Both sides in this civil war have spilled much innocent blood; there are no good guys in this fight. That’s why U.S. foreign policy should be guided by a realistic grand strategy, not knee-jerk responses to developments on the ground. Bashar al-Assad is a brutal thug, but deepening U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war would undermine U.S. security.
The most prudent path is the one already announced by the president: to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria’s civil war and use the United States’ unparalleled diplomatic power to pursue a viable detente in Syria. Sometimes there are no good military options, and we must opt for the least bad policy on the table.
President Trump is mulling an end to the U.S. military intervention in Syria’s civil war, commenting Thursday that U.S. troops would exit the country “very soon,” letting “the other people take care of it now.” With the Islamic State deprived of the vast majority of its land and status—the terrorist group now controls just 5 percent of the Syrian territory it had conquered at its peak—and regional powers like Russia, Turkey, and Iran invested in preventing an ISIS reprise, Trump has recognized the rationale for U.S. occupation grows increasingly thin.
If the United States chooses to follow the counsel of Ambassador Bolton and others in the idealism-driven foreign policy establishment on NATO enlargement, we will be playing a risky game with an opponent who has stronger incentives to win on the issue—a worrying circumstance to find ourselves in. There may well be danger in the appointment of the president’s new national security advisor, but it certainly is more perilous to have an entire ruling class in unquestioning support of his most reckless policies.
American security is neither enhanced nor placed at increased risk regardless of how the Syrian war is eventually resolved. Our government’s obligation to defend U.S. interests and citizens remains the same either way, and we will continue to successfully protect our vital national interests. Leaving a residual military force indefinitely on the ground in Syria will not accomplish even partial success, and that’s okay, as long as we get out and stop risking precious blood and treasure. President Trump is right to order the withdrawal of American troops from Syria.
President Trump has had good instincts on several foreign policy matters since the 2016 campaign. If he does indeed hire Bolton to become his next National Security Advisor, let us hope that Trump does not sacrifice his good instincts in deference to Bolton’s poor track record of advocating hawk-like impulses.
But jumping recklessly into more military commitments and wars abroad is not truly tough—and it is not putting “America first.” For Americans who hoped Trump would distance himself from the harmful foreign policy strategies of his two predecessors, the last week’s developments should be an alarming wakeup call. This is not what realism or restraint look like—and this is not how to effectively advance American interests in the world.
The White House is cloaking a policy of regime change in Syria under the guise of fighting terrorism and preventing the Islamic State from returning—a policy that the American people neither want or were consulted on. The United States is dangerously setting new missions that have absolutely no connection at all to combatting ISIS.
The senators are right in their elucidation of Congress’ constitutional war powers. Washington must recognize its support for the Saudi coalition is a counterproductive “government failure,” as the senators wrote, and it would be wise to change course. While May is busy raising concerns, Congress may finally act.
A military alliance is a commitment to another party that we will sacrifice American sons and daughters for their benefit. To make such a significant sacrifice, there must be a vital national interest at stake for America. As important, entering into an alliance requires that the other side be willing to sacrifice for our security, and that the ties result in a benefit to the United States. None of those factors exist in this case. The benefit is all to Kiev—and America absorbs risk without the potential for reward.
President Trump shocked the world with the announcement that he would personally meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Fortunately, he has so far resisted numerous calls to use military force, and this move now opens the door to potentially solve the nuclear dispute short of war. Hopefully Trump’s actions will cool the war-talk advocated by some in Washington.
hat to make of President Donald Trump’s acceptance of a face-to-face meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program?Before answering, it’s important to remember what’s most important for the United States: To make sure that North Korea never uses its nuclear weapons. Thankfully, our overwhelming conventional and nuclear deterrent ensures America’s security.
It’s long past time to pay attention to the world as it is. This much is certain, after 16 years, when no sector of even Kabul is safe, and U.S. operations have drifted to bombing obscure Chinese separatists, it is time to immediately explore extricating the U.S. from this entire endeavor.