This Week in War Powers News – October 16, 2020

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The content below comes from the newsletter This Week in War Powers News, provided by the Committee for Responsible Foreign Policy.

 


 

Trump Weighs Pre-Election Foreign Policy Speech

President Donald Trump is considering a sweeping foreign policy speech before the Nov. 3 election and has been pressing members of his national security team to accelerate specific initiatives that he could highlight in his remarks, such as a U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan, according to two senior administration officials and a former official briefed about the conversations.

The administration has made public its plans to reduce the U.S. presence to 4,500 troops by November, but the officials said a decision to draw down to 3,000 or fewer by early next year has already been reached. Trump has discussed with aides the idea of using the speech to announce the additional decrease, the officials say.

Trump’s advisers have pushed back publicly and privately, however, on his demand for a full withdrawal by January. READ MORE.

 


 

Gen. Milley Pushes Back on Troop Withdrawal Announcement

America’s most senior general publicly pushed back Sunday at an announcement by President Donald Trump‘s national security adviser that the US will aggressively reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan by the end of the year irrespective of conditions on the ground.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley was responding to comments last week from Robert O’Brien that the US would reduce the number of US troops in the country down to 2,500 by the beginning of 2021, from a current level of about 4,500, stressing that any future drawdowns would be conditions based. READ MORE.

 


 

America’s Iraqi Embassy Is a Monstrosity Out of Time

Two weeks ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to close the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. He was responding to ongoing attacks against the building and the Iraqi government’s apparent inability to do much about it.

It’s hard to judge whether there are other ways for the United States to protect the embassy—or whether Pompeo’s threat is designed to achieve some other diplomatic end. But the embassy should be shut down regardless. Whatever the motivations for Pompeo’s idea, it’s a good one on the merits. READ MORE.