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Trump Tells Generals U.S. Should Plunder Afghan Minerals

President Trump exits the Pentagon with Secretary of Defense James Mattis in January. (Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr, Department of Defense)
Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

In a recent situation room meeting with generals and top national security advisors, President Donald Trump reportedly compared war policy to renovating a restaurant and complained that the U.S. isn’t doing enough to exploit Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.

This is according to senior administration officials who leaked details of the “tense” meeting to NBC News.

Trump also complained that the U.S. is “losing” the war in Afghanistan—which is approaching its 16th year—and said he was contemplating firing Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of American forces in the country, who he has not met.

Here’s how NBC summarized the conversation:

Over nearly two hours in the situation room, according to the officials, Trump complained about NATO allies, inquired about the United States getting a piece of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, and repeatedly said the top U.S. general there should be fired. He also startled the room with a story that seemed to compare their advice to that of a paid consultant who cost a tony New York restaurateur profits by offering bad advice.

As Common Dreams reported last week, Trump has long been enticed by the prospect of plundering Afghanistan’s untapped mineral reserves. In the meeting with his national security advisors, NBC noted, Trump reiterated his wishes and fumed that China is “making money off of Afghanistan’s estimated $1 trillion in rare minerals while American troops are fighting the war.”

Trump also “expressed frustration that his advisers tasked with figuring out how the U.S. can help American businesses get rights to those minerals were moving too slowly,” NBC reported.

Commentators have in the past argued that Trump’s desire to exploit a war-torn country’s mineral reserves amounts to a longing for “colonialism.”

The response to leaked details of Trump’s meeting with military officials was of a similar tone.

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