Goodbye to the Middle East This article provides a good context to what is happening there, without…

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Goodbye to the Middle East

This article provides a good context to what is happening there, without the idiotic bias of NYT or Shareblue.

[I]f not for the seemingly bottomless volume of TrumpDrama in America these days, most Americans would probably be sighing in relief right now. If the Americans really don’t have an interest in maintaining a global Order, then the Middle East is barren of American national interests and it can now firmly be someone else’s problem.

Goodbye to the Middle East
Goodbye to the Middle East

This day was always going to happen.   On October 7, U.S. President Donald Trump announced a partial withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria. Soon after, Turkish forces began moving south across the border to strike Kurdish forces which had been until extremely recently under American protection. Two days later the partial American withdrawal was upgraded to a full evacuation of all forces.   Wailing and gnashing of teeth across the American political spectrum quickly erupted, with many condemning the tactical and political aspects of the president’s decision. I’m of mixed minds:   On the one hand, the Kurds – whether in Syria or Iraq – have been America’s only reliable regional allies since America’s first major confrontation with Iraq back in the early 1990s. When we have asked, they have answered. Every single time. In many cases U.S. forces didn’t even do the heavy lifting, but instead relegated themselves to providing intelligence and materiel support. Without the Kurds’ assistance the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would have been far nastier affair, post-Saddam Iraq would have been far less stable, the defanging of ISIS and the destruction of the ISIS caliphate would not have happened. In Syria in specific, the Kurds habitually provided at least five times the forces the Americans did.   On the other hand, the United States was always going to leave Syria. If the Americans were unwilling to commit 100,000 troops to the overthrow of Syria’s Assad government and its subsequent forcible reconstruction, then there was little reason to become involved in a decades-long, grinding multi-sided civil war.   The primary reason American forces remain in Syria at this point is to limit Iranian penetration. That battle was lost six years ago when then-President Obama allowed the Syrian government to cross Obama’s own red line on the use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians. Obama made it crystal clear that any U.S. military action would be small scale, focused on Special Operations Forces, and largely dedicated to backing up the Syrian Kurds. Whether under Obama or Trump, an American withdrawal has always been inevitable. It’s just taken seven years of Syrian-Russian-Iranian victories on the battlefield and the large-scale dismemberment of the ISIS Caliphate to make it imminent.   Aside from the Iranian vector, American national and strategic interests in Syria are utterly nonexistent. Syria – even backed up by Iran – is a military pigmy that Israel could easily shatter. If Jerusalem really wanted to, it could roll into Damascus in a long weekend. (Sticking around, of course, would be a barrel of shiv-wielding monkeys.) American interests in Lebanon are less than American interests in Syria. Jordan has been a de facto Israeli client state for years. And that is quite literally all she wrote.   The far more important fact – comfortable or uncomfortable depending upon your view – is that the evolving American view of Syria is really little more than a microcosm of an evolving American view of the Middle East writ large. American troop deployments throughout the region have been plunging for a decade and are now down to about one-tenth of their peak. America now has more troops in Afghanistan than the rest of the region combined, and that deployment is well on its way to a complete phase out. CENTCOM HQ in Qatar will almost certainly be closed soon (you don’t need a forward command center if there’s nothing to command). The Iraq advisory force is leaving. Kuwait, once the launchpad for multiple wars, has been reduced to lilypad status. The Turks are certain to eject U.S. forces from the Incirlik base within a year.   Within two years the total regional deployment figure will be in the low-to-mid single digits of thousands, at most one-fifth of what is there today.

Comments (7)
No. 1-5
hmk
hmk

Excellent read

William Janes
William Janes

Interesting essay, American disengagement from Middle East and Levant conflicts will test our military and foreign policy elites who can't seem to leave the 1970s behind. His book, The Accidental Superpower, was an interesting analysis of the world in the 21st Century with it surprise ending, America will continue to prosper in this new century.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

I will go on record here and predict there will be a nuclear war somewhere in the middle east or North Africa in the next 10 years and it won't be because of the United States.

Tengen
Tengen

There are a few problems in the article, such as the author thinking we had nothing to do with ISIS rampaging around and that Iran attacked the Saudi refineries. Those faults are minor compared to the fact that his conclusion is ridiculous!

Simply put, we're not leaving the Middle East, EVER. Our two best friends are there, and even if the House of Saud meets a well deserved demise, we're still joined at the hip to Israel. There is no plausible scenario where we leave them to their own devices, and that means permanent involvement in the region. This ballyhooed Trump decision to leave NE Syria doesn't mean much either. Even though I agree the US should leave, Trump tweeted yesterday that those troops are redeploying nearby.

Much like our bankers being stuck in ZIRP/NIRP mode forever, our MIC is stuck in empire mode. The empire continues until the US collapses and no politician is going to change that. Trump isn't bringing anyone home and he's still on the firing line for daring to shift troops around in the region. Sorry guys, but the genie is already out of the bottle and has been since the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

Sechel
Sechel

Read the piece. Author over-simplifies the realities of the region. Piece was not illuminating at all. Basically the author was arguing its all helpless


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