Monday night on “CNN Tonight,” while analyzing President Donald Trump‘s new Afghanistan strategy calling for a troop increase, network host Fareed Zakaria asked where was Steve Bannon “when you need him?”
Partial transcript as follows:
LEMON: You think his approach was right? You think it’s the only viable approach?
ZAKARIA: No, I think this was a moment––this was a real lost opportunity. I actually feel like, where is Steve Bannon when you need him? This was an opportunity to really have a re-think, to sit back and ask fundamentally, what can we do? Wes Clark I think was closest to the truth when he said the fundamental challenge is actually diplomatic. In any one of these wars when you’re the country that’s 8,000 miles away, the locals know one day you’re going to go home. So the question is, how do you construct some kind of political settlement that will last when you leave?
And that means getting the Pakistanis involved; the Indians involved but also the Russians, also the Iranians who we don’t talk to. Unless they’re all buying in—right now you have a situation where none of them are buying into the U.S. war—they’re all undermining it in various ways, except for the Indians really. And we’re surprised it’s not working. We don’t have any really local traction. What you need, it seems to me, is a regional diplomatic effort, not 4,000 more troops. What will 4,000 American troops do that 140,000 couldn’t do five years ago?
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