Democrats see political opportunity in Trump’s decision to abandon Paris climate deal


Botsford170601Trump16019.jpg

President Trump’s triumphant Rose Garden ceremony announcing his withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement sent a message loud and clear to his supporters: Promise kept.

But the move also served as a clarion call to angry Democrats, potentially complicating the political path for Republicans facing tough midterm challenges and, ultimately, Trump’s own reelection bid.

Trump, whose approval rating has hovered around 40 percent for most of his presidency, probably did not gain new converts with his decision, and Democrats now see an opportunity to further intensify the focus of their base in the 2018 midterm elections. They also foresee the climate-change decision as a key part of their broader argument to college-educated swing voters who have been among Trump’s weakest supporters.

“He’s unleashed a number of forces that I don’t think he understands that ultimately are going to work against him,” said Tad Devine, a longtime political strategist and former adviser to the presidential run of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “People are interpreting this not as my house is going to be flooded tomorrow, but our federal government is being run by people who don’t care about science.”

Trump’s gamble could pay off. If the pace of economic growth quickens and jobs return for his core supporters, he could point to the decision to exit the accord as proof of his leadership, his backers say.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-see-political-opportunity-in-trumps-decision-to-abandon-paris-climate-deal/2017/06/02/c05229da-47ae-11e7-a196-a1bb629f64cb_story.html?utm_term=.e45762ed9450

Is Afghanistan a Lost Cause


We are there and we are committed” was the regular retort of Secretary of State Dean Rusk during the war in Vietnam.

Whatever you may think of our decision to go in, Rusk was saying, if we walk away, the United States loses the first war in its history, with all that means for Southeast Asia and America’s position in the world.

We face a similar moment of decision.

Wednesday, a truck bomb exploded near the diplomatic quarter of Kabul, killing 90 and wounding 460. So terrible was the atrocity that the Taliban denied complicity. It is believed to have been the work of the Haqqani network.

This “horrific and shameful attack demonstrates these terrorists’ compete disregard for human life and their nihilistic opposition to the dream of a peaceful future for Afghanistan,” said Hugo Llordens, a U.S. diplomat in Kabul.

The message the truck bombers sent to the Afghan people? Not even in the heart of this capital can your government keep civilian workers and its own employees safe.

Message to America: After investing hundreds of billions and 2,000 U.S. lives in the 15 years since 9/11, we are further from victory than we have ever been.

President Obama, believing Afghanistan was the right war, and Iraq the wrong war, ramped up the U.S. presence in 2011 to 100,000 troops. His plan: Cripple the Taliban, train the Afghan army and security forces, stabilize the government, and withdraw American forces by the end of his second term.

Obama fell short, leaving President Trump with 8,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and Kabul’s control more tenuous than ever. The Taliban hold more territory and are active in more provinces than they have been since being driven from power in 2001. And Afghan forces are suffering casualties at the highest rate of the war.

Stated starkly, the war in Afghanistan is slowly being lost.

Have something to say about this column?
Visit Pat’s FaceBook page and post your comments….

Indeed, Trump has inherited what seems to be an unwinnable war, if he is not prepared to send a new U.S. army to block the Taliban from taking power. And it is hard to believe that the American people would approve of any large reintroduction of U.S. forces.

The U.S. commander there, Gen. John Nicholson, has requested at least 3,000 more U.S. troops to train the Afghan army and stabilize the country while seeking a negotiated end to the war.

Trump’s conundrum: 3,000 or 5,000 more U.S. troops can at best help the Afghan security forces sustain the present stalemate.

But if we could not defeat the Taliban with 100,000 U.S. troops in country in 2011, we are not going to defeat a stronger Taliban with a U.S. force one-seventh of that size. And if a guerrilla army does not lose, it wins.

Yet it is hard to see how Trump can refuse to send more troops. If he says we have invested enough blood and treasure, the handwriting will be on the wall. Reports that both Russia and Iran are already talking to the Taliban suggest that they see a Taliban takeover as inevitable.

http://buchanan.org/blog/afghanistan-lost-cause-127140