Trump’s Afghan Policy Goes Wrong by Hy Rothstein and John Arquilla – Wall Street Journal
Candidate Donald Trump once bragged tha t he consults himself on foreign affairs. But his Afghanistan policy, announced in August, closely follows the guidance of his military advisers and generals. It amounts to only a minor recalibration of policy—with relatively small U.S. troop increases, big subsidies for the Kabul government, and no set timeline for withdrawal. This is not a fresh strategic approach.
Mr. Trump’s slight adjustment will never bring stability to Afghanistan, a country whose history and culture are replete with rebellious people unsuited and unwilling to support a strong central government. American failure to adjust strategy based on this reality is a principal cause of Afghanistan’s instability.
In developing the way forward, the president instead should have demanded that his advisers address why the massive U.S. investment in Afghanistan has had such limited success. He also would have benefited from studying the experience of other great powers in the country. The British, the Soviets and even the pre-9/11 Taliban wrongly assumed that a strong centralized government could deliver stability. Instead Mr. Trump has doomed the U.S. to keep following the well-worn path to failure in Afghanistan—at ruinous cost…