Despite the recent cross-talk from the Trump administration, America must decide whether it is the job of the U.S. military to stabilize Syria. Pat Buchanan, writing at The American Conservative, asks what has China suffered by not engaging in the wars in the Middle East. The answer, as Pat knows full well, is that China has done nothing but prosper by avoiding the entanglements of wars in far away places. Meanwhile, as Pat asks “what gains have we reaped from 17 years of Middle East wars”? He writes (abridged):
With ISIS on the run in Syria, President Trump this week declared that he intends to make good on his promise to bring the troops home.
“I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home,” said the president. He continued: We’ve gotten “nothing out of the $7 trillion (spent) in the Middle East in the last 17 years. …So it’s time.”
Not so fast, Mr. President.
For even as Trump was speaking he was being contradicted by his Centcom commander General Joseph Votel. “A lot of good progress has been made” in Syria, Votel conceded, “but the hard part…is in front of us.”
Moreover, added Votel, when we defeat ISIS, we must stabilize Syria and see to its reconstruction.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been even more specific: “It is crucial to our national defense to maintain a military and diplomatic presence in Syria, to help bring an end to that conflict, as they chart a course to achieve a new political future.”
Trump is being denounced as an isolationist. But what gains have we reaped from 17 years of Middle East wars—from Afghanistan to Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen—to justify all the bloodshed and the treasure lost?
And how has our great rival China suffered from not having fought in any of these wars?
Read more here.