President Trump has admitted “personnel” is a problem in his administration. But with his latest ambassadorial nomination to Afghanistan we can be fairly certain he has a nominee who doesn’t blow.
Don’t take it from me. Read the man’s very own Twitter account.
In August, William Ruger began a tweet with “I’m running” as a way of announcing that he was taking part in a 5K sponsored by Concerned Veterans for America. This was misread by some as an announcement that he was running for office.
In a follow-up message, Ruger said that he was only running a race to draw attention to America’s longest hot war. “But if I did run for office,” he teased, “I might make my campaign about how to deal with the bane of leaf blowers.”
He then linked to a piece in the Atlantic about how activists got leaf blowers banned in D.C. over the noise, appropriately titled “Get Off My Lawn.” Ruger added, “don’t get me started on food trucks that use loud generators.”
No taco truck on every corner for this diplomat!
All silliness aside, this is a great appointment and likely signals that Trump is getting serious about bringing American troops home. Here’s hoping America can declare victory and pull out short of the conflict’s 20th anniversary.
Ruger is both a soldier and a scholar. He is a veteran of the Afghanistan War who currently serves as an officer in the Naval Reserve. He is also a former tenured professor of political science who decided to go into the think-tank world to make a difference.
The Stars and Stripes newspaper described him as a “conservative foreign policy expert and veteran of the post-9/11 conflict who has repeatedly called for a full withdrawal of American troops from the country.”
Arguably, Ruger is the member of the Koch Institute apparatus who has done the most to move the center of gravity on foreign policy. He has done this by making funds and opportunities to connect available to diplomats, pundits, professors, and other professionals who want to push back against the seemingly never-ending push to drag America into more conflicts and wars.
For a brief while, this included me. Several years ago, I went to a Koch foreign policy conference in Washington, D.C., that brought writers and diplomats and international relations scholars together to talk about how to nudge America away from war and towards a position of stability and strength. It was clear that Will Ruger was the one who had brought us under one roof.
If confirmed, Ruger will be bringing many parties together in Afghanistan to formalize an iron withdrawal schedule for all U.S. troops. One real advantage of sending him and not someone else to those talks is that everybody knows he’s serious as taxes about getting it done.
He could also be a steady, forceful voice for peace through strength inside the administration. One of Ruger’s long-term bets has been that there are plenty of people on the right who are not wild about all the blood and treasure this country has spilled all over the world after 9/11.
For instance, Ruger quoted an article about the Republican convention in the Federalist on his Twitter page in late August, when his nomination was surely in sight.
“Americans want a strong military but one that is extremely cautious about getting involved in war,” wrote Mollie Ziegler Hemingway. “And when war is called for, Americans want a clear strategy, particular outcomes that are being sought, and an exit strategy that is far shorter than, for example, our 19 years in Afghanistan.”
Jeremy Lott is visualizing world peace.
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