President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser H.R. McMaster on Sunday said the withdrawal of US troops from places like Afghanistan and Germany are “mistakes” from a long-term national security perspective and called for a sustained commitment to assisting the Afghan government and its security forces.
In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” McMaster discussed a need to avoid abandoning allies through the hasty withdrawal of US troops. McMaster, a retired Army lieutenant general who served in combat roles in Iraq and Afghanistan, said that Trump has made too many concessions in his peace talks that began this month with the Afghan government and the Taliban.
“He, in effect, is partnering with the Taliban against, in many ways, the Afghan government,” he said. “I think that it’s an unwise policy. And I think what we require in Afghanistan is a sustained commitment to help the Afghan government and help the Afghan security forces continue to bear the brunt of this fight.”
Instead, McMaster called for a reinforcement in the partnership between the US military and its allies around the world, saying that plans to withdraw US troops from places like Germany and Afghanistan are “mistakes.”
“They’re consistent with, I think, this sentiment that you see really across both political parties for retrenchment or withdrawal from complex problem sets overseas,” he said.
McMaster was hired as Trump’s second national security adviser during the turbulent days that followed the resignation of his predecessor, Michael Flynn, over his contact with Moscow’s ambassador to the US during the transition.
In the CBS Interview, McMaster said he has no desire to involve himself in some of the palace intrigue that has engulfed much of Trump’s first term in office. Instead, he said there needs to be a reinforced focus on the security challenges facing the US today. That will be the focus of his forthcoming book, “Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World.”
McMaster also addressed heightened efforts by China to become a dominant force in the world. He said China is trying to “Co-opt us in with the lure of access to their market and short-term profits” and “coerce us to adhere to their worldview and to make concessions that allow them to achieve competitive advantage against us.”
“I think Russia feels the same way,” he added. “I think other adversaries could feel the same way.”