foreign-policy

Opinion: Echoes of Vietnam in Trump’s Afghan About-Face
Instinct may be to avoid the appearance of losing a war

President Donald Trump reflected that “decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office” while he was outlining a new approach in Afghanistan Monday night. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is the seventh president since the end of World War II who inherited on taking office his predecessor’s war or the planning for one. And like most of these American presidents Trump decided that the most important strategic consideration was not to publicly lose a war on his watch.

No president wants to replicate the experience of Jerry Ford watching images of the last desperate helicopters taking off from the American embassy in Saigon as North Vietnamese troops battered down the gates.

On Afghanistan, Trump Bets On Generals He Once Criticized
President says ‘my original instinct was to pull out’

U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson (right) shakes hands with troops ahead of a handover ceremony at Leatherneck Camp in Lashkar Gah in the Afghan province of Helmand on April 29, 2017. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

Candidate Donald Trump often said he knew more when it came to the country’s foes than America’s top military leaders. But by siding with retired and current four-star generals on Afghanistan, Trump placed a big bet on a group he once believed had been “reduced to rubble.”

Trump announced Monday night at Joint Base Fort Myer Hamilton Hall in Arlington, Va., he will keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan despite his long-held disdain for the operation there. The president’s decision came after a months-long review by his national security team, and reports indicate he will raise the American military presence there to around 12,000.

Beefing Up Afghan Troop Level Would Be Major Shift for Trump
In 2012, he called conflict ‘complete waste,’ adding, ‘Time to come home!’

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Melissa Fusco gives candy to an Afghan boy on the streets in Logar Province in Afghanistan in 2009. President Donald Trump will address the nation Monday night on his plan for U.S. military operations there. (Courtesy Spc. Richard Jones/Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump is expected to announce Monday night that he is sending thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, breaking with his yearslong disdain for the nearly 16-year-old conflict there.

As a candidate, Trump rarely talked about the Afghanistan War and stability operation other than to disparage it. He used it as an example of why his nationalistic approach would be better than any of his Republican or Democratic foes, arguing the George W. Bush and Obama administrations had wasted billions of dollars there for little strategic gain.

Trump to Address Afghanistan Strategy Monday Night
Reports: President leaning toward keeping 4,000 U.S. troops there

President Donald Trump will make an announcement on Afghanistan on Monday night. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump will address U.S. military forces Monday evening about his new plan for the country’s nearly 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.

As a candidate and president, Trump often has maligned the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations for spending trillions too much in military operations overseas since the 9/11 attacks.

Rohrabacher: Assange Info Will Have ‘Earth-Shattering Political Impact’
California congressman met with Wikileaks founder in London

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said Wikileaks founder Julian Assange “reiterated his aggressive denial” that the Russians had anything to do with the Democratic National Committee hack. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who the congressman said denied that Russia was involved in sending him emails from the Democratic National Committee

WikiLeaks published emails from the Democratic National Committee, which led to the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Trump Approval Rating Dips to Lowest Point of Presidency
Poll shows drop in support for president among Republicans from June to August

President Donald Trump's approval ratings among Republicans fell from 91 percent in June to 79 percent in a poll released Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s approval rating has sunk to its lowest point since he took office, with only 35 percent of Americans saying they viewed the job he’s done favorably, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The new Marist poll found that 55 percent disapprove of Trump after seven months on the job.

Pence Tamps Down Trump’s Military-in-Venezuela Talk
In region, VP talks up American economic and diplomatic tools

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivers a joint press conference with Argentina's President Mauricio Macri (out of frame) after a meeting at the Olivos Presidential residence in Olivos, Buenos Aires on August 15, 2017. (JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence continued his attempts to cool fears in South America that President Donald Trump will plunge the U.S. military into Venezuela’s ongoing political unrest.

At just about every turn since Pence landed on the continent Sunday evening, the vice president has been quick to deploy two very different words: economic and diplomatic.

Russia Portfolio Comes in Handy for Senate Staffer
Shaheen aide Naz Durakoglu comes via Atlantic Council, State Dept., House

Naz Durakoglu is a senior foreign policy adviser to New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. (Screenshot, Middle East Institute)

Naz Durakoglu started her new job working for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in early June, shortly after the New Hampshire Democrat had pushed to add Russia sanctions to an Iran sanctions bill as it moved through the Foreign Relations Committee.

But after Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee said he would move ahead with a bipartisan effort to tighten sanctions against Moscow, Shaheen withdrew her amendments. The timing, though, put Durakoglu, as a senior foreign policy adviser to Shaheen, in the middle of discussions about how to respond to Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

Opinion: Congress’ Passive Response to North Korea: ‘Not My Table’
Lawmakers need to step up

When dealing with President Donald Trump — especially when problems with North Korea are looming — members of Congress should remember that they are part of a co-equal branch of government, Shapiro writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Just as he did back during Black History Month in February with his startling discovery that Frederick Douglass “is being recognized more and more,” Donald Trump demonstrated in Monday’s White House statement on Charlottesville, Virginia, that he can learn and grow in office.

In 48 short hours, Trump discovered that “racism is evil” and groups like “the KKK, neo-Nazis [and] white supremacists … are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Rubio Receives Increased Security After Reported Venezuelan Death Order
Senator has had a security detail in Washington and Miami

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has been one of the most vocal critics of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has received increased security in light of an order by Venezuelan leaders reportedly putting a death order on him.

Rubio, who has been a fervent critic of the Venezuelan government and leader Nicolas Maduro, has had a detail in both Washington and his home in Miami, the Miami Herald reported.