Fecteau: Trump Goes Obama-Lite in Afghanistan
Sunday, August 27, 2017
In a recent speech, Mr. Trump let us all know that while he came out against the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan as a candidate, he now supports the U.S. military’s involvement in that respective conflict; a flip-flop that even his supporters should be scratching their heads about (maybe some will acknowledge Mr. Trump was less than truthful).
Mr. Trump’s current Afghanistan war strategy was basically plagiarized from the Obama playbook in 2009. When someone uses someone else’s ideas, it is a good idea to cite the source – even if it isn’t the exact verbiage. Mr. Trump promised no more nation building; instead, the United States would focus on killing terrorists (hat tip Obama for that idea). President Trump demanded the Afghan government take on more of the burden and threatened to hold them accountable (heard it all before!).
The U.S. war effort in Afghanistan appears fruitless, if not frivolous at this point. Mr. Trump has said he will increase troops levels by 4,000 in addition to the less than 10,000 conventional units and special operators presently in the country. According to the troop administration, these additional personnel will be used – just like was said by the Obama administrations – to “advise and assist” the Afghan Armed forces.
According to Mr. Trump. these troops will allegedly turn the tide of the war effort – didn’t Obama say that too? However, under President Barack Obama, just over 100,000 troops could not keep that from happening. Once U.S. forces transferred authority to Afghan forces, the Afghan Armed Forces gave up ground to the far more zealous, and lesser equipped insurgents. The chances are high Mr. Trump has just committed us to even greater involvement in a conflict without end with few troops to make a difference and a couple of nuanced differences from the past.
In his speech, Mr. Trump merely ripped off President Obama's ideas, yet diluted the plan so much it failed to address the complexity of the situation on the ground; he went further by forfeiting responsibility to the commanders (who he will likely blame if his efforts fail). This is typical Trump; steal an idea, change it a bit, take the credit, and avoid the guilt. But this time, there will be no bankruptcy protections for his plan (or should I say Obama’s?).
Mr. Obama's Afghan war plan was seriously flawed in 2009; just because Mr. Trump slaps his name on it, doesn't mean the outcome will be any different.
[email protected]) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island was a Democratic candidate for office in 2014 and 2016. He is an M.P.A. candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and an Iraq War veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau
Related Slideshow: RI Democrats React to Trump Withdrawing from Paris Climate Agreement
I am deeply disappointed that the President has decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. Republicans and Democrats alike recognize that the Paris Agreement is about so much more than climate change. It’s about opportunity, stewardship and America’s standing as a global leader.
President Trump’s action will not deter Rhode Island from taking necessary steps to address climate change. Our action at the state level will create new jobs and attract new investment in the green economy.
We’ve set a goal to secure 1,000 MW of clean energy resources and double the number of clean energy jobs by 2020. Ocean State families and businesses are on the front lines fighting climate change. I will continue toward with the General Assembly and partners in other states to protect our environment and advance clean energy alternatives, while creating new opportunities for our workforce in the process.
President Trump’s ill-considered decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement puts the future of our entire planet at risk. The withdrawal represents an abandonment of pledges to protect our environment and risks undermining the entire accord, which includes nearly every country on earth. In addition, the President’s action cedes Unites States leadership and means losing a seat at the table to negotiate global agreements in our country's best interest.
The Obama Administration made significant progress toward slowing the rapidly warming climate by negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions on a global scale. Unwinding these commitments represents another assault by President Trump on the health of the public and the planet. His Administration continues to deny climate change despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that shows this is an ongoing human-caused crisis.
Rhode Island is on the front lines of sea level rise, and our citizens will ultimately pay the price for inaction today. Communities like my hometown of Warwick are particularly vulnerable to the storms and floods that come with climate change. Warming seas have chased our traditional catch out of our fisheries and threaten to decimate our beloved Ocean State coastline. Abandoning the Paris deal, the culmination of a multi-year effort by world leaders, is an abdication of our responsibility to leave the world a better place for our children.”
“Donald Trump and his children said just a few years ago that climate change was ‘irrefutable’ and its consequences ‘catastrophic and irreversible.’ They were right. There is no denying the growing threat of rising seas, warming global temperatures, and melting glaciers and ice sheets.
But we can still avoid the worst if we quickly reduce carbon emissions. That is why ignoring reality and leaving the Paris Agreement could do down as one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our nation’s history, isolating the U.S. further after Trump’s shockingly bad European trip.
Trump is betraying the country, in the service of Breitbart fake news, the shameless fossil fuel industry, and the Koch brothers’ climate denial operation. It’s Sad.
America’s biggest corporations and investors urged the President to stick with international efforts to address the climate threat. They and all of us will now have to proceed with a seriousness of purpose commensurate with the threat, knowing of this President’s grave defects.
If you haven’t joined an environmental group, join one. If your voice needs to be heard, get active. If you are a big corporation with good climate policies that has shied away from engaging politically, it’s time to engage. And if you’re a university that teaches climate science, it’s time to stand up for your scientists. Whoever you are, help end climate denial and take action.”
“President Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris climate agreement is a blow to the environment that makes us a less secure nation. Our military, which spends every hour of every day thinking about how to protect Americans says climate change is a problem and a real threat multiplier. Indeed, climate change is an established part of the military’s threat and risk assessments.
The United States should continue to be a leader when it comes to protecting the planet; instead, the President is abdicating this responsibility. President Trump is unwisely putting the United States alongside Syria and Nicaragua in declining to be part of the Paris agreement.
The American people deserve better.”
The President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is a terrible mistake. It will diminish American leadership in the world, undermine our ability to create good-paying jobs, and contribute to the further degradation of our environment.
It is very disappointing that we now know, without question, that the President of the United Sates is a climate change denier. His decision today ignores the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding the serious consequences failing to address climate change.
The only thing President Trump will accomplish by this decision is to set the United States and world back decades in this fight. I have no doubt that future generations are going to wonder what the hell we were thinking today”
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