tv Lou Dobbs Tonight FOX Business August 21, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
reporter: we know this has been a decision the president has been weighing for quite some time now, many months. friday he met with his top military officials over at camp david. shortly after that, the final decision was made. the administration in the recent days have been describing this as a south asia strategy not afghanistan strategy. that's important.
according to this u.s. official, we are expecting the president to speak not just about what to expect in afghanistan, but also india and pakistan to potentially bring the tall want to negotiating table. the president in the past had been openly sceptical about this war, naming it the longest war in american history. dating back to 2013, he said we should quote get out of afghanistan and there needs to be a speedy withdrawal. president trump is now the commander-in-chief, and in a prime time address he will lay out why he sees fit to authorize 4 thousand more troops to go more into that country. neil: this is beyond a foreign policy speech it's about
resetting the agenda. >> last week during -- the president went count elevator there and was supposed to get a scripted remarks on infrastructure then it all sort of blew up. it was impromptu, took questions, and it descended on that back and forth on charlottesville with reporters. you saw the fallout with the ceos and the public reaction across the country. this is scripted to the second when he will walk out and give the speech. time for a reset on a serious subject. one in which the president gets to lay out his vision not just as president. but in the highest regard he can do as commander-in-chief. neil: going into this speech tonight the markets were up 30 points now.
but they could be up a lot more if it looks like the president recomposed himself and gotten back on agenda and on point. futures activity following on the heels of that will be gauging public reaction. this market is focused on the president's agenda succeeding. some hints that all might not be going exactly according to plan. but they have not given up on this president. if we were to judge things at this juncture, you would think it would be very, very different. both were under considerable duress and their agenda seems shattered. and ronald reagan, it would end his first few months in office. way too soon to say this president's agenda is dead on arrival.
and the markets are clearly convinced it is not. former cia operative. getting back on track and getting the momentum to reclaim the agenda you want to reclaim if you are donald trump. how do you do that? what's at stake tonight for him to do that? >> it's a very tough assignment the president has got, 16 years into this war. there is no light at the end of this tunnel. no victory he can promise. it's just more blood, toil, sweat and tears in afghanistan. but he has got to make the case that the only thing worse than staying there is leaving and handing the global jihad the big jest victory it's had in probably more than a decade. neil: the president is facing
his own past doubts about afghanistan. he tweeted back in 2011, ron paul is right, he said at the time when he said we are wasting lives and money in iraq and afghanistan. he said afghanistan is a total disaster. they don't know what they are doing. they are robbing us blind. it seems that has born out the republican and democratic administrations on the part of this president. but unlike some of his predecessors, barack obama comes to mind to had concerns about staying in afghanistan, but we stayed there. the number of troops are down but we are still there. how does he reconcile that tonight? >> what we need to hear from the president is a clear articulation of the strategic goal to be attained. what is the core compelling united states national security interest in pouring more blood and treasure into afghanistan.
if he can articulate that and how 4,000 troops bringing the total to something over 12,000, how it's going to make the difference, we'll be all ears. if he's going to talk about how pakistan enables the taliban and others affiliated with terrorists against the united states. neil: we have seen some of what the president wants to do in committing these additional 4,000 troops. this is something secretary mattis was keen on, got the clearance for these additional soldiers. but mattis wanted a better idea of what the administration's approach to the region and beyond would be.
