Trump had been against the Afghanistan War for many years, expressing his concerns long before he announced his candidacy (Woodward 107). As usual, he uses his greatest tool of communication, Twitter, to show his opinions. To him, there was no benefit to the US being in Afghanistan. In fact, he thought that the government needed to withdraw the troops and build on improving America first before moving back (Woodward 107). However, Obama did not seem to have the same views as Trump since he continued supporting the war during his term. Following Trump broadcasting his opinions on the war, H. R. McMaster knows that he has a major confrontation to deal with in his near future. The US involvement in Afghanistan is not complete, however, it is already sixteen years since the first invasion (Woodward 109). Due to this, several questions arise, and it seems like there is a need for a compromise, an approach that Trump may object to since he wants the US to move out.
McMaster and other top officials are thinking of adding troops to the war. They are thinking about a political settlement in Afghanistan, but Priebus worries that all the ideas go against the president’s beliefs (Woodward 110). There are several questions that need answers if they are to convince Trump into supporting the war. Therefore, they avoid informing him and McMaster comes up with the R4 strategy; reinforce, realign, reconcile and regionalize (Woodward 111). Graham is shown to hold talks with Trump about the war, claiming that the war will never end, a battle between good and evil (Woodward 111). Nonetheless, he insists that it is under Trump’s leadership and mandate and it would not be good if another terrorist attack on US soil resulted from his leadership. Later, McMaster presents his R4s to Trump and as expected, Trump dismisses the strategy. Instead, the president opts to speak with the soldiers on the ground, and this makes him want to exit from the war even more than before (Woodward 113). Nonetheless, Trump seems to love the idea of a renegade operation, a campaign that the establishment is sure no one can win (Woodward 116).