While campaigning for president, Donald Trump was severely critical of Barrack Obama’s foreign policy. He drew particular attention to his predecessor’s preference for announcing to the world his military strategies. Obama’s decision to move troops into Mosul and announce it publicly weeks in advance was a particular sore spot with Trump. In one debate after another Trump warned that if he were elected President he would not be foolish enough to tell his enemies his military strategies, lest he give them an opportunity to take countermeasures. The heartburn many Trump supports are feeling right now over the Syrian missile strike is due to the different ways in which Obama and Trump publicly discuss their use of the military. This article will explain how different approaches to discussing foreign policy can shape public perception and create concerns.
It will help to have a basic understanding of the different types of military actions, which can be roughly divided into three categories: goals, strategies, and tactics. Goals are the things we hope to accomplish. Strategies are the plans or blueprints we devise to achieve our goals. Tactics are the specific tasks we undertake to support a goal. A company of soldiers may be sent to a village to remove terrorists. This is a goal. Once a goal is established, the next step is deciding how it’s going to be accomplished. When we discuss how something is going to be done we’re talking about strategies and tactics. Continue reading “Trump and Obama: A Comparison of Goals, Strategies and Tactics”