what do you make of mattis' role in all this? >> i think mattis was right. he had a president who was of two minds about this. a large part of him wanted nothing to do with afghanistan and to get out. under those circumstances with that kinds of uncertainty surrounding the president, mattis was right to hold off until he had a president who looked at his options. almost always in foreign policy there are no good choices. they are almost sales between bad and worse. the president walked up to this option and saw the better part of wisdom is reversing the deterioration that resulted from president trump's operations against the taliban to get much more aggressive in this fight and try to continue to build up these afghan security forces to a point where they are at least
minimally capable of stopping that country from becoming a staging ground for attacks against the united states and our allies by the taliban, al qaeda, and other jihadists. neil: if they are having such trouble keeping these key elements under control, what is an additional few thousand soldiers going to do? >> that is the question. i don't see what 4,000 additional bringing the total over 4,000 is going to do. we have been there for 16 years. there has not been a single major power in the world from alexander to the soviets to the united states which has ever come away from afghanistan the victor. we have to articulate what we want to accomplish there. is this just a stop gap to keep the taliban and al qaeda, the
islamic state from establishing more terror training camps? how can we do that if we don't attack the issue of pakistan which funds them, backs them, trains them. those are the things we need to hear tonight. >> i want to thank you both. north korea watching this as well no doubt. we are told the president will address the greater region of threat that would include the peninsula. tony shaffer, what do you want to hear from the president? >> we have to clear up why we are doing what we are doing and how to achieve specific victories. you know, clare just talked about the issue of troop number. it's not about the number of troops, it's about the mission. we have done some massive infliction of our own wounds. we snatched defeat from the jaws
of victory in '04 when we decided to build afghanistan into a 20th century civilization. we have to look at how we are been able to achieve victories in iraq. neil, that's the way we won afghanistan in 2001 and 2002. in when i was there in '03 we were winning the war. we have hobbled our troops by not allowing them to be on the offensive. as well as the fact that we have not dealt with pakistan adequately to hold them accountable. i talked to multiple commanders who have been over there. they were not permitted to deal with pack assistant way they wanted to. the taliban could rearm, reequip
and always come back. unless you are willing to affect the real things that allow you to win. his plan regarding how he would go about winning the war. one point he made, more than any other, running out to me as one of the issues, this plan talks about controlling economic centers of gravity. we never did that. we always pretended we didn't know what was going on regarding the traders' routes and the opium and we tried to seize ground and hold it and it was complete folly. it's about setting up what you believe to be your stated objectives. being able to affect stability by working through proxies. neil: i'm wondering, you and i discussed it before. to think nothing of the expense of this and afghanistan since
the beginning. $7 to $8 billion dollars. people come back and say with terrorist elements making significant inroad and controlling a significant part of the country, how do you make the case of continuing to do this after 16 years and assuming this time will be different. >> we need to anoint those in the regions which are responsible. we did village support operations. the idea is, neil, warlords ruled that country since the time of alexander. there is no reason to not empower them. they don't like the taliban any better than we do. they behead people and they are not civilized. let's let the afghans be afghans.
they are self-governs and we are always trying to push them toward central government. it's essentially nation building. it was not the best idea. we need to deny sanctuary, kill terrorists and prevent any sanctuary or ability for anybody to operate there, that's it. neil: well said. about 45 minute away from a speech that could reset our policy in afghanistan, and maybe this presidency. this is a venue in which the president is quite strong. with the military and military types he remains very, very popular, and his agenda to eradicate terror, even from the president who expressed serious doubts about what we are doing in afghanistan properly executed could go a long way toward changing that policy and maybe this presidency. stick around.
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knee * we are 40 minute away from a significant speech. it's significant way beyond just what might trigger down the road for policy in afghanistan, and our troop commitment. it could redefiant agenda and reinforce the administration push to get back and offense after one of its most of difficult weeks with the racial riots and back and forth. byron york is with us. i in the markets today were off, and i don't think that had to do with the eclipse. but i know hope springs eternal for the administration getting back on track. part of that rests on the president getting back on track
and reclaiming the offensive here. this speech as i see it in the eyes of wall street has a lot to do with that. what do you make of it? >> other than the eclipse. this was the story of the day. we are hearing little bits of information. it will be a challenging speech where he has 0 differentiate himself from president obama. you are playing offense, you are not playing defense. he had such a rough week last week. republicans have to pass maybe not tax reform. but they have to pass tax cuts. he has to get his numbers up and use the bully pulpit more effectively. >> i did catch mitch mccon's comment in which he seemed to separate himself from the
president not only on the fake news thing saying most of news is not fake news. that was clearly an intended jab at the president. the notion that in the battle for tax cuts, they have to be paid for. but that's not the supply sider view. he seemed to be setting the stage. my interpretation only, i might point out, for not going as far as the president might want to go on taxes. byron: before they get to that point it would help if trump seems more presidential. tonight is a perfect example of that. he's addressing the nation on issues of war and peace. he's discussing foreign policy. he's exacting as commander-in-chief. he's doing it in front of uniformed military. this is a presidential opportunity for him. the question is on the substance of the speech.
