How low can the president stoop?

WhiteHouse.gov

Article Highlights

  • Obama to keep less than 10,000 troops in Afghanistan through 2014 and remove completely by end of 2016

    Tweet This

  • Afghanistan troop decision a reminder of president's strategic failure and partisanship

    Tweet This

  • Next admininistration to be left with politically difficult decision of reversing course

    Tweet This

Today in the Rose Garden, President Obama announced that he’s going to keep a little under 10,000 troops in Afghanistan through 2014, half that number by the end of 2015, and will have all those forces out by the end of 2016. Putting aside the fact that this is the lowest number military advisors estimated was necessary to maintain training and some counterterrorism capability in country over not just one year but several, the decision to halve and then zero out those forces by 2016 is a reminder not only of how seriously unserious this president on strategic matters can be but also how cynically partisan he is. 

By pulling out all the troops in 2016, and perhaps before the consequences are fully felt in Afghanistan, he will be leaving for his successor the politically difficult decision of reversing course with all the attendant downsides of once again putting troops in harm’s way. But such ploys are not new to this president. Remember the Afghanistan “surge”--low on numbers as well but also timed to end before the 2012 election. In any case, by structuring the decision and timeline as he has, Obama and his crew know full well that this issue will then become a bone of contention within the GOP primary, with every debate moderator asking: “Would you put troops back into Afghanistan?"

I suppose if there is any positive thing that might come out of the president’s ploy it’s that conservatives will get to see pretty quickly which of the GOP contenders in 2016 has a strategic backbone. 

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Gary J.
Schmitt

What's new on AEI

Holder will regret his refusal to obey the Constitution
image 'Flood Wall Street' climate protesters take aim at their corporate allies
image 3 opportunities for better US-India defense ties
image Is Nicolás Maduro Latin America's new man at the United Nations?
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 29
    MON
  • 30
    TUE
  • 01
    WED
  • 02
    THU
  • 03
    FRI
Thursday, October 02, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Campbell Brown talks teacher tenure

We welcome you to join us as Brown shares her perspective on the role of the courts in seeking educational justice and advocating for continued reform.

Friday, October 03, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Harnessing the power of markets to tackle global poverty: A conversation with Jacqueline Novogratz

AEI welcomes you to this Philanthropic Freedom Project event, in which Novogratz will describe her work investing in early-stage enterprises, what she has learned at the helm of Acumen, and the role entrepreneurship can play in the fight against global poverty.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.