Small Wars Journal

What's the Point of Donald Trump's Afghan Surge?

What's the Point of Donald Trump's Afghan Surge? by Stephen Walt, Foreign Policy

Having previously promised to get the United States “out of the nation-building business,” President Trump is contemplating sending 3,000 to 5,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. It’s a move that is said to be strongly backed by White House National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster (reportedly leading some in the White House to dub it “McMaster’s War”). It is also reminiscent of the situation Barack Obama faced back in 2009. Military officials pushed hard for an even bigger troop increase then, and a neophyte president bowed to the pressure despite his clear misgivings. Obama’s “surge” ultimately accomplished nothing - as some of us warned at the time - and this new effort to kick the can down the road is likely to suffer a similar fate.

I don’t really think Trump understands any of the underlying issues, but McMaster - who served for several years in Afghanistan and has the reputation of being an independent thinker - should. Here are five questions someone should ask McMaster about this new policy, along with some background to each one…

Read on.