Afghanistan

Trump Announces… Basically Nothing

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

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.

  • Christopher Foxx

    Trump doesn’t really care about our policy in Afghanistan aside from how it makes him look.

    Trump doesn’t really care about ___________ aside from how it makes him look.

    Fill in the blank with ANYTHING.

  • muselet

    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.

    That may be the scariest paragraph in the English language not written by Stephen King.

    –alopecia

  • 1933john

    Trump seems to be still hearing voices coming
    from that festering chub salami in his jock.

  • ninjaf

    Was it just me, or did he actually look and sound bored himself several times during the speech?

    • Nefercat

      No, it isn’t just you and yes he did seem bored. He read his never before seen by him speech with all the grace of a computerized phone menu. The pauses and inflections were not where they would be if spoken by someone actually saying what they thought.

      The words ambled by one – at – a – time – on – the – teleprompter and that is how he read them. So presidential!

      • ninjaf

        I found myself kind of zoning out to come back and realize, “Oh, he was zoning out, too. Guess I can’t feel too badly when the person speaking isn’t even engaged in what he is saying.” Too bad what he was talking about what sending more troops into harm’s way.

  • Beyond the offensive nature of feeding the perpetual war machine, we also have a wee little problem going into Afghanistan that we didn’t before. As we’ve drawn down our troops, Russia has been arming the Taliban. Any and all efforts to increase our presence in Afghanistan will meet defeat (especially since sending 4,000 really means only sending 800 trigger folks and the rest being logistics and support). Which means we will end up sending more and more people, with a continuing loss of life and treasure. And if this sounds familiar to you, it should. We’ll be in precisely the same situation that Russia was in back in the late 70’s and early 80’s where Russian troops were increasingly involved there and we were aggressively arming the Taliban to fight them (see the movie, Charlie Wilson’s War for an entertaining primer). I’m betting Putin has been waiting for decades to get us back for that and I know he can’t wait for us to step into the lovely little trap he’s set for us.

    Of course, Trump is too stupid and ignorant of history to understand any of this. All he knows is it will make Russia happy, it will feed the war machine (which will make American oligarchs and Russian back channelers like Erik Prince happy), and it will feed his rabid base because in their childish worldview looking tough is the same as being tough (and who gives a fuck about smart, multi-dimensional chess diplomacy–that’s not bumper sticker worthy goshdarnit). And he’s dumb enough to think we can just take their resources because WTF do lawyers know about war crimes! Amiright?

    Watching this idiot ruin this country in a matter of months while the MSM is so ready to fellate him over the smallest successes is incredibly disheartening.

  • Michael B. Conway

    Trump’s secret plan is torture.

    • Badgerite

      Who? Us or ISIS? Hard to tell.

      • All of his enemies apparently.

        • Nefercat

          So us and ISIS.

  • David Greenberg

    Having set the bar as low as it can possibly be set, this steaming turd of a speech gets kudos from republicans for being presidential. Of real interest will be how he walks it all back tonight.

  • Badgerite

    I think a Rob Reiner tweet describes it best. “Treading water”. There is no real change or decision here except to not make any real change or decision and perhaps with this guy at the helm that would be best. It’s a holding pattern.
    What kind of an idiot looks at the sun during an eclipse because people have said not to? What is he,,,,3?
    Did he say actually say while doing this……”you’re not the boss of me.”? Or does it just seem like he must have. Because
    it’s that idiot trump. So, of course he did.

  • Tony Lavely

    I also saw Nikki Haley, reported on ABC I believe, says the American people will get no details on whatever it is we do. Sounds like a perfect decision making scenario. Keep everything we’re gonna do quiet, then no matter what happens, we can spin it positively.
    And thanks, JM, for watching so I could sit on my deck and write.

  • Nefercat

    Oh, I think he said plenty.

    His speech had four main goals:
    1) Distract from Russia.
    2) Profit! Somehow! Thar’s minerals in them thar hills.
    3) Paint a picture of a country at war and anyone protesting him in any way is protesting our “beautiful brothers and sisters” in arms in time of war! and not doing their part to unify and bring back the loooove blah blah blah, so let’s lock them all up.
    4) Try to clean up his disastrous Charlottesville fuckup by yammering on and on about loooooove and peace and harmony and teaching the world to sing in a speech given to a bunch of servicepeople and generals. (?)

    5) Unintentional goal: Manage to piss off everyone who might conceivably support him in his mystery endeavor. OTOH, judging from the speech, he could potentially bring India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan together as one in opposition to his insulting ugly American fuck your sovereignty oh and you owe me and you need to obey me or else attitude toward all three of them.

    All his blather about blood and treasure and unity and loooove and how he absolutely won’t tolerate bigotry and hate and we all had to loooove our brethren and sistren in the Armed Forces (and not loving trump is the same as not loving our AF servicepeople), was just plain creepy and puke-inducing, especially coming from that gaseous cowardly draft-dodger. Was he including loser POW John McCain in his billowing poofy clouds of loooove? Yecch.

    Oh yeah, and the military is all empowered and autonomous and whatnot so if we don’t win, blame them! The buck doesn’t stop with the commander-in-chief!

    • JMAshby

      Yes.

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    • “Profit! Somehow! Thar’s minerals in them thar hills.”
      Does anyone else remember the Bush Admin talking about Afghanistan and lithium? No seems to.

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    What’s going to be really fun is watching him blame this on Obama and Clinton.

    Nevermind that it was started by a Republican stampeding the Democrats post-9/11 with “with us or against us” and “soft of t’rrism.” Somehow, this is going to be our fault.

    • muselet

      He already did blame Barack Obama, yesterday:

      I also share [the public’s] frustration over a foreign policy that has spent too much time, energy, money, and most importantly, lives trying to rebuild countries in our own image instead of pursuing our security interests above all other considerations.

      […]

      When I became president, I was given a bad and very complex hand, but I fully knew what I was getting into. Big and intricate problems.

      […]

      A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions.

      […]

      I have already lifted restrictions the previous administration placed on our war fighters that prevented the secretary of defense and our commanders in the field from fully and swiftly waging battle against the enemy.

      Shorter Donald Trump: The Black Guy screwed it up!

      Quelle surprise.

      –alopecia