(TriceEdneyWire.com)—In his campaign, Donald Trump promised “we’re going to start winning again.” In office, he has defined winning largely in military terms.
His budget decimates the State Department while adding billions to the Pentagon. He boasts that he’s delegated decisions on force levels abroad to the Pentagon. Secretary of Defense Mike Mattis recently announced that 4,000 more troops would be sent to Afghanistan.
Four thousand more troops won’t produce a “win” in Afghanistan. The president has it wrong. America’s military is already the best in the world. But for America to “start winning,” we need more smart diplomacy, not more smart bombs.
Since coming to office Trump has ratcheted up the use of force. He dropped the “mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan, while adding troops there. He rained cruise missiles on an airbase in Syria, and a U.S. jet recently shot down a Syrian jet in Syrian airspace, a clear act of war. He’s added troops to Iraq and to back rebels in Syria. He lavished arms and praise on the Saudis, backing up not only their merciless war on Yemen but also their blockade on tiny Qatar.
Not one of these actions will “start America winning.” The war in Afghanistan is in its 16th year. Even Secretary Mattis admits we have no strategy for victory there. Four thousand more troops will add to the violence and the costs. They will help insure we don’t lose, but the war will go on.
In Syria, Trump had suggested on the campaign trail that he would focus on defeating the Islamic State, not on regime change in Syria. That opened the possibility of a working coalition with Russia and Syria against the Islamic State. Instead we’re now clearly at war with Syria as well as the Islamic State.