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Zakharova Concerned US Unaware of Abstract Concept Known as 'Military Strategy'

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has some constructive criticism for the Pentagon

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The United States is FedExing 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, because if there's one thing that the last fifteen years of occupation has shown, it's that US troops and Afghanistan go together like peas and carrots. 

It would be easy for an armchair warrior to criticize Washington's strategy in Afghanistan, except there is no strategy—meaning there's nothing to criticize.

<figcaption>Maria Zakharova, patron saint of no BS</figcaption>
Maria Zakharova, patron saint of no BS

As Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova correctly pointed out during a Moscow press briefing earlier this week, "[The US has] no strategy and no concept, but they keep increasing, cutting and redeploying troops."

Read the full (and glorious) exchange below:

Question: Several days ago, US President Donald Trump gave the Pentagon chief the authority to send more troops to Afghanistan. Can this improve the situation in that country?

Maria ZakharovaThank you for asking, because your question is just to the point.

It is an issue of global importance and concerns not only Afghanistan but also US foreign policy in general under Donald Trump, Barack Obama and any other US president for that matter. Just look what’s going on: they adopt highly specific and itemised decisions to send more troops to this or that country or region, yet there is no strategic concept for US actions there. They seem to be dealing with issues of secondary importance, and possibly even with the internal matters of the national defence sector.

But they still have no strategy for dealing with the problems of Afghanistan or for stabilising the country and the region, which they invaded resolutely with a UN Security Council mandate but have not yet reported on its achievements there even once.

Russia and other countries do not know what the United States plans to do in Afghanistan over a period of the next few years, let alone in a decade. Washington has changed its Afghanistan strategy many times over the past few years, even during the term of one administration. First they said they would pull out of Afghanistan, and then they announced that the troops would remain. And they still do not have a foreign policy concept or a military political strategy.

In my opinion, this is why they have not reported to the UN Security Council under the mandate that was issued many years ago to the United States and the US-led coalition. Firstly, they don’t know what to report, and secondly, a report implies overseeing the current objectives. They didn’t monitor what they really did or what they should do there.

They have no strategy and no concept, but they keep increasing, cutting and redeploying troops. I believe this is completely unacceptable in current international affairs. Regrettably, this is happening not only as regards Afghanistan. It is impossible to assess practical steps to build up troops without a clear concept of one’s future actions. In other words, this is movement to nowhere, without a clear goal or strategy, and hence it is impossible to assess it in terms of goals or success.

As I said, this is the problem with not just the current administration, which has not yet formulated a foreign policy concept for various parts of the world. The previous US administration also used this tactic, or its absence, and the tendency has been growing stronger over the past few years. We consider this approach to be counterproductive.

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