Tags: Afghanistan | ben cardin | diplomatic surge | help | afghanistan

Sen. Cardin: 'Diplomatic Surge' Would Help in Afghanistan

MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

By    |   Tuesday, 22 August 2017 02:07 PM

Diplomacy will be a key for President Donald Trump's administration in dealing with Afghanistan, more than a military approach, said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"I find it difficult to follow what he's doing on the military side. It looks like another surge, with additional troops being put into Afghanistan. We need a diplomatic surge," Cardin said Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Working with allies in the region such as India and Pakistan is also vital, Cardin said. "We need the president to be able to engage the regional partners to get the parties to talk about the future of Afghanistan in a peaceful way, so there's no voids for terrorist organizations to operate."

"That, to me, is going to be the key: whether he can implement a surge and have the confidence of our regional partners that we can really bring peace to Afghanistan," Cardin added.

The senator noted, however, that a "diplomatic surge" might not be possible with the vacancies in important staff positions in the State Department. "For someone to put together that diplomatic surge, they're really not in place to do it. You look at the president's FY 18 (fiscal year 2018) budget; his budget certainly doesn't implement this type of diplomatic surge," Cardin added.

Diplomacy is important because former President Barack Obama's military surges were not successful, and now Russia is becoming more interested in the area. "That is not helpful," Cardin said.

"Bringing in regional partners is important, but also, we have to recognize that Russia plays a role in Afghanistan … how do we counter their negative impact in that region?"

"You've got to learn from the past," Cardin added.

If Pakistan would agree to come in as a regional partner, Cardin said that "significant financial support" has been available from the U.S. to that country. However, Pakistan would have to renounce ties to terror groups, Cardin said. "What is very frustrating, they have a relationship with terrorist organizations that are very deadly to the United States. That has to end."

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Diplomacy will be a key for President Donald Trump's administration in dealing with Afghanistan, more than a military approach, said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
ben cardin, diplomatic surge, help, afghanistan
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2017-07-22
Tuesday, 22 August 2017 02:07 PM
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