Losers leave. Once he knew he’d lost, Trump went scorched earth and tried to cause further foreign policy disruption to the end.

Then-president Donald Trump sent a secret memo to the Pentagon after he lost the election pushing them to withdraw US troops stationed around the world, according to a new report.

One of Mr Trump’s closest aides, John McEntee, handed a handwritten note to retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor on 9 November 2020, saying: “This is what the president wants you to do.”

The note said to “get us out” of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. It instructed the Colonel to “complete the withdrawal from Germany,” and to “get us out of Africa,” according to new reporting by Axios.

Col Macgregor, who had just been offered the post of senior adviser to acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller, with only ten weeks left of Mr Trump’s term in office, told Mr McEntee he didn’t think such a drastic move would be possible before the president’s term was up.

“Then do as much as you can,” Mr McEntee said, according to Axios.


  • …Bronze Age tribal society that no amount of American treasure and blood could have ever saved from itself. Hamid Karzai, will get a lot of media attention pointing his finger at the United States and our allies.
  • The truth is the country needed a George Washington and they didn’t have one. They had men like Karzai, self dealers and kleptocrats. Never again should the United States military be deployed to do development work on the basis of Ivory Tower fantasies about the spread of democracy.
  • We will see tremendous tragedy play out over the next Weeks and months. Bad faith Republicans who have declared war on democracy within our borders will try and blame Biden for the collapse. The truth is the Afghan war was lost the moment the mission changed from killing terrorists to nation building. We should have left years ago. 
  • The United States has wasted two trillion dollars in Afghanistan and all it has to show for the effort is a well equipped 300,000 man Afghan army that will collapse without fighting. We have postponed this hour of inevitable reckoning for many years. Soon we will see the evil of totalitarianism combined with religious fanaticism inflict brutal carnage on innocent people. We have done all we can to save them.
  • When we watch the disaster unfold it should remind us how precious and fragile our democracy is and how close we are to seeing the flame of liberty being extinguished in this country. The valor, sacrifice and heroism of American, Canadian, British/NATO forces should never be forgotten or disrespected. The lessons from this lost war should never be forgotten. 

  • From 2003-2013, diplomatic negotiations repeatedly collapsed, Iran continuously expanded its enrichment program, “all options were on the table,” and the United States had to work hard to convince Israel not to conduct a preventive attack. 2/x 
  • The deal that was finalized in 2015 substantially rolled back Iran’s nuclear capacity. You probably know the basics: 98% of enriched uranium eliminated, 2/3 of centrifuges removed, no enriching with advanced centrifuges, no reprocessing, stringent monitoring procedures, etc. 3/x 
  • What many people don’t seem aware of is how historically unique this deal is: never before had the United States rolled back an adversary’s nuclear program that was so close to the weapons threshold —and done so diplomatically rather than through war. 4/x 
  • While the US struck a deal to dismantle Libya’s nuclear program in 2003, it had made very little progress at the time so Qaddafi wasn’t giving up nearly as much as Iran did a decade later. 5/x 
  • The US also rolled back Iraq’s nuclear program in the 1990s but it too was much less advanced than Iran’s in 2013. And it was done mostly through brute force, not diplomacy, leaving more space for uncertainty about intentions that helped justify the 2003 war. 6/x 
  • The closest analogue to the JCPOA is probably the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea, which defused a serious nuclear crisis peacefully. 7/x 
  • Yet even this deal was less impressive than the JCPOA: it required North Korea to freeze rather than roll back capabilities and allowed Pyongyang to keep the significant amount of plutonium it had already produced. 8/x 
  • None of this history stopped critics from attacking the JCPOA as “too weak”—whether due to its sunset provisions, failure to totally end enrichment in Iran, or failure to address Iran’s non-nuclear behavior. 9/x 
  • Yet all of this misses the point: there is essentially no historical precedent for believing a significantly better deal was possible with an adversary like Iran with decades of mistrust of the US. 10/x 
  • When Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 and imposed “maximum pressure”, I opposed the move—given that Iran had been complying and that it would almost certainly lead Iran to ramp up its nuclear program as it had been pre-2013. 11/x 
  • Trump’s move gave JCPOA critics an opportunity to test the theory they could get a “better deal.” Instead, Iran dramatically expanded its nuclear program on multiple fronts and the U.S. and Iran came close to war on multiple occasions. 12/x 
  • Despite this massive policy failure, once Biden assumed the presidency, JCPOA opponents continued to argue that Biden should seek a “better deal” rather than seeking to rejoin—flying in the face not of only of decades-old historical precedent but also the *last three years* 13/x 
  • Even now, as negotiations on reviving the JCPOA drag on and Iran enriches to 60% and produces uranium metal, you still hear calls for a “better deal”—even though the reality is that no deal at all is probably more likely than an enhanced agreement at this stage. 14/x 
  • I don’t have any profound way of concluding this thread, other than to say that the opposition to the JCPOA is just one example of the hubris that has often driven U.S. policy toward adversaries with nuclear ambitions since 9/11.

More on that here:

• • •




Liked it? Take a second to support Community on Patreon!

This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here