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Why the “America First” president has escalated US wars abroad — and what he might say about it during his State of the Union speech.

Candidate Donald Trump promised not to intervene abroad unless it was in America’s direct interest. “War and aggression will not be my first instinct,” he said in his April 2016 foreign policy speech.

Yet President Donald Trump has proven himself much more willing to stay in costly interventions overseas — and in some cases, to escalate them significantly.

Take America’s counterterrorism campaigns. Trump followed through on his promise to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS, dropping around 9,000 more bombs in 2017 than President Obama did in 2016. He increased America’s support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen while more than doubling troop levels in Somalia.

Trump also didn’t end America’s wars — he extended them. He sent thousands more troops into Afghanistan and Iraq and authorized an indefinite military presence in Syria to keep ISIS down and deter Iran.

And the president put confronting two of America’s biggest potential rivals in the world — China and Russia — at the center of his national security strategy. His administration continues to send more ships and planes into the Pacific region, and he has increased America’s military presence in Eastern Europe. And, of course, don’t forget Trump’s year-long standoff with North Korea.

Trump’s increased use of the military in part led to at least 33 US military deaths in war zones in 2017 — the first time US war zone casualties rose in six years.

The president’s more enhanced use of the military still converted some former Trump skeptics into vocal supporters. “What Trump is doing is empowering the United States to engage when we Read More Here