It took the impervious self-certainty of Donald Trump to defy establishment, military and intelligence community neo-conservatives and order U.S. troops out of Syria — no other politician would have had the confidence, courage or force of personality to do it. Opposition to his decision is near universal. Trump was under intense pressure not only to persevere in Syria, but to escalate U.S. military involvement there. His announcement triggered an instant and withering media offensive remarkable in its counterfactual narrative.
The implications of this decision are beyond significant. It virtually assures the collapse of the Islamic rebel forces aligned against the Assad government and hastens an end to the years-long fighting. What’s more, it drastically reduces the likelihood of a U.S. military confrontation with Russian forces. This decision may turn out to be one of the most consequential of Trump’s presidency — and the best foreign policy move for America in decades. And, Trump sent a message to the world that the United States is again a rational global leader that won’t be bogged down in aimless regional wars, but will manage the world order from well above the fray on the ground.
No honest observer can deny that U.S. military involvement in Syria was a mistake from the outset. With no clear objectives, a half-hearted commitment and no exit strategy, it was destined to be another interminable Middle East entanglement. At best, it was an unjustifiable risk of our country’s blood and waste of its treasure. More likely, it risked further destabilizing the region and metastasizing into a broader conflict with Iran, Russia and Turkey that could quickly involve Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In any case, once started the eventual U.S. withdrawal, whenever it occurred, would leave a vacuum and the inevitable bloodletting that follows.
Alas, if the CIA and their treacherous Saudi counterparts didn’t import, arm, train, fund and provide diplomatic and media cover for Islamic extremists to overthrow Bashar Assad, there would have been no civil war in Syria, nor a refugee crisis in Europe.
And all this for what tangible benefit to the American people? There was never even the hope of one, just the appeasement of unattainable neo-conservative aspirations of full-spectrum dominance at the cost of further desiccating America financially and morally through perpetual war. Trump’s decision will ultimately save thousands lives on all sides and prevent untold human suffering.
Nearly two-million Syrian Christians applaud Trump’s decision to pull out because they know that for the last half century they have worshipped freely and safely under the governments of Assad and his father, and they also know what fate awaits them when the Assad government falls and the new Saudi-backed Wahhabi regime imposes Sharia Law — and hordes of Islamic morality police descend on cosmopolitan Damascus.
A secular Syria run by the former London ophthalmologist and his JP Morgan investment banker wife is infinitely better for America’s strategic interest in peace in the region than an Islamic regime of the jihadist crazies the CIA has been arming. Assad is the moderate in Syria — the only one.
Trump should now join with Russia to help the Syrian Army drive out ISIS remnants and reintegrate the Kurds, and let Syria regain control over its territory and borders. Ideally, Assad could then begin a process of repatriating refugees from Europe with subsidies from the Syrian government, and financial aid from Russia, the European Union and the United States. Only then can the principal nations collaborate with the Assad government on meaningful political reforms in Syria.
Just one not-so-minor detail remains: As we have painfully learned — or not — the trouble with jihad is once you start one, it’s almost impossible to stop. So, the question that looms large is what will the thousands of angry young Muslim men, with jihad in their hearts and billions of dollars in U.S. arms in their hands, do when our troops are gone? Maybe they’ll return the weapons to their CIA handlers and go back to their goats. But don’t bet your life on it. Remember what happened the last time the geniuses at the CIA armed Islamic jihadists.
Joe Cunningham is the CEO of FX Bridge, a company providing foreign exchange derivative pricing, execution and analytics technology. The company’s customers include the world’s largest banks, brokerage houses and currency funds. He previously worked for 30 years as a hedge fund executive in currency derivatives trading.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.