Christmas, of course, evokes the Middle East.
That little corner of the world has played an outsized, amazing, totally awesome role in the development not just of Western Civilization but of Global Civilization. We all have grown up thinking about the Middle East's good stuff, but also spent many thoughts worrying about how the next world war would start there, the next nuclear apocalypse, etc. We have seen almost non-stop warfare in the Middle East and its environs, and out of that region, of course, has emerged the jihadi challenge which we in the West continue to face some 1400 years after the establishment of Islam.
This is just a humble little blog of opinion so I am not going to provide a history of the past 2000 years in the Middle East. I, however, was struck by the uproar over President Trump's announcement that we are finished or will be finished soon with our military presence in Syria. (Note: For now, let me put aside the issue of Afghanistan which the President also has indicated he will be reviewing.)
Let's state the obvious: None of us knows the details of President Trump's proposal for our new posture re Syria. None of the pundits and other bien pensants prattling on about it knows those details or what exactly the President has or has not worked out in terms of a deal with Russia, Turkey, the Saudis, the Kurds, Israel or anybody else. So we cannot really comment on President Trump's new approach to Syria because we don't know what it is. What we can discuss is the issue of whether we should have a presence in Syria and whether our presence there has, so far, done us good. That's what I will briefly discuss.
I have written a large number of posts (go here, for example) which discuss our involvement in Syria, another muddled Obama foreign policy legacy. You will see that my principal concern about our involvement in Syria was that nobody seemed to know its purpose. What was the end-game? From what I could discern our Syrian "war" under Obama seemed to involve a lot of blather about fighting ISIS without really fighting ISIS--our President declared them the "JV team," let's not forget--and we had some weird White House declarations about "red lines" when it came to the Assad regime, "red lines" which the White House promptly ignored when Assad crossed them. There was sloppy bipartisan rhetoric about getting rid of Assad; the late John McCain seemed to like posing with "Syrian rebels," and pushing to have them get our support. It seemed we wanted a repeat of the Libya fiasco or the almost equal fiasco in Egypt when we pushed for the Islamist thugs of the Muslim Brotherhood to take power there--that was prevented only by swift action by the Egyptian military which ignored Hillary's advice. Anyhow, I have written lots about all that, and I shan't repeat it.
I made my recommendation back in 2016 on our Syrian adventure, and said our policy should involve taking note of the Israeli position on Assad,
I have stressed more than once that when dealing with Syria's Assad one should look at the Israelis. If anybody has a right and a reason to detest the Assad family dictatorship the Israelis do; they, despite having the ability to do so, have never sought to knock out the Assads. They know that in the Arab world the devil you know often times proves much less worse than the one you don't. Keep that in mind.Furthermore, I wrote that our policy should,
o Back the Israelis, of course, but also support the Kurds; help them establish their own homeland in territory that is now Syria and Iraq. They are the last major group in the Middle East without their own country. They deserve one. We can and should tell the Turks to get stuffed. Now, of course, the Kurds are Muslims, but even El Cid made alliances with Muslim princes to get rid of other Muslim princes.
o We must continue to seek energy independence, so that the Middle East becomes increasingly less important to us.
o Stop importing that war and terrorism to our shores via our currently insane politically correct immigration and refugee policies.
o Smash ISIS to drive home to jihadis around the world, that Islamic war against the West leads only to their defeat (here, here).With the advent of President Trump, it appears our policy in Syria became somewhat better defined and went along roughly the lines I recommended. In particular, I note, yet again, that our growing energy independence makes the Middle East increasingly less important to us. It turns out, we can drill our way to energy independence despite what the progs have told us for years and years.
President Trump did take a much harder line on ISIS, and thousands of ISIS lunatics have been turned into glass in the desert sands. He also sent Russia and Assad some harsh messages when, for example, our forces turned a large group of pro-Assad forces and Russian "mercenaries" into dust. OK, but was our policy working? I don't know. It seems that ISIS lost a lot of ground and personnel in both Syria and Iraq and have been much less active in Europe and elsewhere since President Trump went after their Syrian and Iraqi redoubts. So maybe we have "won" and it's time to leave; I would have to see the intel to be certain. I assume President Trump has seen it, is satisfied that our primary redefined mission to smash ISIS has been sufficiently achieved, and does not want to see a mission creep that will involve us in Somalia-style "nation-building." Are we leaving the Kurds in the lurch? I don't know, although it would seem so. I recognize, of course, that my soft spot for the Kurds is not sufficient reason to continue to put our people's lives at risk and to get us involved in some distant ethnic/civil war.
So, in the end, I give a qualified "yes" to President Trump's apparent decision to begin to wind down our involvement in Syria--if, in fact, that is what we are seeing. I will have to await further details to go beyond that.
I, however, must laugh at the Dems and other lefties now so concerned about our national security that they insist we stay in Syria. These are the same people who won't let us defend our own borders, or let us take effective measures to keep ISIS out of the USA, but want us hanging around in Syria presumably promoting "democracy" among people who have no clue what that is all about. They so hate Trump that they would prefer to support a war in a place far removed from our key national interests. Yes, let's have a Libya repeat by all means . . .
Merry Christmas, once again.