Something to consider.
Two articles that disagree with the conventional wisdom.
As we warned at the time, the American position was much more exposed and much less tenable than was commonly understood. The Turks, should they choose to press the issue, were in a much more powerful position unless the American military reinforced itself substantially.
The United States military currently deploys about two thousand personnel in an advisory role. Force protection for these elements is provided especially by air and fire support. Such support recently allowed a small contingent of American forces to wipe out a large Russian mercenary element. Nevertheless, the strength of the position should not be overestimated.
American personnel are spread out and isolated from one another in many places. They are advising, and are thus co-located with, irregular forces that could not have themselves withstood the Russian mercenaries. The Turkish military, which is likely to aim at America’s Kurdish allies, is far more powerful and has integrated air support, fire support, and the capacity to contest control of the air with fighters and anti-aircraft defenses….
It may be that the Turkish military can be convinced to accept an American plan that does not bring them into conflict with the Kurdish units we are supporting, but at this time there is no guarantee of that….The Trump administration must choose between withdrawing from an untenable position, or reinforcing that position so that it becomes tenable. Otherwise, the deployed American forces are at risk of becoming hostages to the enemy at best. At worst, they are at risk of being destroyed.
Just as allowing Iran to run wild hurts China much more than it hurts the United States, China is harmed by our allowing the Turks to provoke an insurgency that will bedevil the stability of the very region where China intends its massive investments. The wars that China’s own allies are starting are going to be the biggest tax on China’s growing power and influence, which means it will become China’s problem — and not America’s — to stop those wars. That means that China and Turkey, and not America, will end up paying the cost of Middle Eastern security. The danger they face is that they will overextend themselves, and provoke fights they cannot walk away from in the process. It may be a bigger burden than Erdogan or Xi imagine that they are taking on here.
It is unlikely that President Trump thinks so strategically or so ruthlessly. More likely he is simply convinced that these wars drain American blood and treasure in an unacceptable way, and he just intends to stop doing it whatever it costs. If the foreign policy community, the establishment or the Senate does not dissuade him, Trump will end America’s participation in this war to save American blood and American treasure.
The foreign policy establishment is having a meltdown — and if you know anything about the last 20 years of U.S. history, then you know that means something good is happening…………
Nightmare predictions aside, Trump has shown great bravery with this decision, given the inevitable vitriolic political backlash. The president campaigned on putting America first, and he’s fulfilling that promise to voters no matter how angry the establishment gets. His decision will stop risking American lives and wasting taxpayer dollars on policing Middle East politics. This is long overdue, seeing as our security goals in Syria have already been accomplished.
To recap, the U.S. military first intervened in the Syrian conflict in 2014. Our goal was to destroy the Islamic State Caliphate, as the terrorist group had built up territorial control of much of the conflict-ridden region.
In 2015, ISIS controlled large amounts of territory in Syria and Iraq, a territory “roughly the size of Portugal,” according to CNN. As of February 2019, it controlled just 50 square miles of territory.
No, the terrorist group hasn’t been entirely eradicated, but it has been degraded to the point of insignificance. It’s time to declare victory and come home. A complete and total elimination of all terrorist capability anywhere was never a feasible goal. To demand such a utopia prior to withdrawal is a recipe for indefinite occupation of half the world.
And the costs of our continued world-policing are serious. Just in 2019, at least five American service members have died in Syria, not to mention the countless civilians we’ve killed without even intending to. Those hawks who wish to continue our indefinite involvement in Syria until some mythical time in which the Middle East is not a conflict zone ought to look at the family of the deceased soldier Michael Thomason in the eyes — he died in April — and tell his loved ones we are going to keep putting the lives of young men like him at risk to play policemen of the world.