The Atlantic

Trump's Depressingly Normal Speech About Afghanistan

The president’s defiance of the conventional wisdom on Afghanistan had been one of his strengths—but on Monday, he embraced the same approach as his predecessors.
Source: Joshua Roberts / Reuters

On Monday evening, Donald Trump gave a speech about Afghanistan that we might have heard from any mainstream politician over the past 15 years.

In some realms, the idea of a “normal” presentation by Trump would be heartening. For instance, as I , among the usual expectations of a president is that at times of national shock or fear, he will speak to all of the people and reassert shared American values, hopes, and unifying ties. If Trump had managed to do that after the neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville—as FDR so famously did after Pearl Harbor, as Dwight Eisenhower did during the

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