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Friday, 21 December 2018
Trump is Right about Syria
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He is not your average Republican.

by Rebecca Bynum

Under Obama, we had troops in Syria trying to overthrow Assad. Trump changed the mission to simply defeating ISIS. At this point, those few troops were increasingly vulnerable to attack from Iran which would pull us into great big mess of a war. Do we want a war with Iran? Do we want a war with Russia? Do we really care if Assad stays in power for now?

Trump's choice was likely to either send more troops or pull out. If he had sent more troops, that would likely have been the first step in an expensive involvement both in lives and treasure - for what goal? The kneejerk reaction to oppose Russia in any and all things no matter what the cost is not an intelligent policy.

Will ISIS grow back in Syria the way they did in Iraq? Not with Assad now re-asserting control over the country. Iraq had a very weak government. In Syria, Assad, backed by Russia and Iran will mop up the remainder of ISIS.

Do we give up our seat at the table during peace negotiations? Yes, but having that seat would likely be expensive in terms of re-construction of Syria. Why not let Russia foot this bill? Let Russia's coffers be drained by Syria, the way ours have been drained by Iraq. 

Trump's philosophy seems to be to allow the local stakeholders fight it out until some sort of stability is naturally achieved. Is this wrong?

Afghanistan is another lost cause. How can we save Muslims from the natural result, that is, the violence and war, their Islamic culture naturally engenders? Trump is concluding we can't. He will likely switch from the forlorn hope for Islamic cultural transformation to the grim necessity of its containment. 

Trump is a natural strategic thinker. He keeps our main national goals in mind and is not seduced by ever shifting tactical goals the way so many pundits and military men are. 

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Posted on 12/21/2018 5:08 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Comments
21 Dec 2018
dan
An excellent assessment. Bravo.

21 Dec 2018
Send an emailG. Murphy Donovan
Indeed. The mission was regime change under Obama, then ISIS suppression under Trump, now what, quagmire? Syria and the rest of the Muslim world need to solve their own problems. Sooner is better.

21 Dec 2018
Send an emailHoward Nelson
As the USA withdraws expect China to accelerate its involvement in the Middle East. It already has numerous projects underway with a score or more Muslim countries. // The USA needs to do better than China in co-development projects with the now "at peace" 40+ Muslim-majority countries. // Resource-rich Africa and South America are already feeding China's insatiable appetite -- guess what is to follow if we waver?

24 Dec 2018
jewdog
I've read that Trump made this decision right after speaking with Erdogan. If that's true, and he listened to that creep instead of his own advisors, then Trump is betraying his pledge to put America's interests first, and has shown himself to be fatuous.

24 Dec 2018
Send an emailRebecca Bynum
No, Jewdog, you're wrong. He asked Mattis for a pull out plan 8 months ago. Turkey is the only Sunni force strong enough to protect the Sunnis in Syria from the Shia militias - who would massacre them all. The Sunnis would welcome ISIS back if that were their only choice, but now it isn't. The Turkish military is also the only Sunni force strong enough to put a check on Iran. Trump accomplished both objectives with this move.

24 Dec 2018
Send an emailJames Como
I'm not ready to post an opinion on the moves (Syria and Mattis), but I do offer a model for scoring. Imagine a rectangular window divided into four rectangular panes. Along the top are two panes that hold good policy, along the bottom two that hold bad one. On the left is a row of two panel that would read "done the right way," on the the right two that would read, "done the wrong way." So we can have good policy done right or wrong, and bad policy done right and wrong. Of course the pres. wants as many checkmarks in the upper left, the fewest in the lower right. We can even weight the policies by making the marks lighter or darker. Obama had few in the upper left or right; Trump had many in the upper right (good policy done badly). Now he has another bold mark in the right hand column: there is no argument for him having done the Syria, or the Mattis move, the right way -- whether or not you think them good moves. Those marks are piling up.

27 Dec 2018
Send an emailjewdog
Okay, Rebecca, I hope you're right - time will tell. I just want to remind you that the Kurds are pro-Western Sunnis and that there is a reasonable suspicion that Turkey will annihilate them.


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