Thursday, December 27, 2018

What's Next in Afghanistan?

Interesting look at what may happen if the President follows up on his stated objective of getting the US troops out of Afghanistan. While reading the article by Dr. Schroden my brain had several thoughts which I thought I'd jot down here.

First give President Trump some credit when it comes to negotiations. Yes he said he wants to pull the US troops out of Afghanistan but that was the equivalent of his opening offer. (Remember his opening offer to North Korea was nuclear war!) Afghan officials and other interested parties in the region (and the world) don't want to see that so they may come to the table with offers to help shoulder the load to avoid this. It occurs to me that Poland and other former Eastern Bloc counties could use some real-life combat experience to strengthen their position against Russia and what better place to get that experience than Afghanistan?

Also the article mentions the draw down of 7,000 troops in Afghanistan. Those 7,000 troops could be drawn down from other countries. We still have over 35,000 troops stationed in Germany. Trump could easily close a couple of the military bases we still maintain in Germany which would serve a dual purpose. First it would get those troops home and secondly it would be another negotiating chip to use in his trade war. The communities located near those closed bases in Germany would suffer economically and the message would be clear - do you want me to close more bases or do you want to lower your tariffs on US goods? 

The US still has over 54,000 troops stationed in Japan. President Trump has a good relationship with Japan PM Shinzo Abe and a win-win situation could easily be created by converting the US bases on Okinowa into bases under joint control of US and Japanese forces. The US could reduce the number of troops we have stationed there to make room for the Japanese troops and this development would be a boost to PM Abe's political standing while getting even more US troops home. President Trump could even have Japan buy some more F-35's and a new missile defense system to sweeten the pot.

A stronger Japan militarily also acts as a buffer to China as the two are historic rivals.

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