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Trump said we’d get ‘tired’ of winning so much, so why does the US keep losing?
The book "Strange Defeat" details how France was conquered by Nazi Germany in 1940, but it could just as well describe President Donald Trump's record as commander in chief.
For someone who crows about winning all the time, the president seems to lose quite a bit. Since October 6, he has given Turkish President Recep Tayyip everything he has ever wanted by abandoning the U.S. military's best allies in Syria, allowing Turkey to establish a safe zone along its border with Turkey that expels all Kurdish forces, and withdrawing most U.S. troops from northeast Syria – allowing Russia to fill the vacuum.
What did he get in return? He gets to gloat that he made good on his campaign promise to end one of the U.S. military's commitments overseas and bring the troops home. (Although, a better way of saying it is that he allowed Turkey to chase out U.S. forces, who had to leave Syria so quickly that they did not have time to take high value ISIS prisoners into custody and they had to bomb one of their own ammunition dumps.)
Trump does not have a great record when it comes to foreign policy. His maximum pressure campaign to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program has resulted in the Navy losing a $110 million drone and the Pentagon having to deploy thousands of troops to Saudi Arabia after attacks on Saudi oil refineries, which the U.S. government has blamed on Iran.
While Trump wisely walked away from a bad deal on North Korea's nuclear weapons, he has also given Kim Jong Un carte blanche to test ballistic missiles.
The president may very well face impeachment proceedings over allegations that he used a military assistance package to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
And the trade war that Trump declared on Chinese goods certainly hasn't helped farmers.
Despite his reputation as a successful businessman and a skilled negotiator, the president has shown he makes strategic decisions largely based on how he feels about foreign leaders, such as Erdogan, Kim, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he has a strong rapport.
But since Trump has often pledged to end the Forever Wars, U.S. troops in Afghanistan should have their junk on a bunk in case the president tweets late one night that he has reached a deal with the Taliban to restore the Islamic Emirate.
It is likely the president will eventually withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan – with or without a peace deal with the Taliban – because Trump has made clear he wants out, said Bill Roggio, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank in Washington, D.C.
"It's a campaign promise that he made," Roggio told Task & Purpose. "He wants to stick by it. He's taking on the mantra of ending the endless wars and he wants to follow through on that. He tried to do this recently in Afghanistan. It failed because a peace deal couldn't be reached but I believe he'll try again."
Even if Trump withdraws U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the war there won't end, Roggio said. The Taliban would take over large parts of the country, but it is also likely that the country would lapse into civil war for years.
At this point, many of you can rightly point out that this reporter is talking out of both sides of his mouth. Your friend and humble narrator has often criticized the White House, the Pentagon, and Congress of dereliction of duty for not coming up with a strategy to end the Forever Wars.
The U.S. military cannot stay in Iraq and Afghanistan indefinitely and the U.S. military's presence in Syria was a temporary solution that had become permanent because the American public largely didn't care about the mission.
But perhaps the president learned everything about foreign policy from the movie "Major League," wherein the owner of Cleveland Indians wants her team to finish the season in last place, thus driving down attendance to the point where she can relocate the franchise to Miami. (The film featured a young Charlie Sheen before his idea of winning was getting piss drunk and waving a machete from a rooftop.)
Trump's deep commitment to protecting the lives of U.S. troops is admirable, but the United States cannot become collaborators with Turkey, Russia, North Korea, and other countries that want to establish a new order. If the president really wants to lead a losing team, he can buy the Baltimore Orioles.
Jeff Schogol covers the Pentagon for Task & Purpose. He has covered the military for 14 years and embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq and Haiti. Prior to joining T&P, he covered the Marine Corps and Air Force at Military Times. Comments or thoughts to share? Send them to Jeff Schogol via email at email@example.com or direct message @JeffSchogol on Twitter.
The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.
In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.
With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Two immigrants, a pastor and an Army sergeant have been convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an illegal immigration scheme, according to federal prosecutors.
Rajesh Ramcharan, 45; Diann Ramcharan, 37; Sgt. Galima Murry, 31; and the Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty Thursday after a nine-day jury trial, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado.
The conspiracy involved obtaining immigration benefits for Rajesh Ramcharan, Diann Ramcharan, and one of their minor children, the release said. A married couple in 2007 came to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago on visitor visas. They overstayed the visas and settled in Colorado.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it was sending to Ukraine the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger plane that the Iranian military shot down this month, an accident that sparked unrest at home and added to pressure on Tehran from abroad.
Iran's Tasnim news agency also reported the authorities were prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine information from the data and voice recorders of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that came down on Jan. 8.
The plane disaster, in which all 176 aboard were killed, has added to international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long running row with the United States over its nuclear program that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.