22:31 GMT +319 February 2019
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    President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday, April 6, 2017, after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria Thursday night in retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians.

    Does Trump’s New ‘Military First’ Policy Put the Pentagon in Charge?

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    The world has watched -- sometimes with mounting anxieties -- the Pentagon’s military maneuverings over the last several weeks. Radio Sputnik’s Brian Becker spoke with Ann Wright, a retired Army Colonel and former State Department official, and anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, about what may well be going on behind the closed doors of Washington.

    US President Donald Trump has boasted a number of military moves over the course of the last two weeks. From his Tomahawk cruise missile strike on a Syrian airfield, the dispatching of a carrier naval group to the Korean Peninsula, and the unleashing the "mother of all bombs" on Afghanistan, analysts worldwide have a lot to work out. Is there a broader strategy to all of this?

    ​Ann Wright served for 29 years in the US Army and for 16 at the State Department, where she resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq under George W. Bush.  

    "I am very discouraged and very worried about this," she told Loud & Clear host Becker. "Donald Trump last week told in a press conference that he's give the US military total authorization, and whatever they do is fine with him."

    Certainly, Trump's reversal on his campaign's foreign policy positions may be motivated by something quite concrete. As Becker noted, after the events of the past two weeks, many of Trump's critics have started to change their tunes, shifting from fierce opposition to praise, and congratulating Trump for "acting presidential."

    "It was very striking to me that to be considered presidential, the US president has to become a war criminal," Cindy Sheenan told Becker.

    The problem here, according to Becker, may lie in Trump's personality. Calling Trump a "narcissist," Becker noted that this new "presidential" praise may well encourage him to stay this new course in the future.

    But as Wright argues, to attribute the US' most recent military moves to Trump alone may miss the mark. If what the president said is true, some, if not all, of these decisions have been made in large part by the generals, not by the commander-in-chief.

    Time will tell, it seems, but as Becker notes, the US may soon have the military as a complete substitute for civilian diplomacy.


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    Foreign policy, military action, Pentagon, Donald Trump, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Afghanistan, Syria, United States
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