Undoubtedly, Trump’s presidency is unlike anything we have seen before.
Putting aside his unabashed racist and misogynist rhetoric, his latest tweet has the Pentagon scrambling and scratching their heads at the President’s total unawareness and ignorance over the nuances that characterize international conflicts — especially in the Middle East.
Contrary to Trump’s tweet on Wednesday, ISIS has not been defeated and therefore the United States should not withdraw its troops.
We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
While ISIS has lost territory in Syria, the Pentagon estimates that ISIS still has 17,100 fighters still active in Syria. The absence of U.S military presence is inviting resurgence from the terrorist group and increase’s Iran’s influence over the region.
Other top officials are concerned that the American-backed Kurdish troops will be targeted by Turkey and the Syrian government, leaving no ally on the ground.
President 45’s latest “diplomatic” tweet contradicts top U.S military experts’ recent assessments on the situation in Syria, who earlier this month insisted that the Syrian conflict is multifaceted, with no resolution seeming feasible in the near-future.
Trump’s sudden decision has prompted outrage from the political left and right.
This decision only underscores that the Administration has no plan for Syria other than allowing Vladimir Putin to dictate U.S. policy. President Trump’s Russia-first policy in the Middle East is harming U.S. national security. https://t.co/3MQgCRTZny
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) December 19, 2018
Staunch conservative, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said in a statement yesterday,
“An American withdrawal at this time would be a big win for ISIS, Iran, Bashar al Assad of Syria, and Russia. I fear it will lead to devastating consequences for our nation, the region, and throughout the world.”
Plus, given that the White House failed to inform congressional leaders about the decision many senators, in addition to the State Department, have been left blindsided and confused about the President’s rash withdrawal decision.
Trump tweeted in response to the backlash over his decision:
Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing? Do we want to be there forever? Time for others to finally fight…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2018
This is all not to say that I am a vehement supporter of the U.S.’s tradition of international intervention, for these instances have functioned under the guise of the U.S. as an international peacemaker.
Instead, the U.S.’s presence in the Middle East is governed by economic agendas, given that the region is rich in natural resources.
But Trump has inherited a legacy of the U.S.’s form of imperialism in the Middle East.
Trump’s desire to withdraw from Syria to an extent echoes former President Barack Obama wishes to withdraw troops from Afghanistan during his presidency — both of whom have received backlash over their judgments on the issue.
But what distinguishes Trump’s withdrawal announcement from Obama’s is that Trump’s affinity with Putin and Russia cannot go unnoticed.
In other words, the U.S.’s evacuation from Syria leaves a significant power vacuum in the war-torn country and it is no secret that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is buddy-buddy with Putin.
Essentially, what this all means is that the U.S.’s withdrawal of its 2,000 troops could signal the further destabilization of the region. And of course, let’s not forget who this affects — the people of Syria.
With the Assad regime carrying out a chemical weapon attack on its own people, the civilians have already undergone and witnessed such horror and devastation forcing millions to flee the region, seek asylum and only to be met with the West largely turning their back on them.