Fighting his instincts, reneging on campaign promises, and disregarding his anti-globalist advisers, President Trump told America he changed his mind about Afghanistan. It is the kind of reversal he hates because it dilutes his brash brand.
But true to his gut, he won't be nation building, constructing hospitals, or making sure girls can once again wear miniskirts to school. The Trump strategy instead is to make sure Afghanistan doesn't further devolve while he looks to hand off the problem to someone else.
Like a distressed property, Trump wants to offload the war and Afghan reconstruction at the right discounted price in a handshake deal.
His ideal buyer is not a mercenary band, though he was pitched and considered the idea. It’s not to a still incapable Afghan government or even to tired and distracted European allies. They aren’t buying. No, Trump figures that with a mini-surge of patching and fresh paint, he can sell this problem asset as an opportunity to someone in the neighborhood with interest in the location, location, location.
India tops the list.