A failure to shift the burden to those who should bear it would suck even more U.S. attention and resources into a part of the world that has seen too much over the last decade and a half. Time for Washington to focus more on our middle class than the Middle East.
It's well past time to recognize that the threat in Afghanistan doesn’t warrant a continued U.S. military presence and the associated costs—which are not inconsequential.
17 years later, America’s longest war still grinds on today—mostly on autopilot. We have spent perhaps $2 trillion and lost nearly 2,400 servicemen in Afghanistan, yet we are losing the war.
We will continue to defend our homeland and citizens from terrorist attacks from wherever they originate around the world—whether Afghanistan, ungoverned territories in Pakistan, Africa, or anywhere else—with robust intelligence, surveillance, and global reconnaissance assets in close coordination between CIA, FBI, and local law enforcement. Perpetuating the permanent failure of 17 years of troops on the ground in Afghanistan, however, must come to an end.
“Fort Trump” would be the opposite of a deterrent, and would thus make both Poland and America less safe. President Trump should reject the idea of “Fort Trump” as soon as possible.
The United States, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Israel, the Assad regime, the remnants of ISIS, and various militias and terrorist organizations—sometimes distinguishable, but often not—are all in battle. The longer Washington maintains its reckless and unnecessary military intervention, the more likely a direct clash with Iran or Russia becomes.
European members of NATO have the means to do far for their own security and the security of their region than what many are currently doing. The Trump administration should take a step beyond just issuing strong statements of protest.
The U.S. is still the most powerful country on the planet, but it can only keep that title if its power is not overextended. The United States is prosperous, but it cannot afford to forget about what’s most important: seeking mutually beneficial engagement with all nations when necessary, setting realistic defense priorities that elevate the safety of the American people, defending our way of life and promoting our economic prosperity above an obsession with the “liberal order.”
Deterrence and non-interference would be an improvement over aimless sanctions, recognizing the escalation cycles and incentives at play. Sanctions cannot bend Russia to America's will, but deterrence and a calculation by Washington not to back itself—or Moscow—into a corner can prevent the situation from getting worse.
The United States should not invade Iran, and we are by no means bound on course toward intervention. But the Trump team must be more careful here. No more half-facts and mixed messages. No more feckless suggestions that absolutely everything is on the table to force Tehran to bend to Washington’s will. No more use of sanctions as a universal tool of statecraft, a lazy and callous substitute for diplomacy. And certainly no more talk of regime change, which more than anything else is guaranteed to keep Iran away from the negotiating table Trump says he wants.
If Trump can facilitate a dialogue towards a more stable peace, it would be an unprecedented achievement rising to the standards of a Nobel Peace Prize. Denuclearizing North Korea can wait. What can’t wait is a peace on the Korean Peninsula that would shut the door to a reckless preventative war.
In short, an indefinite U.S. military presence in Syria would be an endeavor with zero strategic benefit for America. It would, however, be costly and unnecessary, both in terms of the U.S. taxpayer funds expended to maintain and resupply that presence and to the safety of the troops themselves. U.S. soldiers and marines should be used to prevent bad guys from killing Americans—not to referee the region’s civil and proxy conflicts.
The costs of these twin failures are enormous. For the strength of our nation and the preservation of our prosperity, U.S. military leaders must end missions that fail to benefit our country and refuse to risk larger war with major powers when our national security interests are not at stake.
The way Egypt is behaving, it is simply a bad deal for Washington to continue to ritualistically open its wallet without thinking about the return on investment. Foreign assistance should be earned, not treated as an unquestioned entitlement. Above all, Washington’s generosity must serve the interests of the United States, and benefit the American people—especially the taxpayers who fund it.
An uninformed public leads to erratic and uninformed policies. Congress possesses the authority to rebalance a scale between the executive and legislative branches that has tilted heavily in favor of the executive for decades. For the health and vibrancy of the American republic, lawmakers better start using it.
Trump undeniably has a number of flaws, some of them significant—and even his staunchest supporters couldn’t honestly claim he hasn’t made mistakes. But Trump’s departure from establishment thinking and his willingness to challenge status quo policies is not only right, it is desperately needed.
As Mattis and Nicholson have realized, there is no military victory to be had in Afghanistan. Diplomacy and political solutions are the best options. The U.S. military is by far the most powerful in the world, and it can do many things well. Yet nation-building Afghanistan is not one of them. Internal political problems will not be wiped away by an external military force.
Yes, terrorism making use of modern technologies can cause harm to a number of people, but claiming that any instances of terrorism in the world are a threat to our civilization is a historically inaccurate exaggeration. This type of rhetoric gives practitioners of terrorism precisely what they want—an image and influence that outsizes their actual size and capability.
Overcoming 70 years of mistrust is bound to be a fitful, decades-long process. But doing so is essential to forging a durable peace on the Korean peninsula. For that reason, the United States should throw its full support behind the burgeoning DPRK-ROK dialogue—even if that means putting denuclearization on the back burner.
It is estimated that well over a thousand interpreters have been killed while waiting for their visa applications to process. Any further (and unnecessary) tightening of security requirements will sign the death warrants of hundreds more.
There are no panaceas or cost-free resolutions for the United States on the North Korean nuclear issue. But the Trump administration can still effectively manage it without resorting to a war that would be horrific and counterproductive.
The most logical, rational course of action the U.S. could pursue regarding North Korea—and the one that gives us the best chance to accomplish our primary objectives—is to engage in relentless diplomacy backed firmly by unblinking military deterrence.
Rather than fiddling with troop levels and repeating reckless errors of the past in a vain attempt to win an unwinnable war, the United States’ chief occupation in Afghanistan now must be negotiating for peace.
China’s gains have upped the cost of going to war against it, but there are several reasons why that shift doesn’t much threaten East Asia’s peace or demand splashy new U.S. military efforts.
The Trump administration cannot afford to make U.S. national security policy in a vacuum. It would be foolish on its face for Washington to allow emotions to dictate when the U.S. chooses to deploy its military. And the test could not be any more clear: military force should only be used when core national security interests are at stake; when the security of Americans are directly threatened; and when the domestic tranquility and prosperity of the country is placed at risk.
Because the NDAA is a “must pass” initiative dealing with national security, getting language into the bill that benefits a member’s district or state is a high priority for most offices. And thus the vehicle used to give troops a pay raise and ensure they are adequately trained becomes one of the most pork-laden and parochial bills in Congress.
Comments like these from Macron and Maas suggest that, three decades after the Cold War ended, Europe is finally ready to defend its own continent. That’s a good deal for Americans—if only Washington would take it.
America not spending millions in Syria means that there is one less excuse for American troops to remain in that country indefinitely. Trump is exactly right to think that ending the aid program brings America one step closer to exiting Syria.
Preserving American security and protecting U.S. economic interests in the Asia-Pacific region are our vital, strategic interests—and they must be Trump’s top objectives. Those aims are realistic, within our power to accomplish, and can be attained in cost-effective ways. Reagan’s classic “peace through strength” is the vehicle through which American interests can best be maintained with North Korea.
To inform citizens, thought leaders, and policy makers of the importance of a strong, dynamic military—used more judiciously to protect America's narrowly defined national interests—and promote a realistic grand strategy prioritizing restraint, diplomacy, and free trade to ensure American security.