Mr Trump does a U turn on military intervention

Trump supporters do not mind if their President breaks the normal conventions of diplomacy or asserts US interests too brashly in his tweets. They might mind a bit more as he backs down from one of the main refrains of his campaign, that he would keep the USA out of many of the military interventions favoured by Mrs Clinton and the Democrat establishment. Mr Trump gave us the impression US troops would be coming home from Afghanistan.

The dismissal of Mr Bannon as Chief Strategist has placed Mr Trump more precariously dependent on the advice of the Generals in the White House who do not share Trump supporters scepticism about US military adventures abroad. Aware of the danger of his foreign policy looking like continuity Obama Mr Trump claimed his policy is new and different. The main differences he tells us are they will not go in for state building, and will win against the terrorists by using greater force.

Ruling out state building arguably makes it more difficult to get a long term success. Only if these troubled countries can establish moderate well supported governments that can turn people to building a more prosperous economy is their hope of stopping recruitment and deployment of more terrorists. If the US now does not wish to help do this, it may make things more troubled.

Saying more force can be used to defeat the terrorists is also not easy. These terrorists belong to a bewildering array of differing and fluctuating groups and cells. There is no single ISIL army to be defeated in the field. They embed in the civilian population, making it inevitable that the more force you use the more civilians you are likely to kill. Given the distrust of Sunni for Shia and vice versa, if the west targets one group of terrorists it can appear to be taking sides in a religious civil war which leads to resentment of the western forces. Some of those the US fights welcome martyrdom which adds to the risks. Years of bombing Middle Eastern targets, several invasions later, there is still a substantial terrorist problem in parts of the Middle East. Why should we believe that more bombs will crack it?

PS I now hear that the US Secretary of State shares these criticisms of his Presidents statement. According to the S of S the US will not have an easy win by using more force and will need to undertake negotiations and diplomacy to resolve the conflict!

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78 Comments

  1. Freeborn John
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood.

    Please stop writing articles about irrelevant matters like this. The government is making a total Horlicks of brexit and all efforts need to be directed to preventing the sell-out. Your articles are akin to discussing railway gauges on the eve of world war 1!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      I don’t know whether the government is making a total Horlicks of Brexit but they are certainly making a total Horlicks of their PR over Brexit.

      We’ve now had about twenty four hours of frenetic media speculation that we will end up still under the thumb of the ECJ even after we have left the EU, on the basis of an official statement which is being directly quoted but which I can’t track down about a position paper which has not yet been published …

      Now thanks to the unbelievable incompetence of the media unit in the Brexit department we have to have Theresa May herself chipping in to explain what it is all about, but then who will believe her?

      http://news.sky.com/story/may-supreme-court-will-be-ultimate-arbiter-of-uk-law-after-brexit-11001676

      “The Supreme Court will be the ultimate arbiter of law in the UK after Brexit, Theresa May has said … ”

      I’m sure I’m alone in detecting the hands of Remainer saboteurs.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 23, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        not alone

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 23, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        I’ve just seen a professor of EU law saying that the government has listed about eight alternative arrangements “it would be willing to accept”. That would include the mechanism of the EU-Moldova Association Agreement where an arbitration panel is automatically required to follow any judgment handed down by the ECJ. I don’t see the government actually saying in the paper that it would be prepared to accept that model, but never mind, the hare has been set running by saboteurs in David Davis’s department and euromaniac professors of EU law have been given licence to twist what is said in any way they please which may be in the interests of the EU.

        • forthurst
          Posted August 23, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          “The Supreme Court will be the ultimate arbiter of law in the UK after Brexit, Theresa May has said … ”

          The ECJ is the supreme authority in the arbitration of matters affecting the internal Single Market; however, when we our outside the Single Market, a third country, then it would be entirely inappropriate for the ECJ to be involved in the arbitration of disputes between us and the EU.

          To deny that ECJ tentacles would extend to the interpretation of UK law post brexit is a red herring. demonstrating that the government haven’t a clue what deal they are prepared to accept and what they will finish up with over trade disputes with the EU post brexit.

        • acorn
          Posted August 23, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          Denis, I am waiting for someone to realize that the UK is one of only two EU states, that use a Common Law system, the other twenty six states use Statute Law.

