ISIS has been functionally defeated in Syria. When President Trump was running for office, his platform was mostly non-interventionist, but he did make an exception for destroying and defeating ISIS in Syria. That has been accomplished. Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, explains in The American Conservative that any attempt by the United States to remain in Syria going forward has little legal basis, and little rationale to back it up. Bandow suggests that now is an opportunity for President Trump to change course in Syria by exiting the country. He writes (abridged):
DAMASCUS—Syria’s capital looks a bit like Washington, D.C.: imposing government buildings, heavy traffic, busy streets, and imperious officials.
Until recently insurgents controlled some suburbs, from which they fired artillery and mortars into the city. Today those neighborhoods, just a few minutes away, are wrecked and empty. It may be the peace of the grave, but at least it is peace.
The last area under insurgent control, surrounding Idlib, faces an imminent offensive by the Syrian military backed by Russian airstrikes. Washington has warned the Assad regime against using chemical weapons but otherwise won’t intervene. The humanitarian consequences could be severe, but Damascus is widely expected to prevail.
Syria is a humanitarian tragedy, of course. But that is no reason for the U.S. to risk sacrificing its own peoples’ lives and wealth in another lengthy, brutal conflict.
In any case, today Washington’s ability to influence events in Syria is only a little above nil. U.S. forces occupy part of that sovereign nation without the slightest legal authority. And the Assad government is more secure today than at any point during the last seven years.
President Donald Trump has a unique opportunity to change the course of U.S. foreign policy for the better. It is time to bring home America’s troops and leave at least one foreign problem, Syria, to others.
Read more here.
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