Gage Skidmore / Flickr trump speaking...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Donald Trump is flummoxed by the reality that the protracted war in Afghanistan is more complicated than he thought and that his generals haven’t flipped the magic switch there after he essentially gave them unfettered authority on strategy. It’s not an entirely new phenomenon for a U.S. president, but naturally Trump managed to set himself apart from his predecessors. NBC News writes:

Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush went through multiple strategies over the course of their presidencies to try to stabilize Afghanistan. What set Trump apart in the July [19] meeting was his open questioning of the quality of the advice he was receiving.

During the meeting, Trump criticized his military advisers seated around the table in the White House Situation Room for what he said was a losing U.S. position in the war, according to the senior administration officials. At one point the president directed his frustration at [Defense Sec.] Mattis, saying Trump had given the military authority months ago to make advances in Afghanistan and yet the U.S. was continuing to lose ground, the officials said.

“We aren’t winning,” Trump complained, according to these officials. “We are losing.”

Yep, Donald—the “winning” hasn’t started yet.

But don’t worry, Trump’s had experience with the complexities of decisions like these.

Trump compared the policy review process to the renovation of a famed New York restaurant in the 1980s, officials said.

Trump told his advisers that the restaurant, Manhattan’s elite ’21’ Club, had shut its doors for a year and hired an expensive consultant to craft a plan for a renovation. After a year, Trump said, the consultant’s only suggestion was that the restaurant needed a bigger kitchen.

Fortunately, Trump knew exactly what to do—find a scapegoat.

Trump repeatedly suggested that Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford replace Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Also he wants to plunder the country’s resources.

He lamented that China is making money off of Afghanistan’s estimated $1 trillion in rare minerals while American troops are fighting the war, officials said. Trump expressed frustration that his advisers tasked with figuring out how the U.S. can help American businesses get rights to those minerals were moving too slowly, one official said.

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


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