Making Sense of Trump at War: Ramping Up in Afghanistan, Scaling Back in Syria

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter carrying U.S. advisers and Afghan trainees takes off at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, March 19, 2018 (AP photo by Rahmat Gul).
A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter carrying U.S. advisers and Afghan trainees takes off at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, March 19, 2018 (AP photo by Rahmat Gul).
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In rapid succession, America’s mercurial commander-in-chief has changed U.S. policy toward two of the world’s most tragic and intractable conflicts. In Afghanistan and Syria, President Donald Trump has simultaneously ramped up U.S. involvement and insisted that America cut its losses and get out. In both cases, it is hard to track the true underlying strategy that would achieve some durable American objectives. Rather, he is approving policy tactics formulated to respond to worsening conditions on the ground and to the advice of his military commanders, who see the larger consequences of security setbacks. First, the facts. It was late last […]

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