Confusion in the ranks…
I have complained often to our leading Democrat about his failure to respond to negative reports about the politicians that represent his political philosophy.
Therefore, to be fair, I have to examine the acts of politicians that I have voted for, and even defended, on some issues. Although I have never accepted Donald Trump as an ideological conservative, I have agreed with many of the promises he has made (and kept) to conservatives. I have also applauded his willingness to play ‘hard-ball’ with those political opponents that have made decades-long careers of playing hard-ball, despite Trump's numerous political missteps, in the process. Now, I find myself bewildered at his most recent controversy – removing all American troops from Syria, immediately, apparently against the advice of his very well respected Secretary of Defense.
While I don’t necessarily disagree with the idea of removing soldiers from foreign entanglements that are really just civil wars, I don’t understand the wisdom of doing it when we have already expended a great deal of wealth and blood to accomplish something, geopolitically speaking.
Here are the negatives I see with such a policy:
1) Apparently, this withdrawal represents an abandonment of allies in the region that our military has been cultivating for years, primarily the Kurds, who have been the most effective ‘independent’ fighting force against the same terrorist elements that we have been fighting against, for over 15 years. Beyond that, our stated policy has been to remain in Syria until the Iranians are driven out, and ISIS is completely destroyed.
2) Turkey’s current president/dictator/whatever, whose army has been fighting Kurds along the border, for decades, will declare this to be a victory against very powerful foreign intervention, and likely will begin bombing them back to the Stone Age, as soon as he is sure that American air power will not defend the Kurds. Politically, this will almost guarantee that he will remain in power – not to our benefit, really, because of his apparent sympathies with radical Islamic groups. Turkey has historically been the most westernized Islamic nation, and has been an American ally for decades.
Iranian influence in Syria, ostensibly, is the best way available to us to
combat Iranian influence in the region, short of actually attacking Iran.
Showing weakness to Iran, whether by a bad treaty or a retreat from Syria,
invites more Iranian adventurism against American interests. Declaring victory is not going to be easily sold
On the positive side, the only good things I can see coming from such an action are:
1) The removal of valuable human assets from a dangerous and uncertain battlefield
2) Saving millions of dollars
3) Possible transfer of military assets to a more critical mission
Number 3) is really the question, for me. If the president has an intention to preserve these military assets and/or funding for something else, he has not stated it to the American people. Politically, nobody, so far, has been very critical of this move, although that won’t last long. Only Rand Paul has supported him, at this point, and only Lindsay Graham and a few others have been opposed in any noticeable way
The only reason I can surmise is that this move is tied in some way to the border wall battle that is taking place in Congress. Does he intend to use the Syria funding to build the wall? Very tricky undertaking, unless it’s just another bluff.