          High Court Judges (and above) in the UK can set legal “precedents” that bind lower Courts. UK Judges accept the precedents set by the ECJ, up to and including the UK Supreme Court.

          It will be interesting to see how Mrs May is planning to disconnect UK superior court judges, from forty odd years of ECJ precedents, many of which are now firmly embedded in UK Common Law.

    • sm
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      It’s my very strong impression that Mr Redwood is making a huge effort, both within Government and in the media, to ensure that Brexit is going to work, and that the public know about it.

      Also discussing matters such as the chaotic government of our greatest ally is NOT irrelevant in my opinion.

      Reply I have no wish to run a single subject site on Brexit going over and over the same ground when very little real is happening. They are going to make it last 19 months

    • nigel seymour
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Sorry old chap but I suggest you just don’t read it, There are lot’s out there who value not only JR’s opinions but many of the informed observations that some of his readers make. I can’t stand soaps, so I don’t watch or read about them – it’s quite simple really…

    • agricola
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      While I could not agree more with you that the real issues are being side stepped lest our opinions are too apposite. In fact railway gauges were very relevant in both WW1 & WW2.

      • Mitchel
        Posted August 23, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Margaret Macmillan in her book on the Versailles Peace conference”The Peacemakers” informs us that when the Polish state was resurrected from the collapsed empires of central Europe after WWI it had to contend with 66 kinds of rails and 165 types of locomotives on it’s territory!

    • Terry
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Be thankful that you may write your pseudonym. “Free born”.
      This subject matter maybe irrelevant to you but there are those who think otherwise.
      Such is the freedom of being born in a civilised, democratic society. We can choose because we have choices. Unlike those under Taliban rule, unless you consider, “Live” or “Die” valid choices.

      I personally think Mr Trump has been brave to admit his original judgement over the US presence in Afghanistan, was wrong. He has been honest and corrected it before the Taliban, already poised, could take over the country again.
      Some may forget that it was the Taliban who gave a home and a secure base to the Al Qaeda terrorists and Bin Laden, their leader. If it was not for George Bush they would still be there. exacerbating world problems. Does anyone want them back?

      So, I do not understand why the MSM is now attacking Mr Trump over his revised decision. How can political leaders be expected be right first time, all the time? Particularly aggravating when those that complained about the original decision now complain over the change of view. Rank hypocrisy comes to mind but we do know the MSM is pro Establishment, therefore anti-Trump.

      Who knows what the savage Taliban will do again if they ever get to control that country? Therefore the risk is far too great to chance it.

      The free world should now appreciate the Americans more. for it is they who are putting up their money and their military on the line, to try and secure a safer, free world for all of us.
      The only other super powers that have the capability to do it, choose not to and now sit on the fence, waiting to take over the world. Meanwhile we reduce our military manpower.

  2. zorro
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Alas, Afghanistan has too many ‘natural resources’ which the deep state will not to want stop exploiting/controlling. Trump must be wary of too many generals having too much influence over foreign policy. They can’t resist interfering (McMaster, Kelly, and Mattis). Doubtless, we will have an ‘Air Afghanistan’ film in a few years time…..

    zorro

  3. formula57
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Presumably it is understood in government that the UK must stay well out of this adventure and do so despite any NATO obligations?

    Sadly, Mr. Trump’s lack of understanding of how politics works means he is constantly being played by various groups. Let us hope the Generals now playing him studied the Vietnam War in staff college.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Rubbish!While Brexit is no doubt a crucial issue for most readers here,many of us do not want to read and discuss the minutiae of it day after day ad nauseam;there is a wider world out there that cannot and should not be ignored.

      Afghanistan is important-not itself(personally I don’t care whether the Taliban take back control),but because of it’s strategic significance close to Iran,Russia and China who want the US out of their backyard and could therefore be explosive,especially as all these powers are now resurgent unlike when the West first entered the fray.

      It’s also significant because it further shows how the deep state has regained control in the US which may have implications for the Trump/Brexit tendency elsewhere.

