(Military Times) A prominent retired four-star admiral says that several former generals have left President Donald Trump’s administration because their advice and many years of military experience did not make a difference in swaying the White House on key national security issues.
(Fox News) What is it with these generals? Imagine their reaction if someone under their command behaved like they did with President Trump.
by Thomas H. Henriksen via The Hill
President Trump’s abrupt announcement last month to yank U.S. military forces from their fight against the Islamic State in Syria plunged the American foreign policy establishment into near-hysteria. Now, it seems that the White House is having second thoughts about a hasty withdrawal after all.
President Trump has presented Americans with a clarifying moment. Should the United States retreat into an "America First" isolationist shell, or should it remain engaged with the world? In a Hill op-ed, Fred Kagan argues that those on both sides of the political aisle who see the dangers of the Syria withdrawal must unite to recreate a world in which the US and its ideals can once again be safe and ultimately thrive. By uniting, the US has every hope of succeeding. If it does not, the US is doomed. Finish here.
Up until his decision to draw down troops from Syria, President Trump had been the anti-Obama — talking a foolish game that masked a serious policy, writes Danielle Pletka for AEIdeas. However, by pulling out of Syria, Trump has ensured a continued threat to US interests and a victory for Iran and terrorists. Continue the piece here.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Marc Thiessen points out that Iran, Russia, the Assad regime, Hezbollah, and ISIS are all celebrating Trump’s decision to pull troops from Syria. A US withdrawal not only removes pressure on ISIS, but also creates a vacuum to be filled by the world’s worst actors. Al Qaeda will have a haven. Iran and its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, will establish forward operating bases. Turkey will go after US-trained Kurdish fighters. And the Assad regime will resume its campaign of atrocities against Syrian citizens. When your enemies are cheering, you have made a mistake. Learn more here.
The Islamic State is not defeated in Syria. Or anywhere else. In an AEIdeas blog, Critical Threats Project Senior Analyst Emily Estelle explains that ISIS is alive and well in both Syria and Africa. The conditions that permitted the group’s rise remain, and the Salafi-jihadi threat will grow if the US convinces itself that the Islamic State is “defeated.” Read the full blog here and watch Estelle discuss ISIS in Syria on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” here.
What will Iran’s looming civil war look like? In a National Interest op-ed Michael Rubinexplains that there are ample signs that Iranian security forces are beginning to lose their grip. Not only do the economic protests that began nearly a year ago continue sporadically, but in recent months, terrorists and insurgents have grown increasingly bold along Iran’s periphery. As the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s health waivers, the central government’s control appears increasingly weak. Continue here.
In an AEIdeas blog, Karen Young explains that there are now two kinds of intra–Gulf Cooperation Council rivalries. First is the long-standing “boys with toys” competition that plays out in the accumulation of professional sports events from Formula 1 races to hosting the World Cup — a soft power projection of brand association. The second arena of competition, however, is much more impactful and long-standing: the Gulf States are engaged in a battle of economic intervention. Learn more about the rivalries here.
By Colby Connelly, Divergent Options: “How to approach Iranian influence is one issue among others that has contributed to the ongoing boycott of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt since 2017. The Trump Administration has encouraged a settlement to the dispute but has made little headway."