Pres Trump was strong in tone but short on specifics in his address on Afghanistan. We have 4 takeaways from his speech.
1. A shift from a time approach to a conditions approach. Key to this is his dictate that there will be no announcement of dates, of movement of troops, or of impending actions.
2. There will be an integration of diplomatic, economic, and military strategy with an aim to support building a stronger, and self-sufficient Afghanistan.
3. A change in the approach to Pakistan, in which that country must choose whether to partner with us against ISIS and other terrorist organizations, or to continue sheltering them.
4. We will partner with India to help stabilize the region economically and politically.
My response: his first point removes any semblance of a time-table to our involvement in Afghanistan. There is no end except as undefined “conditions” allow.
Second, Trump has largely dismantled our Diplomatic Corp, so integrating diplomatic, economic, and military approaches is problematic. In whom, and under the jurisdiction of what agencies does he picture this taking place?
And finally, he announced a change from the Pakistan partnership we have experienced, to an India based approach. This is problematic due to the long-standing hostility between those two nations (both of which are nuclear powers), and in that India is not a Muslim country. Rather than stabilizing the region, this approach may, very well, further destabilize it.
I will continue to watch as events unfold.
Please be sure to comment with your own observations.
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