The Brief, September 2017


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September 11, 2017 
New U.S. Approach on Afghanistan

U.S. President Donald Trump recently outlined a new strategy on Afghanistan, a move Johns Hopkins SAIS experts said could continue uncertainty for American foreign policy and strain U.S. ties with other countries in South Asia. 

Dean Vali Nasr told The New York Times that "Trump put forward no coherent plan for finishing the war" in defining a shift from a time-based approach to a ground-based approach because no details were offered about the size and scope of military action. Read more

Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence John McLaughlin told The Cipher Brief that while Trump's approach may intend a more direct role for U.S. troops, the "Afghans do need this help but it would mean more U.S. casualties." Read more.

Global Policy Program Director Daniel Markey told The Christian Science Monitor the "open-ended commitment to Afghanistan is intended to send a message to the Taliban, but it also speaks loud and clear to Pakistan" in reaffirming long term U.S. engagement in the region. Read more. He also told The Cipher Brief that American encouragement of India to do more in Afghanistan signals "a tightening relationship with New Delhi, which does make Pakistan nervous." Read more.

Associate Professor of the Practice of South Asia Studies Joshua T. White told Reuters that Trump's speech could have been a great deal harsher on Pakistan since some administration officials "wanted to move more quickly and aggressively to declare Pakistan not just a problem, but effectively an enemy." Read more.

Foreign Policy Institute Fellow Shamila N. Chaudhary told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty it would be a bold – but feasible – move for the U.S. to pursue unilateral strikes in Pakistan, if the U.S. "was willing to deal with the consequences, which could include Pakistan cutting off its transit routes for NATO supplies into Afghanistan." Read more.

The Brief highlights Johns Hopkins SAIS expertise on current events and is produced monthly by the Office of Marketing, Communications, and Strategic Initiatives. Like The Brief? Share it on Facebook and Twitter, forward to a friend, or subscribe