- Title: Trump's new Afghanistan strategy 'business as usual' -analyst
- Date: 22nd August 2017
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (AUGUST 22, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) TREVOR THRALL, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE CATO INSTITUTE, SAYING: "This is status quo, business as usual. Trump, he might have made hand gestures while he was saying it, but the things he was saying were almost exactly what the policy he inherited from Obama looked like. It's a little more muscular, but remember -- but it's still less muscular than the Obama surge from 2009-2010. Obama sent 100,000 troops to Afghanistan. We're talking about 4,000 more troops. So Trump, I mean, there's really almost no way I can imagine fewer troops moving the needle in Afghanistan. And so, really what we're almost certainly faced with is a continued stalemate where we try to pressure the Taliban into negotiating, but they see no reason to because they're still doing just fine."
- Embargoed: 5th September 2017 19:26
- Keywords: U.S. Afghanistan strategy troop increase Trump's base U.S.-Pakistani relations Obama surge
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C. / ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C. / ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Defence,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0026V8PF0N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: U.S. President Donald Trump's new Afghanistan strategy means "business as usual," a libertarian analyst told Reuters on Tuesday (August 22), adding that "a continued stalemate" was likely in the 16-year-long war.
"The things he was saying were almost exactly what the policy he inherited from Obama looked like," said Trevor Thrall, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington.
The move is likely to irk his base, said Thrall, for Trump had repeatedly argued on the campaign trail that the long running wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were a waste of lives and billions of dollars that could be better spent at home.
Following Trump's announcement, Breitbart News, the hard-right news site to which recently ousted White House strategic adviser Steve Bannon has returned as executive chairman, said on its home page that Trump "reverses course" and "defends flip-flop in somber speech."
"I don't think there's much upside for Trump with his base in Afghanistan," said Thrall. "I think they want to see more nation-building at home, so I think Trump is walking a tightrope with Afghanistan."
In his first prime-time speech to the nation on Afghanistan policy on Monday night (August 21), Trump conceded that his original instinct on taking office had been to pull out but he was then persuaded of the dangers of a hasty withdrawal.
U.S. officials said he had signed off on Defense Secretary James Mattis' plans to send about 4,000 more troops to add to the roughly 8,400 already in Afghanistan.
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