does it seem like more of the same and trump is getting pulled down into the afghan bog other presidents are in. and second does he continue this for a period of time. we have the phoenix speech tomorrow. after a presidential speech tonight, are you back to the same old act starting tomorrow. neil: the joint session of congress, he's pretty good at this, and he's effective speaking to troops. again, to byron's point, you go on the stump and you start tweeting about this, do you risk diminishing the significance of what you say? i think even the cartoon channel is going to be covering this. >> you control the message.
you sound yourself with generals and you are not having reporters shout out questions. that's what the white house wants and need. i agree with byron. got to watch out what he does in arizona. sometimes it works for him. but in the governing sense it's been a problem. neil: i think americans have a different view of their president when seen through the prism of the commander-in-chief. even with that rally around the flag after the failed hostage rescue mission, it was perceptible and notable that his popularity initially surged, then it fell later on. but my point is, this can be a rallying point. most of americans would agree on supporting our troops and the challenges a commander-in-chief faces. how does that play byron, for this president?
>> it helps for him. that's a reflective thing you are talking about. and it applies to donald trump even with all the problems he had for the last 7 months. but the substance of the speech is going to matter. fit seems like the same-old same-old. people will be sceptical of it. trump has to answer what he has posed himself in private meetings. after 16 years, why are we still there? he will have to different an answer and tell people why he can do it better when two presidents of opposing presidents were not able to do it in 16 previous years. neil: and he criticized those presidents prior. how dose deal with that and explain i evolved. there is nothing wrong with that. how does he make that clarification? >> i think he has to be up front.
it's how many years are we going to be in afghanistan before we get out. this can't be a sanctuary for terrorists that don't expect us to be out anytime soon because this terror threat is real. i think there has to be more realistic expectations, and bush and obama were not very realistic. that's why we have been there for 16 years. >> this all about keeping the bad goes, particularly the terrorists at bay. but sometime it's not about where they are. but what we do. after this. potsch: you each drive a ford pickup, right? (in unison) russ, leland, gary: yes. gary: i have a ford f-150. michael: i've always been a ford guy. potsch: then i have a real treat for you today. michael: awesome. potsch: i'm going to show you a next generation pickup. michael: let's do this. potsch: this new truck now has a cornerstep built right into the bumper. gary: super cool. potsch: the bed is made of high-strength steel,
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knee * a half-hour until the president here. some of the networks covering this referring to afghanistan as a quagmire. the fact is, u.s.-backed troops have been gaining on isis. over half of isis forces in iraqa and syria have been take taken out. but they are still striking and can inspire attacks like in
barcelona. there is an interesting phenomenon here. we look at this and assume, while terror is still running rampant and foreign western capitals, ets. why did that not apparently jibe with the crackdown on isis element and elsewhere. >> this is the classic whack-a-mole program. in '07 and '08 they were on the run and almost defeated, then we saw them come out of the rocks when we pulled troops away. but it's part of a bigger war. jihadism globally is beyond the
scope of the cold war. when we were in the cold war against the stove yet, you never had people saying why is this going to be over? we are still in a cold war against rugs communism and the russians are funding the taliban and arming them. we have many forces at play. i hope what the president is going to do is say yes we need some troops to shore up if make sure that afghanistan doesn't become another vacuum again. we have to promote a muscular liberalism against islamism abroad and in america. neil: we are watching the stage where the president will address troops and lay out his plan for dealing with this region. nikki haley is there, our u.n. ambassador. one of the things that keep
coming up is whether the success of these terrorist elements in foreign western capitals means even as we crack down on isis, and afghanistan, is that enough? so a lot of americans will look at this and say we are with you and trying to crack down on terror. we see your success going after isis and taliban efforts. but these guys are still on their crazy rampages. they can mow down people and done a great deal of harm. >> it's only the beginning, the tip of the iceberg. whether we eradicate them. to your cockroach there, they are still there. >> the precursor ideologies will be there as long as you have the
saudi wahhabis, the taliban, the muslim brotherhood. all of these global islamic movements where islam is at this time in history. the west can't be asleep. our concept of the secular nation state. we need to reinvigorate. we invigorate public diplomacy programs to embrace and work with civil society realizing it won't be mission accomplished in one or two years. but to build a concept of a state globally that embraces the concept against a military. you can't defeat jihad as long as the islamic state exists. when you have an imam in spain who cams out of prison and isn't monitored.
