When President Trump stated, “Great nations do not fight endless wars” in his 2019 State of the Union address, he reaffirmed a central campaign promise that flies in the face of the Washington establishment’s status quo. President Trump should ignore the neoconservative national security advisers and sign the bipartisan Yemen resolution passed this week by both Houses of Congress. The resolution would end our involvement in a foreign war fought on behalf of untrustworthy state-actors who could care less about American lives and security.
The United States has pursued a failed policy of nation-building for the better part of four decades. Many of our trade partners in the Middle East need to solve their own problems. Saudi Arabia in particular, which has no problem pursuing a policy of reckless interventionism against rebel groups in the Arabian peninsula, is certainly wealthy enough to go it alone in Yemen. Similar to how President Trump has urged our European allies to contribute more to their own defense, Trump should have no qualms with leaving Saudi Arabia to fight its own war.
U.S. involvement in Yemen began in 2015 under the Obama administration without a congressional declaration of war. Americans troops are still deployed to Iraq more than 15 years after President George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion. The War in Afghanistan has gone on for so long that Americans born after 9/11 could now be sent there to serve. Our involvement in endless foreign wars is not a Democratic or Republican problem, it’s a Washington establishment problem decades in the making.
Whether through its failure to support the anti-communist Hungarian revolution of 1956, or the disaster that was bringing “American Democracy” to Iraq post-2003, the Washington establishment has a history of broken promises. The United States must stop making these promises to intervene in conflicts that fail to advance national security objectives. Irresponsible promises lead to endless wars.
President Trump should end U.S. involvement in Yemen before we become bogged down in yet another perpetual conflict that stretches our resources thin and puts American lives at risk. People die and our reputation suffers due to broken promises that would otherwise have the U.S. military deployed almost everywhere and fight nearly anywhere. By continuing to engage in interventionism for the sake of national security and nation building, the U.S. sets itself up for failure. Flawed decision making by the Washington establishment has made more enemies abroad and weakened U.S. national security.
As an outsider, President Trump is far removed from the Washington establishment. Trump’s campaign promise to keep the U.S. out of endless wars is one he can actually keep. In fact, it’s probably the sort of promise that contributed greatly to Trump’s election, seeing as most Americans oppose U.S. involvement in Yemen. And for good reason. Yemen would rarely feature in the American media if not for our involvement in the Saudi-led war. Trump should capitalize on this widespread discontent and sign the Yemen resolution. As a man who cares deeply about his brand, Trump could go down in history as the anti-war President that put America first.
In an era of big-government power grabs from both parties, true conservatives need a win that returns the power to make war to Congress where it belongs. By signing the Yemen resolution, President Trump could show his support for principled conservatives in Congress. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), as well as Freedom Caucus members like Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) all voted in favor of the measure. Unsurprisingly, some of President Trump’s most ardent supporters in Congress are anti-establishment Republicans who put principle over party in the best interests of the American people.
The Yemen resolution is one of the few examples we’ve seen recently of Congress taking steps to reaffirm its constitutional role. For too long, Congress has delegated its authority to the executive branch, either to the president or to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. By passing the Yemen Resolution, Congress has taken an important step towards reclaiming its Article I powers. President Trump’s decision to sign the Yemen resolution would not only allow him to make good on a major campaign promise, but also deliver a well-deserved win to supporters of constitutional governance.
Democrats and Republicans alike are responsible for our endless wars in the Middle East. President Trump has the unique opportunity to do what his predecessors could not. Trump should embrace his anti-establishment instincts and do what’s right for the country. If Trump wants to win re-election and continue making America great again, he should sign the Yemen resolution and avoid another endless war.
Noah Wall (@NoahwWall) is vice president of advocacy at FreedomWorks, a nationwide grassroots organization dedicated to lower taxes, smaller government, individual liberty and the American rule of law.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.