoric Trump appears to differ somewhat from his predecessor regarding his positions on foreign policy, he has already begun continuing some of Barack Obama’s most disastrous policies. In his first weekend after the inauguration, the military pounded Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, with drone strikes. Now, it has been reported that Trump is considering sending more troops to Afghanistan, a failed strategy that continuously plagued the Obama administration.
President Trump reportedly told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani he would consider the possibility of sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in a December phone call.
“President- elect Donald J. Trump said he would certainly continue to support Afghanistan security forces and will consider a proposal for more troops after an assessment,” an Afghan official told the Wall Street Journal.
When Obama was campaigning for office, the issue of Afghanistan seemed to pass under the election campaign radar as the focus was more on his opposition towards war in Iraq. Similarly, Donald Trump talked openly about bombing ISIS but rarely mentioned the war in Afghanistan during his election campaign.
However, shortly before taking office, Trump told the Times of London:
“I just looked at Afghanistan and you look at the Taliban – and you take a look at every, every year it’s more, more, more, you know they have the different colours – and you say, you know – what’s going on?”
Eloquently put, as usual. He also stated that Afghanistan is “not going well.”
In 2015, the U.S. warned Russia that if Russia intervened in Syria they would be faced with a cold-war Afghanistan-style quagmire. However, the U.S. appears to have an Afghanistan quagmire of its own. The U.S. has been officially stationed in Afghanistan since 2001, and there are currently 9,000 troops still stationed there to provide support to Afghan forces who are, let’s face it, quite incompetent.Barely even a month into his presidency, Barack Obama approved a significant troop increase of at least 8,000 marines, as well as 4,000 additional Army troops. Another 5,000 troops were to be deployed at a later date. By November of that year, Obama had announced he was sending over 30,000 more troops to the war-stricken nation, highlighting a major escalation in the war.
Although Obama originally indicated he would wind down the war, Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick reported in their book, “The Untold History of the United States” that at a national security meeting Obama once told his advisors “I want to take off the table that we’re leaving Afghanistan.” By 2014, he had announced that the longest war in the history of the United States would last an additional two-and-a-half years.
Trump is now expected to take these past mistakes and escalate this war even further in efforts to create an Afghan surge of his own.
This time, his troops will make Afghanistan great again. Maybe they’ll build a wall or something. It’ll be terrific.