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22 August 2017


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It's the same speech HRC would have given, except she would have given it six months earlier.

jeff roby

One point struck me. Maybe the one sentence that Trump wrote himself. About a possible legitimization of "elements" of the Taliban, and a political settlement. Whaddya think? Same old same old, or an escape clause?


Change their national language to English for them, and make gender neutral bathrooms mandatory.

The Beaver

This morning:

SECDEF Mattis in Baghdad says he will borrow "a lot" from strategy in Iraq for Afghanistan. Adds he has not yet decided on number of troops.


Peter AU

Nation building as Trump called it was the hedgemon invading, occupying, setting up leadership who's loyalty could be bought, then pulling out. Rather than pulling out, this resulted in the hegemon having to permanently occupy the country to keep the puppet regime in power and loyal, all at cost to the hegemon.

Trump, if he ever had any had notions of pulling out of Afghanistan, was blocked by the generals. Bannon stated plainly that the economic rise of China was the greatest threat to the US. I believe this is also Trump's view. China has interest in Afghanistan as part of its silk road initiative. China is also building an economic corridor through Pakistan to the Indian Ocean.
This is why Pakistan and India feature so heavily in Trump's speech.

Trump is moving from so called nation building to straight out colonialism as part of a larger strategy to slow down or block the economic rise of China.
To reduce the cost of long term occupation of Afghanistan for the US, tried and true methods of empire will be used. US companies to extract resources or whatever other profits can be made in the country, and military garrisons to protect them. Any uprisings by the natives put down by the tried and true method of wiping out a village or two. These conveniently will all be terrorists.

China is awake to what is happening.
""Pakistan was on the front line in the struggle against terrorism and had made great sacrifices and important contributions in the fight against terrorism," Hua Chunying, Spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

"We believe that the international community should fully recognize Pakistan is anti — terrorism," Hua Chunying said."

Dave Schuler

The political problem is that no foreseeable American president will be willing to withdraw from an Afghanistan from which a future terrorist attack will emanate. That eliminates the most obvious wise policy.

The second best is to change from a strategy of counter-insurgency to one of counter-terrorism. That would require a long-term military presence, presumably with a reduced mission.

IMO the real sunk cost here is the Afghan government. The romantic notion that we will see a non-corrupt, competent Afghan government willing and able to defend its own borders in something other than geological time will need to be abandoned.



I think Trump's strategy for Afghanistan will succeed.

The main point for me is that he takes on Pakistan, thereby pushing Pakistan closer to China, and simultanously inviting all nations to make common cause with the US in fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, and that without any bad mouthing reference to Iran, Russia and China.

The endgame I see in Pakistan making a regional deal with their SCO allies Russia and China over Afghanistan sponsored by Iran and blessed by Trump. That deal then extends to some portions of Taliban, who will get in exchange some say in government as a national or regional movement against foreign occupation. Afghanistan is then in the steady hands of the SCO and Iran, and Trump can declare victory over terrorism and pull all US troops out of Afghanistan.

Enemies of Iran and Russia in the US and elsewhere will cry foul - just as they are upset with Iran benefitting from defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq now - but that won't matter anymore.

Peter AU

It is ironic that Trump is making the first move in changing the hegemon into a good old fashioned empire in the country that is known as the graveyard of empires.


7. India is summoned in the speech to help us achieve "victory" in Afghanistan and in helping us control Pakistan's adverse behavior.

This part of the speech indicates a dramatic shift in US policy with respect to India and Pakistan. Hitherto the US has been much more restrained. As you point out there's no love lost between the two countries, and many believe that Pakistan's support of the Taliban is in part a result of India's good relations with Afghanistan.

I'm sure there are people in both countries who would like to see India try to control Pakistan's "adverse behavior", if only because they can profit from it. The only thing that would make this situation worse is if Trump offers to help negotiate a Kashmir settlement.

Popcorn time!


You can't solve Afghanistan w/o solving Pakistan. This requires solving Kashmir. Though Kashmir is predominantly Muslim half of it wound up in India. The Paks say let the people decide. The Indians say we are secular so Muslims and Hindus co-exist. If all Kashmir was in Pakistan, then it would be in an Islamic State under Sharia law and a mass exodus of the Kafir. Another wrinkle now is the growth of Hindu extreme nationlism. Thus the Paks resort to terrorism against India. And India uses leverage in Afghanistan against Pakistan.

It is a checkmated insoluble situation. Thinking outside of the box? An independent sovereign neutral consensual government in Kashmir like Belgium?

Larry Kart

Sadly for all of us, you've hit the bullseye once more.

In a similar vein, a friend sent this to me last night:

'Basically, it's the kind of speech one would deliver to a Foreign Legion and could never get away with to an army of draftees: fight on without end, no strategy except not to lose, no metrics that might be questioned.

'Unfortunately, the "enemy" lives in Afghanistan and we don't. I also noted Trump's "you'll return to a united America" promise (good luck with that) and his criticism of previous administrations (who followed the same strategy he's advocating).'

