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Under Trump, especially the military is booming

Thursday, September 7th, 2017 | World News

Donald Trump has a passion for the military. His generals leave him therefore more and more liberties – also because the US president gladly gives the strong man.

When the war began, he was six years old. 16 years later Jonathon Hunter himself went to Afghanistan as a soldier. It was his first assignment, 32 days he was in the country. Then, at the beginning of August 2017, a suicide bomber attacked the convoy in which the 23-year-old was on the road. Hunter died. He was one of the youngest victims in this longest war in the United States.

For the past sixteen years, US soldiers have been in the country in Hindu Huss, and in these weeks Washington is once again discussing why they are still there. Donald Trump decided a few days ago to raise the US troops in Afghanistan. Against his instinct, as he said. Actually, the US president wanted to withdraw the soldiers.

  Staying or going – there were heated discussions in the White House. Retreat or expansion – this is a very fundamental question under Trump. Where does the military power of the US control? Trump has spoken out against military interventions during the election campaign, he wanted to reduce the commitment. But he also said that he would expand the fight against terrorism. He wanted more but less.

"Mother of all bombs" about Afghanistan
After about seven months it becomes clear: Trump is not much different than his democratic predecessor Barack Obama. But he likes to play the muscles. During his first 100 days in office, the military attacked a base of the Syrian Air Force, threw off the "mother of all bombs" in Afghanistan and intensified the air raids in Iraq.

 Instead of reducing the US troops in Afghanistan, Donald Trump now stands for a reinforcement. (Source: Massoud Hossaini / AP / dpa)

The US foreign policy is currently directed at national security policy and the military, says the military historian Richard Kohn. This was because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Trump was so weak. It was Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who stood before the White House on Sunday and directed threats to the address of North Korea. Not Foreign Minister Rex Tillerson.

US military in more than 170 countries
The military has always been a crucial pillar of the Supermarket USA. To be aware of the size of this huge machine, you only have to look at a few numbers. To 1.3 million active members come the four partial forces together. Some 197,950 of them are stationed abroad, in more than 170 countries. In Germany alone, there are still 34,000 US soldiers.

The time of the great barracks overseas from the Cold War goes by; but even in the remotest corners of the world, there are long, unobtrusive, small bases. They are called "lily pads", "water lily leaves". The idea: As with frogs in the pond, it goes from one leaf to the next, in order to quickly and well camouflaged at focal points.

Soldiers become girls for everything
Instead of sending large groups of body groups, the US has been focusing more and more on special forces for several years. They are active not only in the Middle East but also in Somalia, Tunisia or the Niger. Some observers speak of a "shadow war in Africa".

The "USS Gerald R. Ford", commissioned this year, is a highly modern aircraft carrier. (Source: Julio Martinez / U.S. Navy / dpa)

The Pentagon has long been more than classic missions. The US military has developed into a "one-stop shopping" solution to global problems, says Rosa Brooks, a law professor, who worked in the Ministry of Defense from 2009 to 2011. "Today's soldiers are analyzing computer codes, training Afghan judges, building ebola quarantine stations, listening to electronic communications, developing soap operas, or patrolling coasts in search of pirates," writes Brooks in her book "How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything" ,

Violent military retreat
All this consumes enormous sums. In no other country are the military expenditures as high as in the United States. Around 584 billion US dollars were achieved in 2016, which was as much as the following seven countries. Trump wants to increase this sum again.

 (Source: statista)

Again and again the Republican promised that he would strengthen the armed forces. Trump never admired his admiration for the military. He occupied important government posts with the military, he called them "his generals." They have gained influence in the White House, at least for the moment.

Armed forces can decide for themselves
They were Defense Secretary James Mattis, National Security Adviser Herbert Raymond McMaster, and Trump's new Chief John Kelly, who were behind the Afghanistan decision. Mattis and McMaster were once in the country.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis is considered one of the most powerful ministers under Trump. (Source: Jeff Chiu / AP / dpa)

And it is not just Afghanistan. The Middle East or Africa – wherever you look, there is a pattern: Trump gives the military free hand, the Pentagon gets steadily more liberties. The ministry is allowed to decide on the level of the soldiers in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. Commanders in Yemen and Somalia no longer have to wait for the entire chain of command, but can also order air raids or commandments without consent from Washington.

More and more command sequences
Just a few weeks after Trumps, the number of air hits in Yemen rose. On a single day in March, there were two dozen attacks on the Al-Qaeda offshoot. The operations of special forces in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan have also increased, as demonstrated by the think-tank on Foreign Relations.

During the last 193 days of Obama in the Oval Office, there were 21 such operations. Under Trump, 92 were in Yemen, four in Pakistan and six in Somalia. In the East African country, almost 40 regular US soldiers have been stationed again for the first time in 23 years.

Lots of noise, little change
Papers which explain the fundamental military strategy have so far neither the White House nor the Pentagon. Trump does not explain himself, even after his speech in Afghanistan, many questions remained open.

"His speech basically contained more of the same. They did not change the mission and the goals," says the military expert Kohn. He compares the situation with the dance at the Kabuki, a Japanese theatrical form in which the dancers move their arms and the upper body but hardly change the position of their feet. This is also the case with Trump. "Lots of noise, lots of movement, a lot of change, but everything stays the same."


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