What Should We Learn from 40 Years of U.S. Intervention in the Middle East? | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


What Should We Learn from 40 Years of U.S. Intervention in the Middle East?

With the surprise announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria, and to a lesser extent, the announcement of a drawdown of 7,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan, many interventionist critics who had tolerated Donald Trump’s ineffectual strikes against Assad and peace talks with the Taliban seem to have reached a boiling point. But even after Trump defended his position and said Iran “can do what they want there” in Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton have undercut the clarity of what seemed like a presidential decree mandating a withdrawal.

The Trump administration’s policy in Syria seems to have reverted back to its normal state of political and strategic ambiguity. While the U.S. has begun to remove some assets from northern Syria, Bolton told Israeli officials that a full withdrawal will once again be conditions-based and Pompeo implied that such a withdrawal will be contingent on keeping a “coalition against Iran together.” The rapturous flood of criticism against the original decision from the media, the Washington commentariat, and the U.S. foreign policy establishment, followed by the resignation-in-protest of Defense Secretary James Mattis, seems to have softened Trump’s determination to withdraw.

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