8/16/17 Andrew Bacevich on Trump’s eventual Afghanistan decision

Andrew Bacevich, author of “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History” joins Scott to discuss his article for The American Conservative “Yes Congress, Afghanistan is Your Vietnam.” Bacevich explains that the division between Trump’s advisors on how to proceed in Afghanistan has created a stalemate in the Oval Office. It’s noteworthy, Bacevich says, that there hasn’t been a comprehensive report from the Trump administration outlining the United States’s foreign policy mission. On the one hand it seems like Trump has handed the reigns over to the military in certain conflicts and has been controlling in others, which has created disarray Bacevich says. Bacevich contrasts Donald Trump with his predecessors George W. Bush and Barack Obama who, by comparison, are intellectual stalwarts. Bacevich says the one possible benefit of Trump’s erraticism is that he has, so far, rejected U.S. foreign policy of the past 25 years. But while Trump may have noninterventionist tendencies, his lack of a coherent, principled plan means that he often veers off course into violent conflicts all the same.

Andrew Bacevich is a Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at Boston University. He is the author of a number of books including “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History” and is a regular contributor at The American Conservative and TomDispatch.com.

Don’t forget to check out Scott’s new book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan.

Discussed on the show:

  • “Thousands More Troops Needed To Break Afghanistan ‘Stalemate,’ General Warns” (NPR)
  • Erik Prince
  • “Bannon & Kushner Want to Outsource Afghanistan to Mercenaries,” by Mark Perry (The American Conservative)
  • James Mattis
  • H.R. McMaster
  • “The Knives Are Out for Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster” (Foreign Policy)
  • “I agree with Pres. Obama on Afghanistan. We should have a speedy withdrawal. Why should we keep wasting our money — rebuild the U.S.!” (Donald Trump, via Twitter)
  • John Bolton

Quote of the show: “In comparison to Trump, George W. Bush looks like Bismark.” —Andrew Bacevich

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