At The National Interest, Doug Bandow, a Cato Institute senior fellow, explains in light of President Trump’s pullback from Syria that “Not every problem can be solved by America.” Bandow pokes holes in any fantasy that America is bound to protect Kurdish militants.
America saved the Kurds’ autonomy when it invaded Iraq. Then America saved the Kurds from ISIS. How long is America bound to protect the Kurdish people?
Neocons point to all the times the Kurds have fought alongside the United States. But who was that fighting being done for? Certainly not the coal miners of West Virginia, or the steelworkers of Pennsylvania and Ohio.
America was fighting the Kurds’ battles for them, surely it wasn’t too much to ask that they join in.
Bandow rightly notes only Congress can bind America to the Kurds in a security guarantee, and despite all the hand wringing on Capitol Hill, they haven’t even attempted to do that. He writes (abridged):
The United States cannot and should not remain in Syria to protect the unofficial, semi-autonomous Kurdish zone, known as Rojava.
The Kurds had their own reasons for fighting ISIS and did not thereby earn permanent protection, especially from Turkey vis-à-vis America. Moreover, any security guarantee would be up to Congress. Overall, occupying the Kurdish area in Syria endangers American security by entangling the United States in a war zone with multiple competing forces representing conflicting powers, all of which have more at stake and thus are prepared to incur greater risks and costs in pursuit of their objectives.
Even Pentagon officials who want to maintain the U.S. forces in Syria are contemplating the need to leave if Ankara again invades. Turkey’s previous move to occupy indisputably Kurdish territory near Afrin, Syria, nearly led to crisis when Ankara and Washington both threatened each other. With Turkey now preparing to create its own buffer zone American forces could find themselves in the middle of a wider war. Reported the Wall Street Journal: “U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that Turkey soon will mount a major incursion into northern Syria and trigger a clash with Kurdish fighters, a move likely to prompt the Trump administration to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria to avoid a conflict.
The Trump administration should bring U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war to a close. Not every tragedy is America’s problem. Not every problem can be solved by America. It is time to leave the solution to Syria’s tragic conflict to others.
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