Citing administration sources, Reuters reported yesterday afternoon that Trump had decided to send more Troops to Afghanistan rather than pull out of the longest war in our nation's history.
That appears to be the case and we will send more troops to Afghanistan in the near future, but if you watched Trump's speech last night you'd hardly know it.
I'll save you the trouble of watching and tell you that he didn't say anything of significance or consequence, with the exception of an appeal to Indian intervention at the possible expense of Pakistani relations.
In so many words, he said nothing. He made no specific announcements and indicated no shifts in policy or even a new set of goals. And in hindsight, when I quipped that anything he announces will end in failure because everything he announces ends in failure, I should have anticipated that he may announce nothing to avoid the appearance of failure.
According to the Washington Post, which spoke to over a dozen sources in the regime, Trump doesn't really care about our policy in Afghanistan aside from how it makes him look.
Last month, as Trump mulled over a new strategy in a 16-year conflict that bedeviled his predecessors, he groused that sending additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan could have a negligible impact. He threatened to fire the current commander there. He flirted with privatizing the military effort. He even considered pulling out. Declaring victory seemed all but impossible.
Five weeks later, at a Camp David summit, the commander in chief arrived at his decision. A president obsessed with winning has now settled on simply trying not to lose. [...]
Trump’s private deliberations — detailed in interviews with more than a dozen senior administration officials and outside allies — revealed a president unattached to any particular foreign-policy doctrine, but willing to be persuaded as long as he could be seen as a strong and decisive leader.
If you've concluded that victory may be impossible, but you don't want to be responsible for what happens if you pull out, announcing nothing is probably the safest route.
If that's really how this transpired, it would necessarily make one question what price we're going to pay to cushion Trump's personal brand and ego.
As for how Trump was ultimately persuaded, the Post also reported that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster showed Trump photos of Afghan women wearing mini-skirts in the 1970s.