An associate of retired Army general and former CIA Director David Petraeus praised Trump’s Afghanistan strategy in a glowing op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
In a piece titled “Trump learns from America’s failures in Afghanistan,” Vance Serchuk said Trump “has learned the right lessons from them — even when they conflict with his own instincts.”
The piece applauded that Trump agreed to an “open-ended military commitment,” comparing Afghanistan to the Korean Peninsula or the Arabian Gulf, where the U.S. has had a large troop presence for decades.
The open-ended commitment is a “sharp break with past practice” and will create “new possibilities to pursue a decent outcome,” he wrote.
Although Serchuk identified himself as an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, he is also the executive director at KKR Global Institute, where Petraeus is chairman.
Petraeus successfully orchestrated the Iraq surge, credited with turning the tide of war in Iraq during the George W. Bush administration. He also served as the commanding general in Afghanistan in 2010 through 2011, when he was tapped by former President Obama as CIA director.
Petraeus is also close to National Security Adviser and Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. Petraeus personally intervened to get McMaster promoted to a one-star general.
Petraeus himself spoke with NPR earlier this week, making many of the same points Serchuk makes.
“I think what we need to get to at this point in time is what might be described as a sustainable, sustained commitment,” he said.
Another Petraeus associate, Max Boot, also coincidentally published an op-ed Wednesday praising the new strategy in the New York Times.
“Back to Nation-Building in Afghanistan. Good,” the piece is titled.
Serchuk also said in his piece that the plan will involve nation-building and called Trump’s disavowal of it the “most problematic part of the speech.”
“The only way for Afghans to shoulder more of the burden in the shared fight against terrorism is to build strong institutions like the Afghan National Army,” he said.
Although both Serchuk and Boot praised the new strategy, they are not fans of Trump. Both were signatories to a March 2016 letter opposing Trump’s candidacy.