President Donald Trump campaigned on a very specific foreign policy. “America First” has its roots in the less-interventionist policies of our Founding Fathers.
Then-candidate Trump said often that the Iraq War was a mistake, and that we were in too many places for too long. Fast-forward to 2019, and the president is now moving forward to stop the “endless wars.” I stand with him.
The idea that our president would make this decision from this perspective is refreshing and long-awaited. Virtually every president in my lifetime has ended up in a new conflict or extending and expanding the old ones.
In particular, in the past 18 years, from Iraq to Libya to Syria, past presidents went into one bad misadventure after another.
The Syrian civil war was a mess from the beginning, with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supporting arms that went to Sunni extremists, which allowed the war to go on long enough that hundreds of thousands died and millions were displaced.
During every conflict, as we attempt to extricate ourselves, there is always a chorus of hawks who scream about what will happen when we leave. It usually happens if we stay anyway.
Iraq. Afghanistan. Now Syria. We hear that our presence could be needed for decades. To what end? What do we hope happens during that time? I, for one, don’t see what our national interest is in policing the Middle East and nation-building. Thankfully, neither does President Trump.
His bold action to remove our troops from Syria is the continuation of his policy to leave that civil war. He sought to defeat the Islamic State and did. What is left is a decades-long battle among Turks, Kurds and Syrians that we cannot solve.
Every decision has a price. Would you be willing to send your son or daughter to stand between two armies 7,000 miles away as a human shield? I would not.
For those who want to stay, come to Congress as you should. Tell us, for starters, whom you would declare war on. Our NATO ally Turkey? The Kurds? Syria? No one can answer this because there is no clear U.S. interest and no need for our troops. That’s President Trump’s standard, and I support it.