all we are dealing with is the violence, the terror, the behavior, and not the root thee theocratic ideology. and identify it as islamic terror and not just violent extremism. neil: nikki haley taking pictures with troops waiting to hear from their commander-in-chief in 25 minutes. a lot of folks saying he wanted to make sure the top generals and nikki haley and the rest would all agree. this has the fingerprints of not only general john kelly, but the defense secretary jim mattis who would argue he was grateful for the president wanting to commit more troops. but he wanted the president to spell out clearly what our
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president of the united states. it looks like his entire cabinet is there. they are all here to hear with what apparently all the top generals and lieutenants agree should be a more hawkish tone. and we are told more broadly the fight against terror. young lady allowing us the time to cover this. i'm talking about fox business' kennedy. kennedy, on to this idea of the president trying to tell people after 16 years we still have to keep the fight going, it's well worth it, even reversing himself on positions he took. he would not be the first president to pivot. how does he do it? kennedy: he's also not the first
president to step in the afghanistan quagmire and pull out a stinky boot. i agree with the tone he used from 2011 to 2016. when you raise the number of people, you realize 2,400 americans have been killed in afghanistan. we have been there for 16 years. it's the longest war we have fought in this country. considering the issues we have all over the planet in north korea and syria. you are hard pressed to make a logical argument. we are still there, but we are getting the band back together. >> you can talk about this idea that people do get battle fatigue and war fatigue. and then when you try to tell
them, this is the message to keep the terrorists at bay. but it hasn't stopped the terror attacks. >> i think it's very, very challenging timing as well for the president. we have recent events and domestic issues. there will be people who will try to divert attention. you are looking at what happened in charlottesville and boston. the tenor of conversation has been worse the last two weeks has been worse than the entire two years up until now. he will get up there and talk about afghanistan, unless he comes out thee m theematically. this it will be hard to divert
the attention from what just happened. it will be a tightrope. this is a long war. we have fatigue. neil: one of the things i look at through the prism of the markets as well. i think strong commanders-in-chief are good for the market. you are a strong candidate when it looked that way, an crisis for john kennedy. markets were strong when it looked that way for president reagan. i'm not saying exclusively and only for those developments. there is a president who is deemed strong on offense and not defense. >> that ties into the politics of this.
it comes at a time when you have a president representing the republican party being criticized by republicans for what they call a lack of moral leadership and clarity. this could be looked at as a way to turn the page and show he is in that commander-in-chief role. as you mentioned, presidents have had a difficult time with this. he's not the first president to do so. he did campaign on withdrawing influence around the world. neil: he did reduce the population significantly. so how does he explain that pivot? >> he will have to explain this. but this is not the first time he has backtracked from that. we saw with the strike in syria as the first example. neil: he's off the reversal
thing thanks to that syria. he surrounded himself with generals and he said over and over again he trusts their advice and wisdom. neil: we talked about the human rights cause. you talk about the $17 billion. >> $700 over the last 16 years. >> what are we getting to continue it. attacks have continued on foreign capital that don't seem to require -- >> when we need billions of dollars to fund programs in the this country. what is the purpose and focus of government domestically. there are people like ann coulter who says you cannot
abandon core tenets of your presidency. for her it's the wall. for people who understand strength, isn't there a beachhead in the middle east in look at places like yemen and libya and somalia and syria. are we going to occupy for decades each of those countries and prop up a regime and say we are not nation building? neil: the entire cabinet is there. we are behind the president. but he's got a tough sell. >> it's important that everybody is there with a show of solidarity. he needs to show these people are all together. forgetting what happened. there has been a lot of shakeup of staff. i think there is two different president trumps. there is the state of the union trump.
