Darling: President H.R. McMaster’s Yuge Foreign Policy Blunder

President Donald Trump, right, speaks as Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, left, listens at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, where Trump announced that McMaster will be the new national security adviser. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

I voted for Donald J. Trump because he promoted a foreign policy of restraint. I did not vote for National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster to hijack the Trump agenda to continue failed policies of the past. I voted for Donald Trump’s campaign against “nation-building” and am concerned that this administration has lost its way on foreign policy.

I thought it a big mistake for the United States to promote nation-building policies in North Africa, East Asia, and the Middle East when President George W. Bush pushed them and started the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I worried that the destabilizing policies of President Barack Obama caused chaos, not stability, in Egypt and Libya.

I voted for Donald J. Trump because he promised change.

I may have made a mistake.

Should we retitle National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster as President H.R. McMaster? For all those progressives who rejoiced at the ousting of Stephen K. Bannon from the White House — How do you feel now knowing that Bannon was a strong opponent of a troop surge in Afghanistan? Not so good?

The nation-building hawks have won and now expect the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol to cheer the president’s foreign policy conversion from a rhetoric of restraint view to one embraced by the interventionist wing of the Republican party including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ). So sad.

Despite the fact that President Trump announced that “we are not nation-building again,” he is in denial about the fact that he is maintaining the nation-building policies that he campaigned against as a candidate. President Trump’s policy is similar to that of Presidents Obama and Bush.

I was worried after the missile strike earlier this year against the Syrian government that this administration was slouching toward an interventionist agenda that ignored the folly of investing trillions of dollars in a country half a world away and putting Americans in harm’s way for a goal that is impossible to explain to average Americans.

There is no goal in the endless war in Afghanistan. The president is asking Americans to risk their lives, and their children’s lives, for what? What are we fighting for in Afganistan? This is the same failed policy that Trump campaigned against.

I agree with my former boss Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who announced today “the mission in Afghanistan has lost its purpose and I think it is a terrible idea to send any more troops into that war.” And Sen. Paul is parroting the same talking points that Donald Trump spoke on the campaign trail. The same words that won my support for Trump. I may have made a mistake to believe candidate Trump.

Sen. Paul wants to force Congress to reauthorize a war that not many in Congress were around 16 years ago to vote for. He has a resolution that states the following:

Sense of Congress: The President cannot conduct ongoing US military operations against ISIS without an AUMF from Congress authorizing such conduct. Congress should debate and pass a new authorization.

Congress should reauthorize our nation’s longest war, yet this Congress has proved themselves cowards. They have proven worthless this past year, so don’t expect a vote giving the president some authority to continue the endless war in Afghanistan anytime soon. The leadership can barely debate tax reform, so don’t expect Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to commence a debate on the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress can’t be relied upon to do their constitutional duty to authorize, or not authorize, a continuing war in Afghanistan.

I agreed with candidate Donald J. Trump when he was opposed to continuing the Afghanistan war. That is one reason why I voted for the guy. CNBC reported the many statements candidate Trump made opposed to the war including the following: “Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!”; “We should leave Afghanistan immediately. No more wasted lives. If we have to go back in, we go in hard & quick. Rebuild the US first”; and “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA”.  That was the guy I voted for – not the one I saw tonight.

Polling indicates that many Americans lost confidence in President Trump’s response to the Charlottesville conflict. I am pretty sure that not many Americans will base their vote in 2020 on the events in Charlottesville, VA – they are more likely to be concerned about the long-term consequences of continuing the policies of endless wars with no end and with no goal.

Private sector candidate Trump would likely tweet at the current President:

This President Trump is wrong, wrong, wrong on Afghanistan. Rebuild the U.S. and stop wasting resources a world away.  Make AMERICA Great Again!

President Trump made a very bad decision in Afghanistan. I am pretty sure that candidate Donald J. Trump would be very angry with President Donald J. Trump tossing aside one of the pillars of his campaign to please the nation-building lobbyists who want endless war in Afghanistan.


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