Philip Rucker and Robert Costa of the Washington Post paint an unsurprising, yet still disturbing, portrait of Trump’s toddler-like “decision-making process” on Afghanistan. As one would suspect, it was all about him:
Trump decided to escalate troop levels, but only after protracted deliberations that deeply divided the administration. Lobbied by rival advisers, the president pinballed between his militaristic and anti-interventionist impulses. Impatient during classified briefings, Trump longed to reimagine U.S. policy in South Asia under his “America first” banner.
Trump’s private deliberations — detailed in interviews with more than a dozen senior administration officials and outside allies — revealed a president unattached to any particular foreign-policy doctrine, but willing to be persuaded as long as he could be seen as a strong and decisive leader.
This is how silly and inane it got:
One of the ways McMaster tried to persuade Trump to recommit to the effort was by convincing him that Afghanistan was not a hopeless place. He presented Trump with a black-and-white snapshot from 1972 of Afghan women in miniskirts walking through Kabul, to show him that Western norms had existed there before and could return.
I’m guessing Trump responded by saying, “Who knew Afghan women were so hot?”
And then there is his childlike infatuation with military leaders:
Trump has nurtured a lifelong infatuation with military culture, going back to his youth at a military academy. One of his favorite movies is “Patton,” the 1970 Hollywood biopic of Gen. George S. Patton’s exploits during World War II.
And there’s always that damn Ghost of Obama™…
By summer, the policy review process Trump initiated soon after taking office had grown sclerotic. Hovering over everything was the legacy of former president Barack Obama and his management of the war — a series of decisions that Trump found objectionable. Trump voiced frustration to his advisers about having to clean up somebody else’s mess.
But, ultimately, it’s always All About Trump:
Trump’s decision was foreshadowed by a grimacing pose he and his team struck in a portrait that the president put on his Twitter page. In a wood-paneled room, Trump sat at a table scowling as 13 advisers stood behind him, each of them stone-faced and staring into the camera. The flags of the five military branches filled the background. To Trump, this was the image of strength.
It was an unintentionally hilarious image. Trump looked like he was trying to squeeze one off, but was having problems due to constipation.
Bush-era neocon Eliot Cohen pretty much sums up Trump’s cluelessness:
“The president doesn’t know anything about war or anything about Afghanistan,” said Eliot A. Cohen, a foreign policy adviser in the George W. Bush administration. “He has a lot of angry instincts, but nothing more than that. So he is to some extent corralled by McMaster, Kelly and Mattis. . . . He is going along with what the generals want.”
Cohen’s comment makes this quote from Kellyanne Conway all the more funny:
“This has been many months in the making,” said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president. “The hallmark of leadership is a deliberative process, not an impulsive reaction, and that is precisely the protocol he followed here.”
Yeah, right, Kellyanne. Our nation’s Toddler-in-Chief is probably still swearing at McMaster and Mattis today.
“I am not Obama! I am not Obama! Winning! I’m all about winning! Bigly!”
Not sure who is in charge of changing his diapers today, but whoever it is deserves combat pay.