The President of the United States just exposed his astounding ignorance of statecraft and his inability to conceive of things in terms unrelated to his lifestyle of opulence and excesses.
During a recent meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Trump grew very frustrated that we’ve haven’t “won” the war in Afghanistan yet, which is understandable seeing as we’ve been battling the Taliban for sixteen years and have almost nothing to show for it, but it’s up to the President to set the strategy for the operation – and Trump has failed to do so as of yet.
NBC News reveals that Trump’s tendency to adopt the opinion of the last person he talked to is still very strong, as a meeting with a group of veterans convinced him that our NATO allies aren’t doing enough in Afghanistan while the Chinese reap all the profits from Afghanistan’s minerals – unaware that we had supported the Chinese investment when it was made ten years ago.
He tried to convince the Joint Chiefs to fire Gen. John Nicholson, who currently commands the Afghanistan operation but appears to have been talked out of it.
In his attempts to make his points clear to the generals, Trump chose to use a metaphor that was more his speed and compared a military operation involving thousands of soldiers from 40 nations and billions of dollars to the renovation of his favorite New York restaurant:
Trump told his advisers that the restaurant, Manhattan’s elite ’21’ Club, had shut its doors for a year and hired an expensive consultant to craft a plan for a renovation. After a year, Trump said, the consultant’s only suggestion was that the restaurant needed a bigger kitchen.
Officials said Trump kept stressing the idea that lousy advice cost the owner a year of lost business and that talking to the restaurant’s waiters instead might have yielded a better result. He also said the tendency is to assume if someone isn’t a three-star general he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and that in his own experience in business talking to low-ranking workers has gotten him better outcomes.
It would be quite a sight to see the faces of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as they were told by this spoiled man-child about how they needed to run the United States military by taking the advice of the grunts on the ground, rather than the men who have risen through the ranks through decades of service and accomplishment.
Former Gen. McCaffery commented on Trump’s idea to MSNBC, saying that “one of the last things you necessarily want to do is form policy advice based on what the current combatants think about something in a war zone. They’re qualified totally to talk about tactics and things like that and what they’re seeing, but the president’s job is to formulate strategy and policy not to do tactical decisions.”
When one puts it like that, Trump’s great idea sounds like just another way for him to pass the buck for his own failures.
Officials say Defense Secretary Mattis returned to the White House “visibly upset” after the meeting, stunned by the ignorance and stubbornness of the man who somehow became our Commander-in-Chief. He later offered a rousing defense of General Nicholson, saying “I’ve known him for many years. I can’t imagine a more capable commander in any, on any mission.”
While it’s understandable to question our nation’s strategy in this interminable war that has led to tens of thousands of deaths and the waste of trillions of dollars, Trump’s ignorance and the disrespect he shows his staff continues to astonish with every day that passes.