US President Donald Trump made a speech this morning Australian time – Monday night in America – outlining America’s new strategy in relation to Afghanistan.
CAPTION: Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis arrives in Amman, Jordan, on the eve of President Trump’s speech on a new strategy for Afghanistan. DOD photo by USAF Staff Sergeant Jette Carr.
The rather presidential speech [which he obviously didn’t write himself and read word for word (almost) – more likely reflected its true author, Secretary of Defence (general) James Mattis] declared that America and its allies would return to Afghanistan, this time with the gloves off and ‘WE WILL WIN’ the only acceptable outcome.
However, the speech didn’t give details of timings or troop numbers, as you would expect from a master strategist – Mattis, not Trump.
The new US strategy could easily be likened to a much older General James Mattis quote –
“We’ve backed off in good faith to try and give you a chance to straighten this problem out. But I am going to beg with you for a minute – I’m going to plead with you – do not cross us, because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.”
You can read President Trump’s speech in full here – but here are some key extracts…
- A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill
- Working alongside our allies, we will break their will, dry up their recruitment, keep them from crossing our borders, and yes, we will defeat them, and we will defeat them handily
- In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear: We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America, and we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the world for that matter. But to prosecute this war, we will learn from history. As a result of our comprehensive review, American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically
- Conditions on the ground — not arbitrary timetables — will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will
- we will no longer use American military might to construct democracies in faraway lands, or try to rebuild other countries in our own image. Those days are now over.
- we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live, or how to govern their own complex society
- We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists
- my administration will ensure that you, the brave defenders of the American people, will have the necessary tools and rules of engagement to make this strategy work, and work effectively and work quickly
- Micromanagement from Washington, D.C. does not win battles. They are won in the field drawing upon the judgment and expertise of wartime commanders and frontline soldiers acting in real time, with real authority, and with a clear mission to defeat the enemy
- When America commits its warriors to battle, we must ensure they have every weapon to apply swift, decisive, and overwhelming force. Our troops will fight to win
- From now on, victory will have a clear definition – attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan
- We will ask our NATO allies and global partners [presumably Australia included] to support our new strategy with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own
President Trump’s speech in full here.
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