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Opinion
Hal Brands

Three Reasons Why Trump May End the ‘Forever War’

The president has so far lived with his predecessors’ stalemate in Afghanistan, but the adults have left the room.

Quagmire.

Quagmire.

Photographer: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

No modern president has made more of his determination to break out of the patterns set by his predecessors than Donald Trump — and on issues ranging from free trade to North Korea to dealing with allies, he has done so. When it comes to America’s war in Afghanistan, however, Trump has simply been more of the same.

Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama made big promises about the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, only to vastly scale back their ambitions over time. Trump is settling into the same groove. As we reach a NATO summit at which the alliance will once again discuss its involvement in the “forever war,” Afghanistan has become the “forgotten war” under yet another American president.