      • Mitchel
        Posted August 23, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        Sorry,my comment is directed at “Freeborn John” not “formula 57”

    • Chris
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      “Presumably it is understood in government that the UK must stay well out of this” You must be joking. Sir Michael Fallon is itching to start bombing someone, anyone in fact. He intimated recently that he was prepared to use military action against cyber hackers! The false flag gas attacks in Syria nearly prompted him to start bombing more than we do already. He is already on record as promising more drones and aircraft to Afganhistan!

  4. Mark B
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    There are no ‘terrorists’ in Afghanistan. Just various warring factions and warlords.

    One of the greatest generals in military history realised the futility of trying to conquer such a land and a people. Instead, he married a senior warlords daughter and paid many of the rest off with gold. All this to gain easy passage to India. But who cares what Alexander the Great did, not when compared to the Gold Braid laden bomb all ye come generals of today.

    So young men, and possibly women too, will be killed and maimed because a few big-wigs refuse to learn lessons of the past.

    If you want peace in Afghanistan, there is really only one way. And that is to literally depopulate it. Afghanistan is a country in name only whose national pass times are kite flying and settling old scores.

    A very bad decision has been made.

    • eeyore
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      If the US were to take a leaf out of imperial Britain’s book and enlist a regiment or two of Afghans in their military, as we did the Gurkhas, I think it possible that they
      might win many hearts and minds and do everyone some good.

      I suspect that good weapons, handsome pay and a pledge of US citizenship after service would go down well with the brave but ragged scallywags of that formidable fighting nation.

  5. Bert Young
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    There is no evidence that outside presence in Afghanistan – military or otherwise , will bring about peace and stability ; from Victorian times onwards this has been the case . Trump should stick to his promises . Certainly we must not get involved . It has always been a centre of tribal dispute – much like other areas of the Middle East .

    • Polyp
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      It has been noted from Baby Bush to Obama that Extreme Islamic Terrorists deploy more resources on their own soil if they have soldiers to attack on their own soil, rather than a shopping mall here and there. Also our home-bred terrorists go to join their friends abroad. Mrs May just didn’t get the point that we should not stop terrorsts leaving and when they attempt to come back we stop them. She’ll get the hang of being Prime Minister eventually, she just needs time.

  6. mickc
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I trust you will oppose any attempt by the Government to send UK troops to support this foolish endeavour….

  7. Sakara Gold
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    To defeat Daesh-type extremism by followers of the Sunni muslim Wahaabist sect (who hold that all kuffar unbelievers should be killed) we will need to cut off their funding. To do that, we will have to tackle the source of their money, which is unpalatable to the UK government because it comes from a middle east country that is a major importer of UK arms. We will also need better intelligence from within these groups, which is a matter for GCHQ and the security service.

    Setting up a technical education system in the Muslim world ultimately would also help in the long term.

    • zorro
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      It would help if the government published its own report on the funding of thses extremists!!!

      zorro

  8. ChrisS
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    The key difference between the failed interventionist policies of the past is that President Trump does not wish to impose Western values and political solutions on Afghanistan or anywhere else.

    That at least is some progress.

    Clearly to expect every country to function under a parliamentary democracy was always a policy doomed to fail.

  9. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    The German Kaiser a century ago was impetuous and said things. He also did things without consideration on the spur of the moment. He was head of a very powerful military state in a world of conflicting military powers. He surrounded himself with generals who, of course, preferred a military solution to difficult problems.

    Mr Trump, of course, is completely different…

    • E.S. Tablishment
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Well spotted! The German Kaiser for one thing, was a loser!

    • AdamC
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard.. agreed.. and then when he the British and the Russian cousins the Czars together witn their other cousin the Kaiser had all done their worst and after millions had been killed.. the kaiser was allowed to retire in asylum into the Netherlands..nobody was held to account for this genocide of millions of young people. One law for for the better offs and another for the plebs!

  10. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Not a single drop of UK blood should be spilled on these feudal barbarians . They do not believe in democracy and should be left to fend for themselves.
    As the Russians found out to great cost there is no changing the ways of the Afghanis.
    Donald will learn at leasure how his predecessors failed and he is doomed to follow.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Russia has started a diplomatic initiative involving the Taliban,the Afghan government and other regional powers-excluding the USA.There was a conference in Moscow a couple of weeks ago;I saw former President Karzai interviewed about it.

