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

Love people, not pleasure
image Oval Office lacks resolve on Ukraine
image Middle East Morass: A public opinion rundown of Iraq, Iran, and more
image Verizon's Inspire Her Mind ad and the facts they didn't tell you
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Event Registration is Closed
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

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