WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – On Monday, Trump announced a new US strategy for Afghanistan and pledged to continue support for the Afghan authorities in their fight against Islamic extremists. The US president said the United States will not be involved in nation building, but in defeating terrorists.
"Building up there army smacks of ‘nation building,’ but Trump eschews this, yet there is no alternative to building up the Afghan army other than the US staying there in perpetuity," Spinney said on Tuesday.
Any definition of success, he added, involves somehow getting Afghan security forces to a level of competence to neutralize the Taliban "otherwise, we have to cut a deal with the Taliban, which would be an admission of failure."
"The problem of building the Afghan army into a capable fighting force has been unsolvable to date, notwithstanding the expenditures of gobs of money. Yet Trump’s speech did not address how to address this problem," Spinney said.
"Obama screwed this problem up in 2009 during the debate in the lead up to his idiotic surge which like Trump’s surge plan, was foisted on to him by the military and its neocon allies. I wrote a paper on why the Obama surge plan would not work … my assessment was proven correct," he said.
Trump was passively following what US generals told him to do but they had no new ideas to change US political strategy or even patterns of tactical operations that had only produced failure consistently in the past, Spinney observed.
The US president "is now a prisoner of the military, yet the military is trying to redeem failure by reinforcing what has failed in the past," he said.
Trump had focused on giving the US armed forces more freedom to unleash their destructive power in Afghanistan, but this would only further shatter the bonds of civil society in that country and make conditions worse, not better, playing into the hands of Islamist extremists, Spinney warned.
Former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said in a statement on Tuesday that Trump's new strategy toward his country was against its national interest.