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Firing blind

Firing blind
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As many news organisations, experts and even regular observers have noted, Trump's continuing refusal to accept his electoral defeat is unprecedented, and not in a good way. Allegations of voter fraud, complicity and a litany of errors paint American democracy in a clearly unflattering light. It is easy enough to see that Trump's repeated rallies against the truth are not winning him any allies or admirers abroad. The Republican Party has, by and large, thrown its weight behind the President's efforts to overturn the election though there is significant variation in the camp regarding their stance on his actions. On one side, some Republican senators have called for 'understanding' and letting Trump come to terms with his defeat on his own. Others such as Lindsey Graham have been more blatant in supporting the voting fraud conspiracies. Indeed, Georgia's Secretary of State recently said that Lindey Graham recently inquired as to whether he has the authority to toss out all mail-in ballots from certain counties, a claim that Graham has hotly contested. In the middle of this spectrum are those such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who insists that the President has every right to investigate any potential case of misconduct and fraud that may have affected his re-election bid.

The chaos is likely to continue until the Electoral College formally meets in December and declare in no uncertain terms that Joe Biden is the new US President. Until then, it would appear that Trump is in the midst of frantic efforts to secure what some have termed as his foreign policy legacy. Aside from replacing many experienced Pentagon appointees with relatively little experienced loyalists, Trump also shocked US officials by suddenly announcing the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. In typical Trump fashion, Trump chose to communicate this vital strategic decision to the public at the same time and in the same way as he informed the actual officials, through Twitter. Trump announced that he plans to bring all the troops back by Christmas. Naturally, experts and officials have been clear in asserting that this order would be essentially impossible to execute in the given time frame. The US has some 5,000 troops still in the region. Additionally, an unspecified number of private contractors also continue to operate in the area. Packing up and shutting down infrastructure that the US has laid down over decades of continuing conflict will not be an easy task. A former official stated that at best, it would be possible to make a superficial show of moving out in the allotted time frame.

As has been stated repeatedly, Trump has a history of making abrupt policy decisions regarding the region. Just last year, Trump abruptly pulled out of Syria after a 'good phone call' with Turkey's Erdogan, a much-criticised move that severely endangered US allies in the region. He even pulled out a previous version of a US-Taliban summit last year based on last-minute whims. For better or worse, the military in all its facets and 'glory' unites American politics in ways that no other issue can. As such, Trump's abrupt military strategy has been met with bipartisan condemnation from Congress with many close Trump allies outrightly calling out the President on his poor decisions and what they cost America in the long term. This time is no different and many Trump allies who are supporting his calls to overturn a legitimate vote are rallying against his decision to pull out any troops from Afghanistan during this time. It would be safe to say that the only real supporters' Trump's new decision found was the Taliban itself as they stand to clearly benefit from a reduced or completely absent US presence. If the US is gone, many have warned that the Taliban will no longer see a reason to pursue a truly diplomatic outcome with the Afghan Government, a regression that will be truly disastrous for the long-awaited peace process.

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