On Monday, President Donald Trump spoke to the nation about his renewed push to achieve a military victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan. The president’s new strategy, though considerably shorter on detail than some had hoped, emphasizes additional American troops, and an aggressive posture toward Pakistan, where the president said terrorists have been protected.
Paul Miller, associate director of the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin says Trump’s speech was “one of his finest moments as president.” Miller’s assessment appears on Foreign Policy magazine’s website (registration required).
Miller, who says he does not agree with many of Trump’s policies, says the speech was successful because Trump “explained the importance of the war in Afghanistan well.” Miller says the president’s non-specific approach gives the military the flexibility it needs to succeed.
Miller says Trump’s planned infusion of U.S. troops will be small, relative to the number of American personnel on the ground at the height of the war. He also says a significant number of new Afghan troops will join the war.
Another way U.S. commanders will gain flexibility in Afghanistan is through a loosening of the rules of engagement, Miller says. Some of those rule are aimed at protecting civilians from military action. Miller is concerned about the impact of these changes.
“We might see a more kinetic war,” he says. “More bombs, more bullets, and more bodies.”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.