and the trump who did a lot of foreign speeches. an did an excellent job when he stayed on script. and then there is the rally trump. my question is which trump will we see tonight. this speech will be scripted and calculated. and tomorrow he returns to arizona and he's expected to rattle the cage in terms of going to the home turf of two of his biggest critics. we know this president doesn't like criticism and responds in kind to it. neil: does anybody like criticism? kennedy: i don't criticize you. just your intellect and appearance. look what a difference a day can make. last monday the president was on message, denounced the kkk. the next day he came out and
stepped in it. neil: beyond afghanistan, this is a president reclaiming the agenda and the initiative. and that can get back to what the greedy money grubbers like more than anything else, tax cuts. don't let dust and allergens get between you and life's beautiful moments. flonase outperforms the #1 non-drowsy allergy pill. it helps block 6 key inflammatory substances that cause symptoms. pills block one and 6 is greater than 1. flonase changes everything. my "business" was going nowhere... so i built this kickin' new website with godaddy. building a website in under an hour is easy! 68% of people...
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neil: most of of the top generals and cabinet in place. the argument for more troops in afghanistan is ready to be launched. what do you expect to hear out of the president, colonel? >> i'll tell you way it's not going to be. you are not going to see arbitrary time lines. i was in afghanistan when president trump announced the surge in 2009 and total the world and our enemies west was going to leave. you wouldn't see overly rest strictive rules of engagement and a number of things that have been in place the last 8 years. i think you will see the recommendation to put more troops in.
i'm proud of our president. that takes true leadership when a lot of people are saying what i believe is the easy thing. pull everybody out. you are not going to see the announcement of a withdrawal which is a relief. if you did you would see isis in afghanistan and not just iraq and syria. neil: this idea of how the president has to address and justify even a reversal in prior positions he had when it came to afghanistan. that it's worth the fight to stay in this fight and take it to isis settlements. >> once you get in the oval office, it's a different world when you have access to the nonstop threats that are pouring in, coming to the united states. the public doesn't see all the
ones we stop. they just seat ones wee like parse lona and brussels that get through. there is a growing realization that while we are defeating isis in syria and iraq, we are seeing fighters and a lot of that leadership flow back into afghanistan. and if you look at the stakes there, you have next door a population in pakistan 10 times the size of iraq but with a nuclear cars mall. on the one hand folks want to beat up the president for the reversing. but they ask him to listen to his key advisors like general mattis, general kelly and general mcmasters. neil: people are saying this is abandoning the steve bannon policy of don't engage in areas
which seem to be pouring good money after bad. what do you make of that? >> i get that. there is frustration. i don't want to be there forever as a veteran of multiple tours there than anyone else. but what those conservatives and others -- i'm a conservative by the way. but what they couldn't explain is if we pull everybody out and have the islamic state in afghanistan launching attacks back on the united states and our allies, then what. kneel require also sends a message to other potential trouble makers like kim jong-un in north korea. explain that. >> we have had 30,000 troops in south korea for the last 70 years. we had 70,000 in colombia helping the colombian army defeat the farc.
afghanistan is a key battlefield in the fight against islamic extremism just like those were in the fight against communism or dictators trying to achieve a nuclear cars mall. i'm not quite sure why this was so controversial. there is a direct correlation, if we leave, the united states will be threatened again. neil: thank you very much. and thank you for your incredible service to this country. we appreciate. right now the president is going to explain a new deal for this country and afghanistan. country and afghanistan. we are minutes away from thahaha
that can be really serious... especially for my precious new grandchild. it's whooping cough. every family member, including those around new babies, should talk to their doctor or pharmacist about getting vaccinated. >> this is fox business coverage of president trump's address to the nation, here is neil cavuto. neil: we're seconds away from hearing the commander in chief, second major address if you think about it. last one in january. this time he is going to make the argument we need more troops in afghanistan, up to 4,000 more. this, of course, heeding advice of all his top generals, saying this is the way to go about it. we have former state department press o