      I’m sure this snub hugely annoys the US (particularly as Russia is doing the same with regard to Syria and Libya too).The US military has also accused the Iranians of directly and the Russians of indirectly supplying arms to the Taliban.Not sure if any proof has been forthcoming though.

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    And while we are discussing the latest news on the policies and actions of the US President on the other side of the Atlantic large sections of the UK mass media are reporting that we will remain under the jurisdiction of the EU’s ECJ even after we have left the EU, and the Department for Exiting the European Union cannot be bothered to confirm or deny these reports or offer any kind of explanation of the government’s intentions.

    Why, I ask, is the department trailing its position papers in the media so that hostile journalists have the maximum chance to invent their criticisms before the general public even have a chance to read the documents? Is it because that is what the senior civil servants in that department want to happen, that its work should be discredited in the media even before it has been published?

    Reply I went on tv, as did a Minister, to explain the ECJ ceases to have jurisdiction when we leave.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      The point is that if communications were clearer there would be no need for explanation and denial of scenarios favoured by the largely EU loving broadcasting MSM. If civil servants are being openly hostile they should be disciplined and made to work to elected government instructions.

  12. agricola
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    The reality of being in the driving seat can be very different from electioneering. At least the USA now has a driver.

    State making in the image of the US democracy does not work in what amount to medieval areas within the World. As to recognising the enemy, I accept it can be difficult so good intelligence is important. Once the shooting starts it is much easier. It is harder to profile the enemy in countries where they all look the same than it is at a UK airport for instance. If not state making how about economy making. Buying up the opium crop at the farm gate should be dirt cheap. Afterwards destroy it or use it in western pharmaceutical companies. This way you destroy the terrorists source of income and allow the DEA to concentrate on South America.

    No doubt US intelligence knows where many of the terrorists train or enjoy R&R so take them out from the air, even if they happen to be in Pakistan. Dealing with terrorism will always be difficult, but not dealing with it is fatal, as various parts of the EU find out from time to time. Within the EU solutions are more obvious, all that is needed is political will, a rare commodity these days. Solutions are always relative to location. Sir Gerald Templar achieved it admirably in Malaya not so long ago.

  13. brian
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    The insurgents in Afghanistan, like the IRA, finance their activities through criminal activity which must be suppressed in order to defeat them.

    • agricola
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Their criminal activity is the drugs trade. Buy up the poppies at the farm gate. Pay the farmers well if the terrorists cannot take the money from them. If they can pay in goods and services. Cut the feeding chain.

      • zorro
        Posted August 23, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        You and I probably know why that won’t happen…. 😟😏

        zorro

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

    “Brexit negotiation exclusive”

    “European judges will have final say on British disputes, key document reveals”

    “Britain will be bound by future decisions of the European Court of Justice despite Brexit if it adopts arrangements outlined by ministers in a key negotiating document.”

    Great, all that work and effort to win the referendum and then we are sold out …

    According to the Telegraph, which of course is more interested in its readership numbers and so the revenue it can get from advertisers than in the truth about this or anything else, but with the active assistance of civil servants who are supposed to be working to take us out of the EU, not stirring up public opinion against us leaving the EU.

    Reply Key doc says no such thing.

    • margaret
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply. It does say that an independent arbitration committee will head during the transition period. Whether that committee is comprised of European judges or other needs to be asked. Salting more money out of it I see!

  15. margaret
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Aggression is only the last resort and when used in defence. The terrorists seem to be young hot headed uneducated men who have learned from their native countries how to behave. Recent problems in Spain were thought to have derived from their religious leader, so how do we feel when these receptive young beings are being brainwashed by violence. How can we get sensible citizens into the middle of these people who will spread the word of peace without getting slaughtered themselves? I do not believe that there is any other way than from centre out.

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I am reading extensive direct quotes from a UK government statement apparently made yesterday, for example here:

    https://euobserver.com/uk-referendum/138782

    “We have long been clear that in leaving the EU we will bring an ​end to the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the UK,” the British government said in a statement on Tuesday (22 August), ahead of its publication of a more detailed paper on the issue on Wednesday.”

