March 22, 2017

Trump says he'll destroy ISIS. His budget would make that a lot harder.

By Ilan Goldenberg

The Trump administration is hosting a meeting today of the 68 countries battling ISIS to take stock of the current campaign and plan their next moves. It should be a big moment for President Trump, who won the White House after vowing to eradicate the group.

The problem is that Trump’s proposal to slash the State Department and USAID budget by 36 percent — from $58.8 billion to $37.6 billion — will make the fight much harder. Trump will have to choose between a desire to dramatically slash spending on diplomacy and foreign aid and his promise to defeat ISIS. He can’t do both.

The hardest part of destroying ISIS’s self-declared “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria isn't reconquering actual territory. It’s been a bloody and slow fight, but Iraqi and Kurdish forces — backed by US airpower and troops — are gradually retaking both small towns and major cities like Mosul.

Read the full article on Vox.

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