McMaster Attempts to Reconcile Trump's Competing Impulses on Afghanistan

McMaster Attempts to Reconcile Trump's Competing Impulses on Afghanistan by Greg Jaffe - Washington Post

In meeting after meeting with his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, this spring and summer, President Trump angrily hammered home two questions:

He wanted to know why the U.S. military wasn’t winning in Afghanistan, and he asked, repeatedly, why, after more than 16 years of war, the United States was still stuck there.

The president’s two questions have defined a contentious debate over whether to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to halt two years of Taliban gains. And they have exposed a potentially deep philosophical rift with McMaster, a three-star general.

“H.R. heard the first question and seized on it,” said a senior White House official who is close to McMaster. “But he never heard, or didn’t want to hear, the president’s second question.”

The debate over Afghanistan strategy, which McMaster had initially hoped to have resolved by May, continued Thursday when the president and his national security adviser met in the Oval Office. Trump’s reluctance to commit to a new strategy reflects the paucity of good options in Afghanistan and the dim prospects for peace…

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