On Monday evening, Donald Trump made his “big speech” where he was supposed to discuss Afghanistan and the role the United States would have in the country going forward.
In case you missed it, let me summarize the gist of Trump’s “plan”: it’s essentially the exact same thing Barack Obama did.
In December 2009, Obama announced he would be sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. While Obama had always planned (or hoped, rather) to bring all U.S. troops home by the time he left office, ultimately he chose against that. Many feared that if American troops left, Afghanistan would turn into another ISIS stronghold like Syria.
From a troop surge, to calling out Pakistan for harboring terrorism, and even saying that one of his strategies was to bring the Taliban to the negotiation table to find a political solution to the 16-year war, nearly all aspects of Trump’s plan — at least in the few times he actually said anything specific since most of his speech was comprised of vague talking points — were basically the same things Obama said or did during his eight years as president.
Oh, but to listen to Trump, his plan is much… much better than anyone else’s, and nothing like Obama’s, because, well — he says so.
The only main difference between what Obama had done in Afghanistan, and what Trump said he was going to do Monday night, was an easing of restrictions on how military leaders could engage offensively. While that’s definitely a shift in policy, it’s hardly anything significant enough to say his strategy is vastly different than that of his predecessor.
Much like how Trump’s handled ISIS in Syria, his “plan” for Afghanistan, despite his boisterous, tough talk, is really nothing more than the same thing Obama had already been doing.
Like with many other things in life, Trump’s trying to take credit for the ideas of others, only claiming his “plan” is, of course, the best “plan” anyone has ever come up with.
It must be nice to be supported by people who believe anything you say, no matter how ridiculous.
The hypocritical part to Trump’s entire “Afghanistan plan” is that, for years, he criticized Obama for doing essentially the same thing he said he was planning to do on Monday, said we needed to bring out troops home, and even built a large part of his campaign on reducing American involvement in foreign conflicts.
“America first!,” Trump frequently shouted.
We all know by now that hypocrisy from Trump is nothing new. This is the same guy who:
- Criticized Mitt Romney for not being more transparent with his tax returns.
- Frequently attacked Obama for playing golf.
- Claimed that the incompetency of the previous administration was pushing us closer to WWIII.
- Often criticized Obama for taking any sort of personal trip or vacation.
Yet, as “president,” Trump has:
- Refused to release any of his tax returns.
- Played much more golf than Obama at the same point in his “presidency.”
- Used rhetoric many feel is pushing us closer to a nuclear war.
- Taken so many personal trips to his various properties and resorts that he’s on pace to cost taxpayers more in his first year in office than we spent on Obama during his eight years as president.
So it should never come as a surprise to anyone when Trump contradicts himself on something. As we’ve seen time and time again, he has absolutely no problem doing the very same things he’s criticized and attacked others for doing.
Nothing Trump said about Afghanistan surprised me. Seeing as he’s proven himself to be a pathological liar, I knew he wasn’t going to announce that he was pulling all American troops out of Afghanistan, which is what he said he would do before he was “elected.” Then being the type of unethical, bottom-feeder that he is, I figured he’d announce a plan that was essentially the same thing we’ve already been doing, and just like he often does, he’d take credit for the ideas or work of others.
All Donald Trump really did on Monday was try to take credit for a plan that’s effectively the same one Barack Obama had already put in place and implemented, all while contradicting nearly everything he said about the United States’ role in foreign conflicts both before and during his campaign.