US President Donald Trump in his State of Union speech pledged to bring home the U.S. troops from Syria as he said that the Islamic State “nearly defeated”, and to negotiate an exit from Afghanistan after almost two decades of war, saying that “great nations do not fight endless wars.”
“Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty monsters,” Trump said in his speech on Tuesday. “Now, as we work with our allies to destroy the remnants of ISIS, it is time to give our brave warriors in Syria a warm welcome home.”
“I have also accelerated our negotiations to reach, if possible, a political settlement in Afghanistan,” Trump said Tuesday. “In Afghanistan, my administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban. As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism.”
On one side, the Taliban ha so far have refused to talk directly with Afghan government officials, which made Afghan president Ghani remark that “Peace talks with the Taliban behind locked doors won’t succeed”.
In his address, Trump did say “We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement — but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace”.
Trump’s speech came just only hours after the Republican-controlled Senate passed legislation with a provision tabled by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling for the U.S. to avoid any “precipitous withdrawal” from Syria and Afghanistan. US General Joseph L. Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command had told his country’s lawmakers on Tuesday that there’s a risk of ISIS reassertion influence in the Syria.
However in his address, Trump combined war and domestic investigations of his administration as twin threats to the U.S. economy.
“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations,” he said, without mentioning the continuing probes into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and into his business affairs. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way!”
In December, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned after Trump’s announcement for troop pullout from Syria and Afghanistan.