Trump supporters think he has this 2020 re-election in the bag and I agree he will win, but that prediction has an air of uncertainty about it — because Trump’s base — and a huge majority of the American electorate — left and right and every step in between — is sick and tired of the US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and other hot spots, and although not all of them require complete closure for political satisfaction, they do want to see a reduction in these entanglements, not more increases.
In Afghanistan, there are approximately 9,800 U.S. troops taking part in Resolute Support, which aims to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions in their fight against the Taliban and other terrorist networks.
To be honest, I thought President Donald Trump had us on the way out of there — before the latest Taliban attacks on the eve of the meeting — prolonged a process that has already taken a decade too long.
The Afghan people do not need to live under the heel of the Taliban, but the only way for them to emerge from that position is for them to fight and defeat The Taliban themselves.
Have we prepared them as much as possible for that struggle?
I don’t know the answer to that question, only time will tell, but the question remains, are there clear and achievable goals for our military that justify our continued involvement? I don’t even think the Pentagon can honestly assert that to be true.
In Iraq, there are about 4,000–6,000 troops taking part in Operation Inherent Resolve, which aims to eliminate ISIS. Only 5,262 troops are authorized to be in Iraq, but the actual numbers have been larger for a while as commanders leverage what they call temporary — or “non-enduring” — assignments like the one involving the 82nd Airborne in Mosul.
I don’t honestly think Iraq is stable either militarily and/or civilly. I don’t honestly think the continued presence of US troops there is good for us or them, but I also think taking them out, would likely cause an even bigger problem, in the short run. Trump will have his hands full here making decisions that are not the status quo, if he tries anything new he will get push back from the Dems because they have TDS and cannot think rationally, from his Cabinet and the Pentagon because they crave a war front, and from average Americans who feel like we invaded Iraq, we shouldn’t sneak away in the night, after applying a little stucco to cover the bullet holes in the fence walls.
In Syria, there are 500 U.S. special forces and 250 Army Rangers also in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The Pentagon was mulling sending an additional 1,000 service members to the war-torn country. The Kurds also got air cover, which Trump is also withdrawing.
Those numbers above do not reflect Trump’s recent decision to leave and dissolve, Operation Inherent Resolve. This is the meat of the matter for many SWING Trump supporters, people who voted for him reluctantly in 2016 (swing voters understand what a warmonger Hillary Clinton is) and could be persuaded away in 2020, but gambled in 2016 on Trump because they liked his promise to get the US out of the foreign war entanglement mess in the middle east. These people support Israel and a strong military, BUT they view unpopular, never-ending, budget-busting wars as a drain on America’s strength.
In Kuwait, there are about 15,000 soldiers spread among Camp Arifjan, Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, and Ali Al Salem Air Base. About 3,800 soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team also deployed there late last year. I’m not sure about this, but I don’t think these troops are as a much a drain financially as they normally would be, because of Kuwaiti reimbursement, but I can’t find a reference on this yet.
In Poland, there are about 3,500 soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team as part of Atlantic Resolve, which seeks to halt Russian aggression. These soldiers will help train local forces and provide security, eventually fanning out to other countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary to do the same. Same thing here as in Kuwait, I think the Poles are helping offset our costs here.
In Ukraine, there are approximately 250 Oklahoma National Guardsmen training Ukrainian forces in support of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.
In Somalia, there about 40 troops from the 101st Airborne division assisting the central government in training their forces and fighting the terrorist group al-Shabab.
These numbers are a big improvement, which was the original point of this post, that Trump is keeping his promise to minimize and/or eliminate our foreign war boot print, and this has been observed by the swing voters, it is an issue they care about and his honesty on this issue will ensure his re-election.