JD's Notebook US 

Donald Trump the neoconservative?

On Monday night, during a live televised address to the nation on the war in Afghanistan, President Trump announced that the US military will be sending in an additional number of troops to the volatile middle eastern country.

While the President did not specify exactly how many troops, reports confirm that 4000 of those that are serving will be deployed.

The U.S. have been engaged in active combat in Afghanistan for the past 15 years that started when the Bush administration launched air and ground invasions against the then Taliban-led government.

The deployment of more troops has been motivated by the sudden resurgence of Taliban forces in the past few months that are in combat with the Afghan government and NATO coalition forces.

The President’s decision for more troops is overwhelming contrast to his campaign pledges to pull out of the region.  But we can see that Trump has been influenced by his generals to make this sudden 180 degree u-turn on a policy he was so adamant on during the campaign trail. Pulling troops out of Afghanistan had even fitted perfectly with his campaign theme of putting America first.

But there is one thing about the President that we cannot forget – he has a lot of respect for his generals and will always take their advice and opinion into deep consideration.

Not only has Trump decided on a troop surge in Afghanistan, but did not fail to lash out at neighbouring Pakistan for failing to help the NATO coalition and Afghanistan forces in combating terrorist groups. The President further accused Islamabad of taking billions of dollars from the US but at the same time, housing terrorist cells.

Moving more to the moderate right

The President has essentially been moving more and more to the moderate right since taking office in January.  While he was a candidate, Trump had found a strengthened support among voters of the alt-right, as most of his policies and rhetoric were attractive to white voters, especially men.

Nonetheless, the new Afghanistan strategy is nothing but a neoconservatives dream.  An unabashed betrayal of his electorate support.

Granted, the President was reading from a scripted teleprompter, making him appear to be very presidential even though, all of us who watched the address, knew this was the puppeteering of General John Kelly.

But regardless, the President endorsed the strategy and it unequivocally makes him out to be nothing but an agent of the Republican establishment that is continuing the work of the Bush and Obama administrations.

An energised rally

However, typical of Trump administration tactics, the President was granted the freedom of going off script on an improvised rant in Arizona on Tuesday night during a rally, where he once again bashed the media for their “dishonesy” that only fueled an already excited crowd, called the removal of confederate statues as  “yes, by the way — and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see that” and defended his response to Charlottesville by reiterating it to the rally crowd as “we condemn in the strongest, possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence’ while omitting the “on many sides. On many sides” screw up in his original response that confirmed to the public his neutrality towards white supremacist groups.

In summary, the President betrays a key campaign promise and is provided with the conveniently timed opportunity to distract his supporters with his fired up rhetoric.




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