(Deutsche Welle) In the first major policy address on Afghanistan during his presidency Donald Trump said that he was ready to send more US troops to the country. Here are five takeaways from President Trump's speech.
The most significant aspect of President Trump's speech on Afghanistan was that it marked a U-turn in the president's thinking on the US involvement in the war in Afghanistan. At the outset of his remarks Trump said that he usually trusts his instincts, and that his instinct on Afghanistan was to get out. […]
"For a major policy address, the speech was painfully short of any real specifics about American strategy or end goals in Afghanistan," said Jason Lyall, a political scientist at Yale University with a focus on Afghanistan who also serves as director of Yale's Political Violence Fieldlab. "We never received any clear criteria for 'success,' nor a sense of what was new in this approach that hasn't been tried before. In that regard, I thought the speech was quite poor."
While Trump focused on India and Pakistan, "there was no mention at all of the growing roles played by Russia and Iran in Afghanistan and, in particular, in supporting the Taliban," said Yale's Lyall. "The war has changed considerably in the past several years; it has widened geographically to bring in other powers besides Pakistan. I don't think the speech reflected this new reality.”
With his Afghanistan address, the president wants to have his cake and eat it too, said Lyall: "On the one hand, it's clear he's following his generals' advice, and so is able to wash his hands of the war in case this effort fails. On the other hand, he has positioned himself to reap the rewards in the unlikely event that this strategy does in fact turn Afghanistan around," he said. "Trump wants to own the war, but only if he wins it. If not, his generals will own the defeat."
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