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.
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.
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.
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.
So long as U.S. military power remains in Afghanistan, the government in Kabul is almost certain to remain solvent and in power; however menacing and resurgent the Taliban, they will never be able to physically overrun the capital and take power so long as American troops and air power remain. But whether it is the 140,000 U.S. and NATO troops Obama tried, the 15,000 troops Trump currently employs, or Prince’s proposed 2001 reboot with 6,000 mercenaries, the military mission will continue to fail.
Overuse of our military and underdevelopment of their capabilities over the past two decades have eroded our once-overwhelming global military dominance. To reimpose that large gap and increase the overall security of our country, we must better preserve our force, and begin to immediately curtail our active—and largely unnecessary— combat deployments around the globe. Successfully doing so will increase our national security.
The Trump administration should withdraw American support from the Saudi-led coalition. Stop sharing intelligence; stop refueling planes; stop lending credibility to this catastrophe by associating it with the United States; and stop selling the Saudi regime and its partners weapons like the one used in this inexcusable attack.
There is no U.S. national security objective to be served in continuing to intervene in a tertiary conflict with no direct connection to U.S. security and economic prosperity.
The sooner the United States removes itself from the Yemen catastrophe, the better. There are no good sides in this war and Washington should stop convincing itself otherwise.