A cold wind for the globalists
President Trump's decision to pull out of Syria has invoked endless commentary. Powerful forces are against this, including nearly the entire political and foreign service establishments and big money interests like Wall Street.
So how popular is Trump's Syrian (and Afghan) wind-down with the public – i.e., the voters? Forget polls – they can be manipulated. Besides, many respondents' answers for now may be casual and off the top of their heads, given little reflection. With that in mind, I offer this thought experiment. Focusing on the GOP, come the 2020 primaries, what candidate will argue with Donald Trump on Syria?
Oh, there may be one or two. But how do you think their arguments will fly with the voters? Like a lead balloon. Those primaries will further underline the disconnect of the elitist establishment from the American people on foreign policy. Then advocates for military interventions like the neocons Max Boot and Bill Kristol will again be exposed as politically naked, as two lunatics beings shepherded into the observation ward.
As for the Democrats, for now, they may criticize the Syrian wind-down because it is Trump who is doing it. But the fact is, the Democrat base does not look favorably on foreign military interventions. Remember, Barack Obama was twice elected promising to "end stupid wars." His first presidential victory was against the warmonger par excellence, John McCain, and his second was against the ticket of the dual globalists of Romney-Ryan.
In 2020, no candidate is likely to openly support the neocon agenda of having the U.S. play the role of world's savior. This poses a dilemma for those who want above all else to maintain America's far-flung de facto empire. So instead of trying to make their argument honestly to the American people, look for an attempt to implement it by stealth. In the GOP primaries, this would involve a globalist candidate tiptoeing around the issue with vague statements about national defense while behind the scenes stocking up with foreign affairs experts the very same people who helped create the mess in the Middle East in the first place with military interventions in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Although it's not in the Middle East, include Afghanistan in this list, too.
Such a stealth strategy might have worked well in the past, but not now. Trump has highlighted the issue. The ensuing back-and-forth on America's overextension and its cost has educated the public as never before. There can be no hiding in 2020. And although the Democratic media have been desperately seeking a candidate to challenge Trump, none has come close to making the grade. The Syrian and Afghan pullout won't help them challenge Trump, either.
In 2020, Trump will make an issue of reckless military interventions abroad, whether they are based on premises of so-called national security or faux humanitarian concerns. As Daniel L. Davis writes in the National Interest:
[O]ccupying foreign lands with U.S. combat troops is almost the default position of the foreign policy's elite group-think. One of the problems from which Mattis – and other establishment thinkers – suffer is a disconnect from how a majority of Americans think.
For the globalists and neocons, winter is coming. This, among other things, shows how far ahead of the political curve President Trump is.