Syria: Should we stay or should we go now? 👋

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Trump says it's time to go...

President Trump expressed his desire to bring home the 2,000 American troops currently fighting ISIS in Syria. He had initially floated the policy shift in an aside during a talk on US-Korean trade last week, saying: “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon”.

...But not just yet

On Wednesday, Press Sec. Sanders followed up by saying the U.S. is committed to its partners in the region and that troops would come home only after completely destroying the “small ISIS presence” that remains in Syria.

Trump wanted out immediately

But agreed to a longer timeline on urgings from his military advisors. They argued that a more gradual pullback would foster stability in the region; Trump agreed, as long as the timeline was months, not years.



The right doesn't think the administration is walking back anything; they say Trump's been clear on this issue since the campaign: no long, expensive wars - no ‘nation-building’. Articles from the right focus on what they see as the merits of a withdrawal from Syria: more bandwidth to focus on the threats China and North Korea pose and fewer American lives and resources deployed in a war far from home.

 

The left sees this as an example of Trump speaking off-the-cuff about serious matters of policy, brashly pushing the country toward action without thoughtful consideration. The left emphasizes that Trump’s instinct to pull out quickly runs counter to the opinions of most policy experts. They see Sarah Sanders’ announcement yesterday - that U.S. troops won’t be pulled from Syria until ISIS is completely defeated - as the administration walking back Trump’s earlier position.


Time to leave Syria?

Comparisons to Obama’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 are being made here. US troops came home and, most agree, the resulting power vacuum allowed ISIS to grow - contributing to the onset of civil war in Syria. That would suggest that a quick drawdown in Syria might not be the best idea. But, there are important differences in Syria: we only have 2,000 troops there (vs 10k’s in Iraq pre-withdrawal) and there are other powers on the ground (namely, Russia).

When you hear you're going home

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