In a candid interview with MSNBC, President Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster vehemently defended the president’s overall strategy in Afghanistan. This comes after much leftist Media speculation as to whether Trump and McMaster were heading for another “You’re Fired!” moment.
The General, when questioned on what exactly the president had in mind, said that a lot of important decisions had already been made regarding strategy, but stressed that the media was only aware of a few developments. He made it clear that Trump doesn’t wish to “broadcast his strategy.”
Not broadcasting a detailed strategy seems on the surface to be a very “non-Trump” style, but this is where the disconnect between the media and actual events lies. In the 24-hour news cycle, the president is often portrayed as a “buffoon” or an “incompetent”; but is it likely that he could have built an empire and won the presidency if this were true?
McMaster states that far from being the power-crazed demagogue, Trump has actually authorized the Pentagon to take the lead on a number of military decisions during his administration. This is the sign of someone who trusts in the judgment of the people around him. And this is what makes the McMaster interview so intriguing: we are being given a glimpse of a president that the media is covering up; perhaps the distortion of reality is greater than suspected?
On the immediate military goals, McMaster talks of a “behavior change” being needed and sought after:
“This is Pakistan in particular that we want to really see a change in– and a reduction of their support– for– these groups,” he said. “I mean, this is– of course, you know, a very paradoxical situation, right, where Pakistan is taking great losses.” He continued, “They have fought very hard against these groups,” McMaster argued, “but they’ve done so really only selectively.”
So based on the General’s assessment, it would seem that the Afghan Strategy involves using relationships with other nations to not only shore up support but to achieve active cooperation; taking much of the burden off U.S. forces.
The key message to come out of this interview was that the president will no longer tolerate other nations’ involvement with the Taliban: “The president has also made clear that he, that we, need to see a change in behavior of those in the region, which includes those who are providing safe haven and support bases for the Taliban.”
This interview was either an intriguing piece of theatrical work, or there is, in fact, a high level of political and diplomatic competence taking place in America’s dealing with the Afghan situation. McMaster stresses that operations in the region have been successful so far; he notes the marked difference in present strategy from the previous Administration:
“We’re not gonna talk tactics anymore, right?” he added. “Everything before was, you know, troop levels and very specific details announcing to the enemy years in advance exactly the number of troops you’re gonna have, exactly what they’re gonna do and what they’re not gonna do. And so the president has said, that ‘That is not the way to fight a war. It never has been.’ This is an invention of recent years.”
This interview was a rare glimpse into what is happening to America in the world; devoid of spin and bias, McMaster has let the world know in no uncertain terms that the president is “a safe pair of hands.” And that the U.S. is making significant progress in engaging other Middle Eastern countries in the effort against hostile Afghan forces.