Trump's Afghanistan Ambassador Nominee: Government's Role Is to Protect Americans' Interests

Jan Jekielek

Will Ruger, President Donald Trump's nominee for ambassador to Afghanistan, praised Trump's America First foreign policy and said that the U.S. government's primary role is to protect the American people and their interests.

“And I think what we need to do is really focus on being square with the American people about what we need to do in the world, and how America's role, the United States's role as a government is to protect their interests,” Ruger told Jan Jekielek, the host of The Epoch Times' American Thought Leaders program.
“Both rhetorically in terms of some of its activities in the Middle East, so concluding a deal with the Taliban to end America's longest war. That's a real contribution of an American interest-focused Trump administration,” Ruger said. 

Ruger has taught at universities and served in senior positions at multiple think tanks, including the Charles Koch Institute. He's been in the Navy for 10 years ago and was deployed to Afghanistan.

Ruger defended Trump's efforts to fully withdraw the U.S. military from Afghanistan. He said it's both good policy and good politics because the United States completed its goals there.

“First, we needed to punish the Taliban for its state support of al-Qaeda, who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Secondly, we needed to decimate al-Qaeda as an effective terrorist organization operating in that country with an intent and capability to harm us. And third, we needed to kill or capture Osama bin Laden. We've accomplished all three of those goals,” Ruger said.

Ruger thinks that after 20 years of being in Afghanistan and a deal was made with the Taliban to not let Afghanistan be a home of terrorism against the United States, “it's time to come home.”

Ruger believes in the policy of “realism and restraint,” a second-to-none national defense “that can defer and defend against adversaries,” and a super-strong Navy and Air force that can protect U.S. resources. “But it doesn't mean having a big footprint in places like the Middle East, or expanding our security commitments.”

Ruger said that “realism and restraint” are akin to Trump's American First style of foreign policy—peace through strength.

Ruger said “realism and restraint” requires a strong show of military force, but “actually relies more on diplomacy” to avoid going to war.

President Trump has been pushing U.S. allies to take a larger share of the burden, and Ruger thinks that's one of Trump's achievements. The United States should do even more in that effort to ask our allies to do more, so it can focus on the most serious challenges such as China.

“As China's power rises, that is going to mean challenges for the United States,” Ruger said.