    And yet I cannot find that official statement on the website of the Department for Exiting the European Union, here:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-exiting-the-european-union

    Why not? Why are civil servants feeding advance information to hostile journalists but not putting those statements on the official website of the department so that they available to the taxpaying public in an original undistorted form?

  17. Peter
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Trumpism seems to be over. Hawkish generals and Goldman Sachs alumni are now calling the shots.

    If Trump thinks this will win him friends I think he is wrong. The establishment will never warm to Trump.

    • agricola
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      The establishment are small and have little electoral clout, democracy will prevail.

  18. Duncan
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    It is deeply, deeply depressing to see the Tory party gravitating towards the illiberal leftist position that Trump is all evil and eats babies for breakfast.

    In effect the illiberal left establishment (and that includes the Tories), including this PM the UK is lumbered with at present, campaign is to undermine the legitimacy of the incumbent US president, to slander him and to destroy him.

    The foundations are slowly being put in place to underpin a more illiberal, authoritarian and anti-libertarian environment both in the US and here in the UK

    Shame on all who attack our divine right to express our views without fear of favour

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      The Soviet dissident,Vladimir Bukovsky,was absolutely correct when he said it was the West that lost the Cold War.I’ve recently managed to track down an excerpt -in translation-from his 1994 book “Judgement in Moscow”(which contained documentary evidence on contemporary Western fellow travellers)which his English language publisher refused to publish unless he re-wrote it from a”liberal left perspective”-he declined.

      “This is worse than conspiracy,this is consensus”

  19. James Neill
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    The United States is a mess right now , the government under Trump is worse than a joke because being so powerful a nation the whole situation vis-a-vis the rest of the world is so serious that if the wrong decisions are taken it can have devastating consequences for the rest of us.. So what can we say- Trump is tweeting away, I see he got a haircut recently, probably on the advice or the orders of his generals, who are in effective charge now. This is all a military Coup by the back door, and under the circumstances the american establishment had no choice but to act and now all they have to do to babysit this idiot Trump clown for another three and a half years and to try to keep him quiet.

    And to think that we were hoping to put our plans for a future trade deal as the corner stone with this mess, the mind boggles?

  20. a-tracy
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I know very little about American politics but it appears that the President is more of a figure head rather than a decision maker that Trump thought the position was. He thought the Republicans had a plan for an alternative to medicare – it turns out they didn’t and to me they look the fools over that – more so than him who gave them the direction to go ahead and was willing to take the flak to follow their policy suggestions, when Republican’s own lawmakers overturned a Republican suggestion (because it wasn’t Trump that put the alternative together after just six months in power). The political gaming in the States is unedifying. When a President is ridiculed by their own Press and tv at every time for everything, and never shows his supporters views this is a dangerous precedent. It just feels like Trump is being set up behind the scenes and that’s not going to sit well with the people who put him into position. The Republican politicians are strange ones too, they campaigned relentlessly against Obama’s plans yet seem to be on the wrong foot all the time over their way ahead.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Oh look, hot news in the Guardian and elsewhere, now the usually fairly precise Dominic Raab also has something vague to say about it, from the Ministry of Justice:

    https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/aug/23/uk-will-keep-half-an-eye-on-ecj-rulings-after-brexit-says-justice-minister

    “Justice minister Dominic Raab has conceded the UK would keep “half an eye” on rulings by the European Union’s highest court after Brexit as the government appeared to soften its stance on how heavily the bloc would influence UK law.

    However, Raab played down the idea that a government document ruling out the European court of justice holding “direct jurisdiction” on UK matters left room for the ECJ to exercise influence on British law.

    A flurry of Brexit policy papers, due to be published on Wednesday, will repeat the government’s insistence that the authority of the ECJ must end when Britain leaves the EU in March 2019 … ”

    As I have said before, David Davis may be doing OK on the substance of the withdrawal negotiations but the PR of his department is an absolute bloody shambles and he really needs to sort it out if he is to maintain public support for withdrawal in the face of this constant torrent of Remoaner propaganda.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      It’s one long wear down process, the government flies kites to see the reaction so it can gauge how much of a sell out we will accept.
      There is no room for complacency as the establishment and the majority of Parliament are against Brexit.
      Anything to dress up staying in as leaving will be tried on by the Quisling know alls aided and abetted by the BBC.

