Just when the U.S. was considering a radical departure from foreign policy adventurism, the U.S. military is rolling out plans to keep approximately 1,000 troops in Syria.
This comes several months after President Donald Trump said he was withdrawing all U.S. troops from the country.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration plans to maintain its support of Kurdish separatists in Syria.
Although the exact number of troops has not been determined, 1,000 forces could be staying in the country according to certain reports. Hundreds of troops will be withdrawn after the U.S. defeats the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
However, there are now conflicting reports of what Trump’s actions will actually entail. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford declared that this report was inaccurate.
In a statement on Twitter, Dunford said, “A claim reported this evening by a major U.S. newspaper that the U.S. military is developing plans to keep nearly 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria is factually incorrect.” Dunford added, “There has been no change to the plan announced in February and we continue to implement the President’s direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence.”
Trump has reiterated that ISIS has been defeated since he declared his withdrawal from Syria in December. In a speech before troops, Trump said “Now it’s 100 percent, we just took over 100 percent caliphate. That means the area of the land. We just have 100 percent.”
On the other hand, DC elites insist that the U.S. has not completely defeated ISIS. According to Joseph Votel, the leading military commander in charge of fighting ISIS, stated that ISIS “still has leaders, still has fighters, it still has facilitators, it still has resources.”
However, the Trump administration announced in February it was planning to leave 200 U.S. troops in Syria. And now, the number is up to 1,000 troops. The Trump administration cannot seem to make up its mind.
For peace advocates, this latest set of events should be frustrating. Campaigning on an “America First” platform – which questioned previous presidents’ foreign policy escapades – Trump has appeared to capitulate to the military-industrial complex branch of the D.C. Swamp.
Indeed, the Executive Branch has grown too powerful over the last century in domestic and foreign policy affairs. However, in the case of troop withdrawals, President Trump is well within his Constitutional powers to carry out the restrained foreign policy he campaigned on. The Middle East is a mess and will continue to be for decades on end. No amount of intervention will change that.
At the end of the day, withdrawal means withdrawal. The U.S. needs bold leadership to stand up to the neoconservative consensus that has dominated foreign affairs for decades.
The costs of America’s continued involvement in more foreign entanglements and regime destabilization projects are simply too high. America needs to go back to its non-interventionist roots.