Whoomp

 

The next big test of the Trump presidency is sneaking up on him. As I predicted, the domestic challenges that this administration has been dealing with will pale in comparison to international events where there is the very real possibility of escalation.

Trump’s generals told him and Congress that we are losing the war in Afghanistan. Trump agreed to send 4000 more troops into the area. What is Trump’s strategy? It appears that it is to do whatever the Pentagon asks him to do. These are the same generals that he criticized during his campaign about their strategies in the Middle East.

In past administrations, the State Department served as a balance to the Pentagon regarding policy and strategy. Trump and Tillerson have abandoned that role in their vision of a much smaller State Department. Those civilian State Department foreign policy experts no longer exist.

Gen. Mattis told the Senate that “Reconciliation” was the goal in Afghanistan. He was unable to articulate a strategy to accomplish that goal. The only apparent strategy is a response to what the Mattis described as a “Taliban surge”.

Trump is also expanding the war in Syria. The first step was firing missiles in retaliation for Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Yesterday, US forces shot down a Syrian jet that was bombing US-backed fighters near Tabqah. The US military said that they notified the Russians that they were planning to target this airplane using a communications system that was setup during the Obama administration. Russia denied receiving the message. Russia claimed they were going to shut that system down after Trump’s missile attack. They now say they are no longer going to accept these messages in the future. Instead Russia warned that US aircraft will be treated as targets going forward.

Trump has promised closer ties with Russia in a coordinated effort to fight ISIS.

That hasn’t happened.

Instead we have the same escalation in Syria that experts warned of when Trump talked about a military solution to the Syrian conflict.

That leaves us with a couple of questions.

  1. How will Trump respond when the additional troops sent to Afghanistan don’t have the desired effect and his efforts are criticized?
  2. How will Trump respond when Syria or Russia shoots down one of our aircraft in Syria?

The honest answer is that we don’t know.

That is just another problem with this administration. If the strategy of having no strategy actually works, we can all be grateful. If, on the other hand, it puts our military in a situation where they can’t win and introduces the threat of escalation into a much bigger conflict – is the risk worth the reward?

The Trump administration now owns both the conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria. They seem to have abandoned the Obama strategies of winding down the Afghanistan war and containing ISIS.  They replaced those strategies with short-term Pentagon-lead tactics. History tells us that tactics are particularly ineffective in resolving asymmetrical conflicts. Ultimately strategy and diplomacy are required because as Admiral James Stavridis famously said, “You can’t kill your way to success in a counter insurgency effort.”

The only remaining question is when will Trump supporters hold Trump and his administration accountable for the failure to have a coherent foreign policy?

2 Responses to “Whoomp”

  1. Keith says:

    YS)The only remaining question is when will Trump supporters hold Trump and his administration accountable for the failure to have a coherent foreign policy?

    MR) how would we do that? In the same way you held president Obama for low job growth over the course of his two terms? Or to how he spent his stimulus money? Or for a healthcare plan that is failing apart?

    After 5 months???

    Still no collusion….

    Republicans won another election

    Dems at forming a circular firing squad

    Dem leadership is still white and approaching their 80’s

    Dems underlings are saying Dems have zero message

    Dems underlings are suggesting Americas aren’t as concerned a dem leadership seems to be in Russian collusion and transgender bathrooms.

    Republicans are still a mess.

    Jeff, Just join me in this and I’ll quite pointing out your unbalanced, blinded, view on politics.

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    MR) how would we do that? In the same way you held president Obama for low job growth over the course of his two terms? Or to how he spent his stimulus money? Or for a healthcare plan that is failing apart?

    Trump promised to stay out of Syria and Afghanistan. He promised to wipe out ISIS. He has done either with barely a whimper from the Republican faithful. Instead he is committing troops in both places with no clear strategy to accomplish anything. North Korea is getting closer every day to being able to threaten US territories with a nuclear weapon. Trump failed to get China’s help. What is is plan now? Holding him accountable means that you refuse to vote for those that support him and ultimately refuse to vote for him if he happens to make it to 2020. But you knew that already and instead want to make this a conversation about Obama.

    Job Growth
    We are at historic lows in unemployment as a result of Obama’s economic plans. Trump has promised 3% economic growth and millions of new jobs. Please tell me what he has accomplished so far to make that happen.

    Stimulus Money
    We’ve talked about this before. I posted the data to support the claim that stimulus money accomplished its goal. It prevented the recession from becoming a recession. Republicans promised economic calamity. It never happened. Instead everything got paid back and the Treasury actually made money. We DID hold Obama accountable – he won a second term.

    Healthcare falling apart
    Please document your claim that healthcare is falling apart. It is wishful thinking on those in the right-wing bubble. What is falling apart are Republican attempts to replace it. Obamacare accomplished it’s goals. It slowed the rate of growth in healthcare costs. It reduced the number of uninsured to historic lows. It reduced the deficit.

    After 5 months???

    Still no collusion….

    Republicans won another election

    The investigations aren’t over. As I’ve said before, Trump won’t get impeached because of collusion. He will get impeached because he loses control of the House in 2018 and Mueller turns up a bunch of other distasteful stuff that finally provide enough political cover for a bill of impeachment on obstruction of justice in the House.

    Dems at forming a circular firing squad

    Dem leadership is still white and approaching their 80’s

    Dems underlings are saying Dems have zero message

    Dems underlings are suggesting Americas aren’t as concerned a dem leadership seems to be in Russian collusion and transgender bathrooms.

    This is how Dem’s get things done. Just as young people saw opportunity in the Tea Party revolution, they now see opportunity in the resurgent Democratic resistance. Ossoff is a perfect example. He is a smart young guy who didn’t even live in the district, never held any elected office of any significance, and nearly pulled off a huge upset. He caught lightening in a bottle because Democrats around the country supported in election in true Bernie fashion. Ignore it at your peril. This wave will easily carry us through to 2018. Democrats don’t need any more coherent message that the Tea Party did in 2010. They are upset with Trump and want an opportunity vote against him.

    Republicans are still a mess.

    Jeff, Just join me in this and I’ll quite pointing out your unbalanced, blinded, view on politics.

    Join you in what?

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