      • Duyfken
        Posted August 23, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Denis is more than usually steamed up in this thread and I reckon JR may be somewhat dismissive in consequence. But, as you point out Ian, any kite-flying from government sources, or any misinformation promulgated by media and remainiacs, needs to be nailed. Good on yer, Denis!

  22. Bob
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    With crowds of masked “democrats” chanting “death to America” while toppling national monuments, I would suggest that Mr Trump should focus his attention on his homegrown “Taliban”.

    Likewise, for Britain, where Nelson’s Column has now become the focus of attention for those who are determined rewrite history.

    Meantime the EU continues to send ships across the Med to assist in the transport thousands upon thousands of potential terrorists.

    • Captcha King
      Posted August 24, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      The rate of change will see it happen.

  23. Doug Powell
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Trump’s U turn on military intervention means perpetual war. It also means good-bye to a second term.

    Many had misgivings over Trump from the beginning, but the prospect of an end to military interventions seemed a price well worth paying. However, for some months now Trump has been sucked into the arms of the Military and Industrial Complex. Gone is the expectation that a reduction in military spending would be put towards repairing the USA’s creaking infrastructure.

    There is an old saying, which is now more than somewhat appropriate: “When you are up to your arse in alligators, it is difficult to remind yourself that the first objective was to drain the swamp!”

    I note that NATO (have bombs – will travel) is rubbing its hands at the prospect of continued conflict, and therefore no reduction in funding as suggested by Trump during the election.

    I hope that the PM will not volunteer to support this foolish mission, either motivated by the self-interest of a US Trade Deal, or by the vanity of a place in history to stand alongside our other recent ‘War Heroes’ – “Anthony of Iraq” and “Dave of Benghazi” – perhaps as “St Theresa, Hammer of the Taliban!”

  24. Beecee
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I doubt if the Taliban is interested in diplomacy, which is why the politicians cannot defeat them.

    Mr Trump is still not a politician so maybe a very heavy stick with a cold heart may work.

    But again this is probably a war that the USA and allies cannot win, like Vietnam.

    • agricola
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Control or win, it is an excellent testing ground and catalyst for new weaponry. War has always been an accelerator of technical advance.

    • The Big Ear
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Trump said in his State of the Nation speech that the Taliban will be in negotiations eventually. ( 21st august 2017 ). There for all who have ears to hear.

  25. Imperialist
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    JR. The last shall be first. Your “PS” can best be answered in the words of Trump “Presidential Address to the Nation 21st august 2017 , White House official recording delivered to US troops in particular at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia.(recording: their time 18.00 hours) , The White House. Still available, full speech on Social Media. It is a comprehensive speech the detail of which would carefully balances diplomacy and force. The Sec of State does not disagree wih his statement> full stop. Not possible, it, the details, are his own work!
    Yes Trump did a U-Turn on re-fortifying Afghanistan. ISIL/Taliban and others are regrouping there since the West enjoyed military victories in Mosul and other parts of Iraq and Syria. From Afghanistan the terrorists will continue to mount military operations and devise ways to kill us on our streets which security forces are best at fighting after the events…as terrorists are here already in line with Diversity and having a spiffing smashing fun society making shopping sprees even more exciting.
    !”Ruling out state building arguably makes it more difficult to get a long term success.”
    This sounds like a rallying call for would-be young persons from and in all Muslim countries to join the terrorists. No-one wishes a foreign power, even the UK and US, to build a state for them any more than we would like th EU to build our UK state for us.
    There are, also, potential allies in Terrorist-Country, who might help us destroy terrorists but they are not going to help when they a have to accept unworkable western-style democracy. It hasn’t worked in N. Ireland has it. Didn’t work in India and Britain helped establish an un-Diversity by splitting it into Pakistan and India. We must try to think out of the Westminster box. The world is not democratic and for the most part hates the very idea of unworkable and disastrous democracy ( for them ).

