Dreams are long-term, built upon short-term goals, which become reality as a result of immediate action.
Monday evening, President Donald Trump gave a press conference regarding the future of the war in Afghanistan. Within the speech was plenty of immediate actions - including a troop increase of roughly 4,000, who are there to help with counter-terrorism efforts and train the local military.
The goal of those extra men and women is to make sure that Afghanistan would be ready for the U.S. to pull out, at a yet-to-be-determined date.
Another goal of the Trump administration is to secure additional aid from other allies in the economic rebuilding of a country that has been wrought by war.
Trump even had dream for the top of his plan - the U.S. “will achieve an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the enormous price many have paid.”
Truly, what a price - the death toll has climbed over 7,000 U.S. troops - millions wounded - as the cost of the conflict increases into the trillions of dollars.
Those numbers have created a huge divide in American politics. While the line between the two thought-processes is slightly more gray than “left vs. right,” the opposing view points are quite clear - “We can’t leave until the job is done,” versus, “The job will never be done, we should steadily pull out, starting now.”
Members of Camp “A” cite the troop “drawdown” in Iraq, which left a power vacuum the new regime simply couldn’t hold. Members of Camp “B” simply say that the loss of life and rising costs will continue to increase, all the while resulting in the same situation as Iraq.
The ideological differences are not what’s on the table, however - Trump has made his decision, and troops will soon be on their way to Afghanistan and talks will begin with India and other countries for assistance.
What needs to be discussed is the missing piece of Trump’s plan - a timeline.
Early in his presidential career, and especially during his campaign, Trump applied ambitious timestamps to everything he promised. 180 days for this, six months for that.
The notion resonated with much of the American population - Trump wanted to get in and get things done, with eyes on immediate action, goals of economic change, and dreams of American propserity.
Success has been hit and miss for the president, with healthcare and insurance reform being the most elusive. However, nothing brings up more concern for the president’s ability to set a timeline and budget for that time period as the most recent report regarding the Secret Service.
The men and women tasked with protecting the president and his family are running out of money - four and a half months shy of the first year in office - with some agreeing to work for no pay.
The travel budget for Trump and his family, combined with the expense of their... unique living situation has caused the Service to expend more cash in a year than they have for any previous administration.
Trump has to establish that he can handle a budget the size of the Secret Service’s, if he’s going to be completely trusted with a war chest that is valued in the trillions.
Why? Because, whether it’s now or later, both camps want the war to end and the question of “What does victory look like?” answered.
Trump could help answer that question immediately by putting a timestamp on the troops’ drawdown.
Soldiers will stay until they are ordered to leave. Private military groups will keep taking money until the spiggot is turned off. A timeline gives a deadline for those private groups; a view of hope - for military and citizens alike - that an idealogical war can be won.
And trust that Trump isn’t going to continue to line the same pockets that have benefitted for over a decade - including his own.