President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria – opening the door to the Turkish invasion that began Wednesday – bears all the distinctive hallmarks of his “America First” foreign policy. It’s impulsive, strategically vapid and morally obtuse.
In justifying bolting from Syria, Trump says he wants to extricate the United States from “ridiculous endless wars” in the Middle East. Such rhetoric goes down well with neo- isolationists like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). But the complaint that America is mired in “endless wars” also is a staple of the progressive left, which sees U.S. actions as mostly to blame for the region’s longstanding sectarian and ethnic conflicts.
It’s time to retire this mindless trope. U.S. forces aren’t engaged in the Middle East because Americans are addicted to war or the trappings of superpower status. They are fighting mainly to contain the very real threat of Islamist terrorism.
Read Will Marshall’s full op-ed here.