Which Way for the Trump Administration? by Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo reviews the foreign policy issues facing the Trump administration and the positions of key officials. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

It’s decision time at the White House. We’re six months into the Trump administration, and several foreign policy issues have to be resolved. What happens in the next few weeks will likely determine the course Trump will take for the next four years – which is why we’re seeing more reports about the intense internal wrangling going on behind the scenes.

First and foremost is Afghanistan, with two White House factions battling it out in full public view: on one side we have newly-appointed National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, who wants a renewed long-term commitment to occupying that country and is angling for thousands more troops to be sent in. On the other side of the barricades is Steve Bannon, the Trumpian ideologue hated by the liberal media, who, as the Daily Caller puts it, “has pushed for the ‘America First,’ populist, noninterventionist foreign policy that Trump espoused during the campaign.”

At a policy meeting held last month, Bannon argued for a major pullback. McMaster made the case for yet another “surge.” Dissatisfied with those options, the President sent everyone back to the drawing board.

The good news is that Trump is reportedly highly skeptical of our continued presence in Afghanistan. The bad news is that he is also wary of presiding over a Taliban takeover of the country. Yet it may be that the non-interventionists have the advantage. As the Weekly Standard relates:

“Encouraging [Trump’s] skepticism are the America Firsters in the administration, led by [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions and Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, who is firmly fixed on the idea of Afghanistan as graveyard of empires. It may be owing to his conversations with Bannon that the president has cited to his war cabinet the unhappy experiences of the British at the Khyber Pass and even quoted Alexander the Great (‘Afghanistan is easy to march into, but hard to march out of’).

“Bannon vehemently opposes what he calls McMaster’s ‘Big Army plan,’ and his argument to the president is at least partly a political calculation: Does Trump want to explain to voters why he’s committing $50 billion to build schools in Afghanistan (on top of a 16-year military expenditure that is already nearing $1 trillion) before starting the infrastructure projects he’s promised to Michigan and Ohio?”

To continue reading: Which Way for the Trump Administration?

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