  26. Norman
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Trump means well, perhaps, but is certainly fallible. Maybe he does not wish to withdraw from Afghanistan like the Soviets did – nor allow them back in! Such strategic issues are immensely complex, and could be key to much wider developments in the immediate future. Perhaps the disparity between the President and his advisers are simply two sides of the same coin. Of one thing we may be certain: these issues thrown up in the Middle Eastern context are beyond the wit of any man to solve. But solved, they will be.

  27. Prigger
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Parliament has a statue of Mandela. There are calls for dismantling Nelson’s statue, no not NELSON Mandela.
    So, we all listen with great interest and passion to our MPs and what they might say about …well South Africa, Rhodesia, United States. The Good Friday Peace Agreement and all other matters upon which they have proven over time to be singuarly and collective ignorant and troublemaking with a brain density of a glow worm having a bad hair day.

  28. E.S Tablishment
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I viewed the few hours prelude to the Trump Rally Phoenix Arizona Tuesday, August 22, 2017. This unique TV network walked down the snaking lines queuing the 29,000 standing space venue…asking random people open questions…and broadcast it LIVE without edit. More interesting than any Trump related broadcast previously. It was the non-activists I found enthralling. I get the impression Trump is actually more popular than ever. He is filthy rich beyond most of our dreams of course but people there ,en masse, think him “Just like us” “not a politician”. President, and “not a politician!” We underestimate Trump.

  29. Duncan
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    John

    What’s your view of today’s so called suggestion that the UK should become a member of EFTA or Norway option?

    My understanding is that the UK will still be subject to the application of EU law even as a member of EFTA

    That surely cannot be acceptable. We did not vote Brexit for this betrayal…

    And now the BBC intend to ditch Andrew Neil and replace him with a left leaning feminist..

    Slowly but surely we are being strangled by the liberal left culture of the BBC and sold down the river by Euro-sympathisers

    Will we ever be our own nation again?

    Reply The same as the answer I have been giving for three years. We are not going to do a Norway or join the EEA. How many more times do you need to be told?

  30. Anna
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    My Dad, an old soldier, said the three golden rules of military survival were:

    don’t march on Moscow
    don’t try fighting with a land army in Asia
    never invade Afghanistan

  31. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Jesus wept, JR, is it impossible for David Davis to control his officials and prevent the mischief-making media spreading around one load of rubbish after another?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/23/britain-cannot-escape-profound-influence-european-court-brexit/

    “Theresa May contradicted by her own officials as they say European Court could still rule supreme during transition period”

    So has the media unit in his department anything to say about this, perhaps using their twitter account to quickly rebut it by pointing out paragraph 6 in the paper they have just published?

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/639609/Enforcement_and_dispute_resolution.pdf

    Of course not.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 24, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Conservative Media and PR are weak, weak, weak and need replacing urgently.

  32. Atlas
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Afghanistan… Now where have I read of problems in that place? – Ah, I remember, it is in the first Sherlock Holmes story where Sherlock meets Dr. Watson. Oh, how times have changed since the 1870s eh?

  33. Dennis Zoff
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    One decade we are supporting the Afghani factions (in whichever form) to defeat the Russian forces in Afganistan (Geopolitics), then we are fighting the very same factions for new and revised Geopolitics?

    Who are the net beneficiaries, other than munition manufacturers, their shareholders and other vested interested lobbyists?

    With Politicians at the helm, we are all at risk…for others’ profit!

  34. Michael
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Contemplating the ups and down of Trump and how he blunders along is a useless exercise in my opinion. It would be much better to wait to see what the bottom line is in say two years more or so and save ourselves from this american nonsense unfolding before our eyes. Havn’t we enough on our own plate at home without thinking about Trump and his mad antics?

  35. The Big Ear
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Listening to SkyNews and BBC News this morning indicates they have nothing of value or truth to say about Trump. No point listening to their rubbish any more. They cannot even report on what he said in his rally ysterday without taking bits out and missing the whole. They are racist against Americans.

