The withdrawal of troops by President Trump from the Near East has critics and supporters in an uproar. Yet there are overwhelming reasons to forego further US military adventures in Syria and Afghanistan and take our troops out of harm’s way.
The situation in Syria is a done deal. It’s occupied by Russia and Iran. The regime of Bashar al Assad will remain in power until the occupiers say otherwise. The Syrian interlopers have dedicated serious manpower and weapons to help Assad fight against a fledgling resistance. Moreover Syrian Kurds, who have fought mightily against the Syrian army, are under attack by Turkey.
It’s sad to say, but the damage in Syria is already done. Millions of citizens have lost their homes and Assad, the butcher, has summarily murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people. Occupation by 2,000 US soldiers brings nothing to the table other than greater potential for conflict with Russia and Iran.
It’s wise for the president to avoid problems with Russia. An escalation of hostilities could lead to a much more explosive situation in the region. As for Iran the US should deal with it by doubling down on sanctions, and military action if the ayatollahs begin to produce nuclear weapons.
There are other factors at work. Brave soldiers from our all-voluntary military continue to be in peril. What can they do to improve the hopes of Syrians? What is the end game for the country? What is the American mission? Why are our generals so intent on occupying places where locals hate Americans and everything we stand for? And finally, when will we bring our soldiers back home? The families of these brave men and women want to know.
The ubiquitous rationale for keeping our soldiers in Syria (and Afghanistan and Iraq) is that radical groups will flourish in any vacuum created by an American retreat. This perspective doesn’t hold water. The proliferation of ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are not going to be hampered by a few thousand troops in Syria and a few thousand more in Afghanistan.
Only serious occupation with many thousands of troops will enable the US to have any impact on the savages that pillage these countries. It’s highly unlikely that Congress or the American people have the stomach for yet another major military incursion.
Afghanistan occupation poses a different set of problems. The Taliban is highly organized and famous for fighting off foreign intervention. They successfully repelled Russian and have done the same thing with the US (the US first invaded Afghanistan in 2001).
There is no positive outcome in the future for Afghanistan regardless of continued US occupation. The government is corrupt and influenced by radical elements in Pakistan.
It’s true that the planning and delivery of the troop withdrawal announcements for both Syria and Afghanistan were amateurish and not endorsed by Congress or the military brass. Even the Trump administration was surprised by the announcement by the president. Naturally critics of the administration focused on the plan’s lack of coordination more than the wisdom of the withdrawal.
As far as our allies are concerned, their inability to read Trump is their own shortfall. Any proposal to Trump, military or economic, that doesn’t take into consideration America’s interests will be dismissed.
For years our allies accepted assistance from the US beginning with two World Wars, a Cold War and now in response to terrorism. The US must make decisions that are beneficial for our country even if they are not what our allies want.