The Twisted Genius

In short, GTFO.

First cease all but purely defensive operations against the Taliban, Haqqani Network and others whose interests do not extend outside the region. Continue targeting IS and others who plot to strike outside the region. Make it clear to all those in the region that we are doing this.

Let the people and governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan figure it out. If China and Russia think they have answers, wish them luck and get out of their way. Hell, share intelligence with them. The only question is how vigorously we want to go after IS in the region and what forces, if any, we maintain in the region to address this limited region.

Dr. george W. Oprisko

I dunno why Trump did not simply ask McMaster to explain how military orders are drafted.

Draft one ordering the following:

To: Joint Chiefs of Staff



Hand over ceremony scheduled for 1600 Kabul time 25 Aug 2017

Action Items:

1. You will organize a changing of the guard ceremony at Kabul Airport commencing 1600 hrs 25 August 2017, for the purpose of handing all security responsibilities for Afghanistan to the local government.

2. At this ceremony you will declare "Mission Accomplished"

3. At this ceremony you will symbolically lower the stars and stripes while the national flag of afghanistan is raised.
4. At this ceremony Commander US forces(Afghanistan) will give a speech extolling the achievements of US - Afghan forces in the country
5. At this ceremony the president of Afghanistan will give a speech thanking the US for it's efforts
6. At this ceremony the OIC of Afghan Security forces will give a speech vowing to protect the country going forward.
7. This ceremony will have lots of bands playing martial music
8. This ceremony will be televised worldwide.
9. At the end of this ceremony all US forces will board aircraft and fly home via intermediate stops as required.
10. All US equipment will be handed over to the OIC of Afghan Security Forces upon departure of US forces, without exception.



robt willmann

Listening to the radio while driving as Trump was giving the speech, I realized that I have heard this music before. It sounded as if it was written by the Bush jr. and Obama administrations, and neocons. Ignorance is not bliss. Trump sure was easy to fool.

What was of special concern was the approach to Pakistan, which will include the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA)--




Yes, you are likely correct in that judgment, as it would have been ghostwritten by the same cabal of NeoCons as was this speech by President Trump. Hopefully, the steadfastness of these commitments are going to be determined by the results, results coldly-assessed, and after only a short interval of time has elapsed. Please, no more six month "Friedman Units", Mr. President.


Thinking outside of the box? An independent sovereign neutral consensual government in Kashmir like Belgium?

Yes, brought about by dancing unicorns dressed in pink tutus.

Clueless Joe

Unless I'm seriously mistaken, Pakistan won't give up on Afghanistan, because they know India always hoped to use it as a threat to Pakistan's rear in case of an India-Pakistan major war, just like China hoped to use Pakistan as a threat to India's rear in case of an India-China major war. As long as it goes like this, Pakistan will be fearful and will consider Afghanistan of strategic importance, possibly giving them some degree of strategic depth. So, at this point, you don't just solve Afghanistan by solving key issues between Pakistan and India, but you'd probably also need to solve key issues lying between India and China. Though, of course, this opens up all new kind of troubles and issues for the rest of the world, because you don't really want to pave the way for an India-China alliance. Though maybe one could try to involve China who will fund and make buddy with both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and things will quiet down? Whatever, critics of current US involvement seem alas accurate to me; it hasn't enough leverage to achieve its goals, and it thankfully won't dare to go full Genghis Khan to "pacify" the locals by turning the country into a desert.
Or I'm just out of my depth and rambling nonsense, which is always a possibility.

FB Ali

Good solution, well put.

I agree with it, and the many other commenters who said GTFO!


I am happy I have no sons or daughters of military age. But as things have been going, my very young grandchildren may be old enought before all this craziness is over.

The Porkchop Express

GTFO is the most succinct and reasonable advice for OEF !


nd it’s one, two, three what are we fightin for,
don’t ask me I don’t give a damn, next stop Afghanistan. . .


Leaving forever is an idea.

It seems to me speaking of "winning" being the second-to-none goal would better fit a situation concrete (or binary,) enough to offer little wins worth trumpeting and a war-ending win worth celebrating. Afghanistan offers not much of either, in my inexpert opinion. The conservative tribes have absorbed the blows of outsiders for centuries.

See the tagged thread, begun here.



This is straight out of the neocon playbook, but neocons didn't force Trump to make this speech. He did that on his own and it's his baby, now.

Lord, how long must this go on before people finally admit that the Kool Aid they've been drinking tastes funny?


Eakens, leave them pamphlets, and links to podcasts, to achieve such ends. Maybe sign them up for a facebook account. And send them Uber and fusion food recipes. And toast bars. Lots of toast bars!


Get out. Admit defeat. Wish them all well. Keep an eye on how India, China, Russia, and them Paks themselves like living with a Taliban (repentant or not) 'State'. Arm warlords, if you must.

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