When President Trump’s top foreign policy advisers gathered recently at the White House to discuss plans to revamp the administration’s Afghanistan strategy, the makeup of those in the room was indicative of a significant turn in U.S. foreign policy.
Seated front and center at the Situation Room table were four current or retired generals who dominate just about every big national security decision Trump makes.
The debate, however, was most notable for the voices that were absent.
Intended as a crucial final debate session before the plan went to the president, the meeting took place on a day in which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the president’s top diplomat, was in New York. His acting deputy attended in his place.
The generals at the table were Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser; Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and two retired four-star generals, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly. Most of those in attendance emerged believing that the Afghanistan plan was ready to go to the president for final approval, U.S. officials who took part in the session said.
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