America’s 2016 election cycle is sui generis. Both candidates have faced scandals and both candidates have spent more time fighting criticism than they have debating the issues.
This is especially true when discussing the U.S. military. And there’s a lot to talk about. As a motley coalition of soldiers assaults Mosul, questions about what comes next in Iraq and Syria linger. Just what will happen to the Islamic State as its driven underground and how will the next president combat it?
How will the next president deal with Russia? After recent hacks against the Democratic National Committee, various federal intelligence agencies pointed the finger at Moscow. Putin denied his country’s involvement and hasn’t been shy about saying he admires Republican candidate Donald Trump and dislikes Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
On Oct. 7, the war in Afghanistan turned 15. Three more years and America’s longest war can buy a pack of cigarettes to calm its rattled nerves. More than 8,000 U.S. troops remain in a country where a resurgent Taliban is making gains. Neither candidate mentioned the conflict during any of the presidential debates.
Reporting by Reuters and others has shown the Pentagon doesn’t have a firm grasp on where its money goes, but spending restraints seem politically impossible. Trump talks about spending controls, yet tells people America’s military is broken and weak. Clinton’s military spending plans are vague.
War College decided to cut through the rhetoric, drill down on policy and talk through the important issues surrounding the 2016 election. To do that, we sat down with counter-terrorism expert Malcolm Nance, retired U.S. Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich and Washington watchdog Mandy Smithberger.
Listen in as Bacevich, Nance and Smithberger break down what’s important and what isn’t in this election cycle.
About the Author
Matthew Gault is co-host of the War College podcast and is an editor at War Is Boring
The views expressed in this article are not those of Reuters News.