More troops in Afghanistan, Trump’s Afghanistan policy leaves the devil in the detail, Cloud over Buhari’s return, Responsibility for fatal US Navy collisions, Conventional conservatism is rebounding

A roundup of global commentary for the Sept. 4, 2017 weekly magazine.

Rahmat Gul/AP
Special Charge d'affaires at the United States Embassy, Hugo Llorens right, and US Gen. John Nicholson, top US commander in Afghanistan, speaks during a joint press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 24, 2017. Nicholson's remarks come after President Trump announced his new strategy for Afghanistan, which involves maintaining a US.military presence in the country and upending a campaign vow to end America's longest war.

The Times of India / Mumbai

More troops in Afghanistan

“In a marked departure from his campaign rhetoric, US President Donald Trump has outlined his new Afghanistan strategy that favours realism over politics...,” states an editorial. “Trump is right in assessing that a hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan would create a vacuum for terrorists, including the Afghan branch of Islamic State (IS), to fill.... Obama’s Afpak policy didn’t work.... Announcing deadlines for a drawdown made it easy for the Taliban to wait out the Americans. Secondly..., Pakistan provided [safe] havens. The new Trump policy seeks to address both.... To buttress the new strategy Trump should also not rock the boat with Iran, which too has a stake in Afghan stability.”

Dawn / Karachi, Pakistan

Trump’s Afghanistan policy leaves the devil in the detail

“President Donald Trump, breaking with his derision for the 16-year-old conflict, has finally rolled out his long-awaited policy towards Afghanistan. The presidential decision to boost troop levels is an extension of the botched approach of his predecessors...,” writes S. Mudassir Ali Shah. “The US president has virtually left the devil lying in the detail.... As expected, the US would mount pressure on Pakistan to shut down militant safe havens on its soil and take concrete action against the Afghan Taliban.... By adding more troops ... he has toed the line of warmongering Republican legislators and military commanders.... As long as Kabul gropes for political and economic stability, frustrated youth will continue to swell the ranks of insurgent outfits.”

Al Jazeera / Doha, Doha

Cloud over Buhari’s return

“Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria, brought his 103-day medical leave in the UK to a grand end on [Aug. 19]...,” writes Fisayo Soyombo. “Two days after his return, Buhari transmitted a letter to the legislature confirming his official resumption of duties. But he signed that letter at home – not at his office. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be worrisome, but there’s been some bad precedent.... After working from home on [Aug. 21], he met service chiefs on [Aug. 22] – again at his residence.... Unfortunately, enormous work awaits Buhari. Nigeria’s yearlong recession could extend.... Earlier this month, Boko Haram killed 27 and wounded 83.... Buhari’s anti-corruption war is in tatters.... [I]t is neither in Nigeria’s nor the president’s interest for him to combine recuperation with work.”

The Guardian / London

Responsibility for fatal US Navy collisions

“The dismissal of Joseph Aucoin, commander of the US 7th Fleet, is more formal than practical as Aucoin was close to retirement anyway,” writes Mary Dejevsky. “But heads had to roll after a series of accidents, including two recent fatal collisions.... When it was reported [in August] that a US navy destroyer had been involved in a collision with an oil tanker near Singapore and 10 US crew members were missing, it was hard to believe that this was not old news being reheated.... That [made] four incidents in just over a year.... [I]t is not just the US that the 7th Fleet has let down, but Washington’s allies in Asia, too.”

The Globe and Mail / Toronto

Conventional conservatism is rebounding

“On being turfed out of the ‘Fright House,’ sorcerer Steve Bannon said, ‘I think they’re going to try to moderate [President Trump] ... I think it’ll be much more conventional,’ ” writes Lawrence Martin. “[Mr. Bannon] could be right. His snake oil helped take the United States’ right-wing political fringe to dizzying heights. But its influence will now shrink. For the forces of stability, it’s been a heartening week.... At the White House, generals, globalists and traditional conservatives have pushed aside the Bannon radicals.... One week does not a permanent shift make. But conventional conservatism, beaten down for so long by the Tea Party, Breitbart and Trump is making a resurgence.”

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