Neocons cheer Trump's Afghanistan strategy

Neocons cheer Trump's Afghanistan strategy
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The neoconservative wing of the Republican Party is applauding President Trump’s troop surge in Afghanistan, even as members of the president’s base accuse him of capitulating to the national security establishment. 

Foreign policy hawks in the Senate — including two of Trump’s fiercest GOP critics, Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTop Louisiana health official rips Cassidy over ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (S.C.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate's defense authorization would set cyber doctrine Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (Ariz.) — praised Trump for going against his “instinct” and delegating the decision to his generals, who convinced him that victory could be had in the 16-year war that has spanned three administrations.

“I’m proud. I’m relieved,” Graham said on Fox News after Trump’s Monday night address. 

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“I’m proud of the fact that President Trump made a national security decision, not a political decision. I’m proud of the fact that he listened to the generals, and I’m most proud of the fact that he showed the will to stand up to radical Islam. I’m relieved he did not take the advice to withdraw, which would have been disastrous, or create a mercenary army, so I’m very pleased. Very thoughtful, very inspiring speech, and I can assure you a lot of people in Congress will be behind the president.”

McCain said Trump was moving beyond former President Obama’s “failed strategy of merely postponing defeat,” adding that it was “especially important” that Trump did not commit to a timeline for withdrawal.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Trump bets base will stick with him on immigration MORE (R-Fla.), another proponent of muscular U.S. foreign policy, called Trump’s strategy “the right approach.”

Support is also coming from neoconservative writers and thinkers who had long been worried that Trump, who ran on an “America First” platform, would take a more isolationist approach to foreign policy.

John Podhoretz, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and the editor of the conservative magazine Commentary, reacted to the speech by saying it’s almost as if Bush’s former deputy secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, has been put in charge. 

“President Trump’s decision to recommit to Afghanistan was right and important,” wrote American Enterprise Institute scholar Fred Kagan, another proponent of neoconservatism.

The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, a “Never Trump” Republican and neocon, reveled in the fact that Trump’s generals appeared to have won the power struggle over his nationalist advisers, like former chief strategist Stephen Bannon.

Bannon has returned to Breitbart News after being forced out of the White House, in part because of his inability to get along with Trump’s top military advisers, including national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

Breitbart ran a story on Tuesday saying that “Trump’s 'America First' base” is unhappy with the president’s “flip-flop Afghanistan speech,” along with a host of stories highlighting GOP establishment support for Trump’s new strategy.

“President Trump’s ‘America First’ base was the biggest loser of Trump’s speech on Afghanistan Monday night, and many quickly expressed their disappointment at the business-as-usual address from the president who had once promised to limit American intervention abroad and focus on nation-building at home,” Breitbart reporter Adam Shaw wrote. 

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program MORE (R-Ky.), a non-interventionist whose views on foreign policy are derided by the conservative foreign policy establishment, bemoaned the costs to the military and taxpayers for the continuing war.

“I strongly disagree with the president’s actions here. If the president and my colleagues want to continue the war in Afghanistan, then at the very least Congress should vote on it. I’ll insist they do it this fall, and I’ll be leading the charge for 'no.' "

Laura Ingraham, the pro-Trump anti-establishment conservative radio personality, tweeted: