On August 21st many Americans witnessed the moon cast a historic but short-lived shadow across the United States. One day later, President Trump reversed his previously stated position on the 16 year old Afghan War, thereby eclipsing the possibility that the United States would finally come to its senses and rethink a failed strategy that is likely to fail for years, perhaps decades, to come. The abrupt change, in what had been a central plank in candidate Trump's appeal to voters thirsting for change in American foreign policy, came hard after the departure of Steve Bannon from the White House. As a self-avowed nationalist, Bannon had represented a true break in interventionist Republican thinking that had entangled the United States in intractable conflicts around the globe. To put an exclamation point, Sebastian Gorka, the last remaining proponent of the Bannon perspective, was forced out of the White House. The counter-revolution appears to be complete.
In his widely-followed speech regarding Afghan policy, Trump now appears to favor a widening of the military effort to insure that the United States continues to exert an influence on a remote central Asian region, where it is often said that empires go to die.
A big part of Trump's "drain the swamp" appeal, lay in his promise to change the politics of Washington. To many voters, such a shift would include a break from America's "Neo-Con" agenda of foreign intervention, which has deeply enmeshed the country in foreign politics and has enriched the defense industry and its lobbyists. However, given the Administration's failure to break the Congressional inertia with respect to healthcare and now its reversal on Afghanistan, it appears as if the swamp refuses to be drained.