  36. zorro
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    OK, I’ll fine tune my statement 😀

    Alas, Afghanistan has too many ‘natural resources’ which certain elements will not to want stop exploiting/controlling. Trump must be wary of too many high rank military personnel having too much influence over foreign policy. Historically, and factually, they find it difficult not to interfere no matter what the ‘pretext’…. Doubtless, we will have an ‘Air xxxxx’ film in a few years time whuch mimicks in another conflict from 50 years ago.

    zorro

    • hefner
      Posted August 23, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Lithium deposits, possibly more important than those in Bolivia, and niobium deposits are certainly natural resources that have been found by western geologists.

      There is no reason to make fun of those.

      • zorro
        Posted August 24, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

        I can assure that I am being deadly serious. Yes, Lithium is useful for mobile phones. However, there is another natural resource for human consumption which feeds an estimated 90% of the world market, and it has increased both in an exponential and unchecked fashion since Western intervention there….

        zorro

  37. Prigger
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I do not believe the US sees the UK as a reliable ally. Why would it?
    In Parliamentary questions recently the Defence Minster Fallon was asked by a Labour MP if the UK agreed and took part in all… of the joint alliance air missions over Syria. He repied with an affable expression which was met with a similar expression by the MP that the RAF declined to take part from time to time in missions which it was thought by them to create unacceptable casualities in non-combatants. Very noble. We did not apply such nobility however in bombing of Germany Holland, France. We had, then, the necessary will to protect our own people and not have them slaughtered on our streets up to and including on London Bridge. Like our Defence Secretary, Churchill no doubt had a private armed guard with a revolver. But he knew his first duty is to render the enemy inoperable, incapbale of attacking and murdering our people, our people, ours, and his nobility could wait.

  38. Paul wills
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Please don’t bring the subject of Trump or the americans up again..yawn..yawn

  39. hefner
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    1838-42, 1878-80, 1919 Anglo-Afghan wars
    1978-1989 Soviet-Afghan War
    1989-1996 Afghan Civil War
    2001-2017 War(s) in Afghanistan.

    Maybe, Mr President, if you had the time, you may want to read (or make somebody read to you) some of the books on these various wars within Afghanistan. You might learn a few things that your instincts might have overlooked.

  40. forthurst
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    “Ruling out state building arguably makes it more difficult to get a long term success.
    Only if these troubled countries can establish moderate well supported governments that can turn people to building a more prosperous economy is their hope of stopping recruitment and deployment of more terrorists.”

    Who invited you into these countries in the first place? Frankly, to train and introduce terrorists into a country and then claim that the government was not ‘moderate’ enough to maintain popular support and then to destabalise it to the point that militias like ISIS can be introduced by ‘allies’ or introduce themselves there is the vilest hypocrisy.

    It is time for the Tory Party to understand that they cannot hide by a screen of fake news put out by the MSM because for the rest of there are other sources of news that enable us to synthesise a truer picture of reality. The fact that those parts of the MSM not concerned primarily with breasts and posteriors is hidden behind a paywall encourages people to be more adventurous in seeking out other news sources.

  41. ian
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    US & UK uses bombs and force, while china uses drilling and mining, like in Africa and ME. EU & UKjust want as many people from ME, and Africa as they can get into europe.

  42. ian
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    They might be fighting to be on the top table, but there is only one winner, CHINA. First in money, first in debt, soon, First in the world. Put there by the west.

  43. harryB
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    It’s becoming more clear now. Just like in Ireland you can be british or irish, or you can be both…the most likely outcome for british mainland people lin the futute will be that they can be british or eu european or even both?

  44. Simon
    Posted August 23, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Describing an entire population of millions of people, over millions of square miles, fighting at home; as “terrorists” is ludicrous. The USA will get another good shoeing as it always does when it commits ground troops in such an unfavourable environment with a half assed mission.

  45. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 24, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    For all his sound and fury, Mr Trump has only committed the US to providing air support and training in Afghanistan, not to providing ground troops.

    Of course, Vietnam started out that way.

    The evidence that Afghans want western style democracy is sketchy at best. The teachings of the Koran and the Hadith are incompatible with democracy. In the Islamic world, the moderates are the heretics.

    I would far rather our efforts were directed towards root and branch reform of Islam in the UK, including downgrading of the Koran and the Hadith, the complete abolition of Sharia courts, a formal elevation of the status of women and insistence that all religious services be conducted in English.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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