Trump to Decide on America’s Longest War

August 3, 2017

Geopolitical Monitor

Donald_Trump, cc Flickr Gage Skidmore, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

 

Summary

The Afghan conflict helped to define the two presidents before Donald Trump, and not in a good way. The war has carried a heavy cost in blood and treasure since 2001, and now in 2017 there is very little to show for it. Kabul is politically dysfunctional, the Taliban is advancing on multiple fronts, and the opium crop continues to fund terrorist and criminal networks around the world.

In crafting a policy response to this worsening outlook, President Trump was offered the conventional wisdom by his military advisors: increase US troop levels in Afghanistan by at least 5,000. Apparently he has rejected the advice. For Trump, the old methods are simply not working. The United States has now spent an estimated $718 billion on a war that it’s not only losing, but losing badly.

President Trump might want to shake up a failing policy, but what options does he have this late in the game?

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