President Donald Trump delivered an intriguing address to the nation on Monday. It was intriguing not only because of the paucity of detail on what exactly his new policy on Afghanistan and South Asia would entail, but because of its apparent reliance on a sequenced military response with little light cast on diplomatic repercussions.
From the speech, it is hard to detect a clear aim. What exactly is the U.S. goal in Afghanistan? There have been two purported goals thus far: One is defeating the Taliban and stabilizing the country from Kabul; the other is to choke any future possibility of Afghanistan being a base for the export of terror as happened on 9/11. Neither is achievable any longer, if it ever was, by a primarily military onslaught. A few thousand additional troops cannot do the job, even if they are not bound by a time constraint as Trump suggested.