President Donald Trump’s foreign policy may not always be coherent, but it is proving to be less belligerent than that of his predecessors. After previously indicating that troop totals would likely be expanding in Afghanistan, the Trump administration is considering reversing that policy after the Pentagon failed to rally much support behind their initial proposal.
“It’s a macro question as to whether the U.S., this administration, and this president are committed to staying,” a senior Trump administration official said to the Wall Street Journal. “It doesn’t work unless we are there for a long time, and if we don’t have the appetite to be there a long time, we should just leave. It’s an unanswered question.”
Former President Obama was elected, despite much his contradictory anti-war rhetoric, after his promises to re-double the effort in Afghanistan with a troop surge. After Obama’s policies failed to meet their objectives on any level, the Trump administration is apparently willing to change course on the longest war in American history. However, this does not mean that America will be leaving the country completely.
“The pullout is unlikely to be immediate, if it ultimately wins out. The plan seems to be to increase reliance on special forces and drone strikes in Afghanistan to try to make up for the largely feckless Afghan military in slowing the Taliban’s expansion across the country,” foreign policy analyst Jason Ditz said in an Antiwar.com column.
“Ultimately though, few think any strategy is going to stop the Taliban expansion outright, with even many proponents of escalation arguing simply that it would slow the rate of loss, but punting the ultimate defeat down the road for someone else.”
While the Trump foreign policy is far from the libertarian ideal of non-intervention expressed eloquently by former Congressman Ron Paul, there are signs that the neoconservative consensus of endless war is slowly but surely deteriorating. Withdrawal is no longer an option that is always off the table no matter what the circumstances, as the Trump administration has shown with their latest shift regarding Afghanistan.