Trump's troop pullout from Syria is a terrible idea
In the wake of President Trump's announcement of a pullout of American troops from Syria, I was curious to see what his stand was on the Iraq pullout. This article from 2016 is interesting, because it shows his flip-flops.
But it could be used to argue that the Syria pullout is:
(a) consistent with his stand on pulling out of Iraq and/or
(b) completely hypocritical, nonsensical, and irrational, given his recognition that the pullout in Iraq led to ISIS, as well as invited Iran in, and since he wound up criticizing Hillary and Obama for it.
Given (b), this just doesn't make any sense. Given his promises to support Israel in the region, this doesn't make any sense. If war breaks out with either Hezb'allah or Iran or both, is Trump prepared to fight next to Israel? I doubt it, plus that's a hard sell at home (and would be fodder for anti-Semites on the left and right. Plus, it's never been done before, so how's he planning on helping Israel since selling arms isn't going to cut it in the next war).
According to this Business Insider article:
In Jordan, 1,500 soldiers, a squadron of F-16s, a Patriot missile battery, and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems have been deployed because of the war in Syria.
Is he pulling them out also? If not, is it because Russia doesn't have a military interest in Jordan and they do in Syria? Shaky ground there to differentiate the two. The combat troops in Syria, coupled with the rebel forces there, had arguably decimated ISIS, so they are not fighting an active war, which is why he's pulling them out. So there can't be an argument that Jordan is peaceful and our soldiers aren't at risk there. His whole stance is America First, but that doesn't help us decide which countries we post troops in unless we have a national security interest (which we in fact do in Syria: to stop Iran's march to the Mediterranean, to hold Russia at bay, and to maintain a U.S. presence in a volatile yet strategic region).
Russian troops at Khmeimim Air Base in Syria are not pulling out (photo credit: Kremlin.ru).
It's not as if we have tens of thousands of troops in Syria. We have 2,000. Look at this chart for the numbers we have across the world from 2011. We have 54,000 in Germany and 10,000 in Italy. Fifteen hundred in Belgium, for instance.
Is he going to pull our troops out across the world, and if not, why not? Why are troops in Belgium important to U.S. national security interests?
We have 15,000 in Kuwait. Why keep them there rather than in Syria when we're talking about U.S. national security?!
This decision is appalling and will lead me to vote for any Republican who decides to run against him if he follows through with it. He is ignoring the advice of John Bolton, who's apparently the only grown-up in the room and who should probably leave the administration now since his informed and wise opinions are meaningless to Trump.
We knew that Trump isn't a foreign policy wizard, but we hoped he'd surround himself with smart people. It took him a while, but he had a good team with Haley, Bolton, and Pompeo. I won't be surprised if Bolton bails after this completely bone-headed move by Trump.
The bottom line is that everyone wise enough to understand how awful it was for Obama to pull out of Iraq is either a hypocrite for not calling this out or sick to his stomach that this is happening.
If President Trump does follow through with this, he should officially recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights just as he moved the embassy to Jerusalem. Senators Cruz and Cotton have introduced a resolution in the Senate to that effect. That's the least he can do to help Israel survive attacks by Iran and its proxies that surround her.
Correction: Deleted erroneous number of U.S. troops stationed abroad.