Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Overreach: Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Order Came as Reaction to Admin Hawks Demanding Forever War

Posted by M. C. on December 21, 2018

The Pompeo-Bolton wing of the administration wanted to stay in Syria forever. This would have been exactly the opposite of why Trump got elected

RI Staff

This time it’s real. It isn’t entirely impossible Trump will reverse himself later on yet again, or qualify the withdrawal in some other way, but for now it is clear that he has indeed given the order to Pentagon to get all its forces out of Syria. This has always been his instinct and inclination, but until now the Empire-first hawks he has surrounded himself with always in the end convinced him to keep the soldiers there after all:

“We know Trump’s instincts from the get-go were to get these guys out of Syria,” Tamara Wittes, a former State Department Middle East official now with the Brookings Institution, told Al-Monitor. “And yet, he has clearly been persuaded at several points ‘not yet, ISIS is not quite defeated, but we can use [the troop presence] as leverage against Iran.’ He becomes persuaded, and then at a certain point, … he decides enough is enough. He just changes his mind.”

So why is this time different? Here is the answer:

Some current and former US officials faulted what they saw as overreach by administration Iran hawks, in particular US Syria envoy Jim Jeffrey and his lieutenant, Joel Rayburn, the deputy assistant secretary of state for the Levant, who have argued publicly that US forces would not leave Syria until all Iranian forces had left.

“The people who work for [Trump] — Bolton, Rayburn, now Jeffrey — make it worse by adding impossible objectives on Syria [involving Iran] that suggest an indefinite stay,” said the US official who called Trump’s decision catastrophic. The official said these arguments have “no connection to realistic objectives for our military” and go “way beyond” the goal of defeating IS and preventing its re-emergence.

“Amb. Jim Jeffrey … has long been advancing a Syria policy divorced from the president’s own views,” Wittes wrote on Twitter. “I don’t fault Jeffrey at all for trying to create some coherence and leverage to achieve desirable outcomes. But it was futile without Trump fully on board.”

“The other big US policy loser here, of course, is Pompeo/Bolton/Hook’s Iran policy of ‘maximum pressure,’” Wittes added, referring to US envoy on Iran Brian Hook.

Trump finally and correctly got fed up with Bolton and Bolton-like maniacs in his administration being able to formulate no other idea than to stay in Syria for ever. And for what? This would have done very little to actually hurt Iran but in the meanwhile Trump would have betrayed an election promise. Lord knows he has broken plenty of them, and yet compared to a conventional shyster politician Trump seems to be much less comfortable doing so…

Be seeing you

endless war


One Response to “Overreach: Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Order Came as Reaction to Admin Hawks Demanding Forever War”

  1. larryzb said

    Bolton is criminally insane!

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