Trump Sends Mixed Messages on War in First Speech to Congress

Trump Sends Mixed Messages on War in First Speech to Congress | Says US policy must be right for America

In his first address to Congress tonight, President Trump delivered a heavily ‘America first’ speech that was light on details, and on the question of war was even lighter still, saying the US needs to prepare its military to “prevent war” with its largest budget ever.

Trump promised a “direct, robust, and meaningful engagement with the world,” saying that the US foreign policy would be based on America’s own “vital security interests,” adding that America would “respect the sovereign rights of nations.”

What this all adds up to remains to be seen, though with respect to Syria, his comments on creating conditions where the displaced can “safely return home and begin the long process of rebuilding” once again hints at his expected policy of establishing safe zones within northern Syria.

Ultimately, the decision appears to have been to focus on generalities, and a promise to destroy ISIS outright, without getting into the specifics of how this would happen, and also not getting into the policy details on what America will ultimately do with this record-sized military budget, beyond general assurances that whatever is done will be done primarily with an eye toward America’s interests.

The strategy Trump sought for the defeat of ISIS was delivered just yesterday, and while Trump has yet to address the details of the plan we actually know quite a bit about it, with the broad expectations emerging over the past several weeks.

This includes sending an unknown, but significant, number of US ground troops to Syria for combat operations, and in particular for fighting against ISIS in Raqqa. The Kurdish YPG, which the US has been backing against ISIS, will be getting more military aid, and US generals will be given more leeway for how they carry out operations.

Policies elsewhere were conspicuously undisclosed, with weeks of growing rhetoric against Iran not addressed beyond a single mention of new sanctions against them, and no talk of US-Russia policy beyond a vague mention of former enemies who might be new friends.

Ongoing US escalations in Yemen were also largely glossed over, beyond some pandering to the “success” of a SEAL Team Six raid which has been described as a disastrous failure, but which Trump maintained was “highly success.”


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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of

  • Bastiat

    One of the things I didn’t like in Trump’s otherwise good speech were his contradicting statements regarding military spending. On the one hand he wants more money for the military, but on the other hand he said that U.S. allies are going to share more of the burden. Why does the U.S. have to spend more on the military if other countries in world (i.e. other NATO members) are going to “pay their fair share” to use a phrase from a certain former president?

    • Skywalker

      Bastiat: There was no inconsistency on Trump’s military increase. Trump intends to increase US military spending with US taxpayer funds ***PLUS*** tribute payments from NATO, Japan and the Persian Gulf states. Likewise, Trump intends to defeat ISIS militarily with US ground troops and air power in Syria. Trump is a wannabe John Rambo who glorifies tough talking macho military advisors. But Trump has never been in combat, or even in service, and knows nothing about diplomacy or blowback. Trump believes that Obama and Bush failed in the war on terror because they did not go all out. Trump intends to win a complete military victory over Islamic terrorism. The war will spread to a war against Islamic civilization, which Bannon and Miller want. But Trump is good at speechifying, like other demagogues. Just watch where the money goes and the troops will follow.

  • February 27 2017 Trump’s Proposed Increase in U.S. Defense Spending Would Be 80 Percent of Russia’s Entire Military Budget

    THE U.S. GOVERNMENT already spends $600 billion dollars a year on its military — more money than the next seven biggest spenders combined, including China and Russia.

  • Do not look at the National debt or the Pentagons accounting methods or lack of.

    August 16, 2016 Pentagon Cannot Account For $6.5 Trillion Dollars

    A new Department of Defense Inspector General’s report, released last week, has left Americans stunned at the jaw-dropping lack of accountability and oversight. The glaring report revealed the Pentagon couldn’t account for $6.5 trillion dollars worth of Army general fund transactions and data, according to a report by the Fiscal Times.

    April 08, 2016 U.S. Government Accounting Is Fraudulent

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the non-partisan auditor and investigator for Congress.

    Moreover, the Pentagon hasn’t even attempted to comply with government audits … and “$8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon [between] 1996 [and 2013] has never been accounted for.” The military wastes and “loses” trillions of dollars.

  • ….in other words, more Trumpian, double-speak, bullshit. Put America First!…. ….with bombs.