…according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the United States is embarked on a much wider mission in Syria, with the ultimate object of regime change there. The U.S. military presence will be “conditions-based,” meaning open-ended – and, if at all like Iraq and Afghanistan, effectively indefinite. He concedes that some Americans are opposed, but claims it is vital for the United States to remain engaged.
It isn’t vital. Who rules Syria, and whether they do so poorly or well, does not affect the lives and safety of Americans. Nor is it clear that a U.S. military presence on the ground in Syria serves a humanitarian purpose, and is necessary to bring an end to the civil war. It may, in fact, prolong the conflict, and thus the suffering of the Syrian people.
Chris then asks the most damning questions, who is advising the president? And what happened to the Trump campaign rhetoric that this sort of thing wouldn’t happen?
Who exactly is advising the Trump administration on this strategy? Where do these ideas come from? They bear no resemblance to positions that Donald Trump adopted as candidate. In October 2016, for example, he accused Hillary Clinton of risking World War III with Russia by calling for Assad’s ouster. Back then, Trump was content to leave Assad in power, and focus American attention and firepower on ISIS.
Now, barely 15 months later, Assad has reasserted control in parts of Syria, which means dislodging him will be even harder. ISIS, meanwhile, has been shattered, which makes the rationale for U.S. military action even less compelling. The American people aren’t looking to give the already-overburdened U.S. military more tasks to accomplish, and yet that is precisely what the Trump administration appears to be doing.
Read more from Chris here.