By Mark Hannah
When President Donald Trump announced last month that he would withdraw half of the American troops currently serving in Afghanistan, the foreign policy community was aghast. Afghanistan will become a failed state! The Taliban will expand its power! Other countries like Russia will fill the power vacuum! Chaos and disorder will follow! The president, however, should follow through anyway.
Aware the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable, President Trump nevertheless now dithers. He is pressured by gold star parents and military leaders and he is concerned with being blamed if the government in Kabul collapses on his watch. But letting the Afghan war “muddle along” has been a grievous mistake. Since 2002, roughly 2,500 American service-members and 4,000 American contractors have been killed in Afghanistan, including four just over Thanksgiving. As John Kerry asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971, after returning from that other quagmire in Vietnam, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”
This piece was originally published by USA Today on January 23, 2019. Read more HERE.
Mark Hannah Ph.D. is a research fellow at the Eurasia Group Foundation and teaches at New York University.