Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

What's the Point of Donald Trump's Afghan Surge?

| May 17, 2017

And four other questions the President's team needs to answer before expanding America's longest war.

Having previously promised to get the United States "out of the nation-building business," President Trump is contemplating sending 3,000 to 5,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. It's a move that is said to be strongly backed by White House National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster (reportedly leading some in the White House to dub it "McMaster’s War"). It is also reminiscent of the situation Barack Obama faced back in 2009. Military officials pushed hard for an even bigger troop increase then, and a neophyte president bowed to the pressure despite his clear misgivings. Obama's "surge" ultimately accomplished nothing — as some of us warned at the time — and this new effort to kick the can down the road is likely to suffer a similar fate....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Walt, Stephen M.“What's the Point of Donald Trump's Afghan Surge?.” Foreign Policy, May 17, 2017.

The Author

Stephen Walt