Foreign Policy

We Can Learn 3 Lessons From Trump's Partial Syria Withdrawal

Reshuffling is not only a haphazard half-measure—it is no substitute for the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

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"I was elected on getting out of these ridiculous endless wars, where our great Military functions as a policing operation to the benefit of people who don't even like the USA," President Trump tweeted Monday morning as news spread of his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria ahead of Turkish military action against Kurdish fighters in the region. "The endless and ridiculous wars," he added in another post, "are ENDING!"

If only that were true. The president is right that he campaigned against prolonging costly and counterproductive U.S. wars in the Middle East, but since taking office he has so far failed to end a single one. He has "no plans at all" to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, and he issued a rare veto to shut down a bipartisan congressional effort to shutter U.S. support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen's civil war. Dramatic announcements about departing from Afghanistan and Syria have dissolved into somewhat smaller but apparently permanent troop presences in both countries.

This week's partial reshuffling inside Syria doesn't change that. It doesn't end American intervention in Syria—U.S. boots will still be on the ground elsewhere in the country—or eliminate the possibility of stumbling into unwanted conflict with other actors in Syria's civil war, including regime forces, Iran, nuclear-armed Russia, and even our NATO ally, Turkey. (Though in a sense this move lessens the chance of war with Turkey, Trump paired it with a tweeted threat, also made Monday, to "totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey" if the country "does anything that I…consider to be off limits.")

Furthermore, the reported lack of advance warning to the Kurdish forces for whom Trump previously expressed strong support means more bloodshed is likely than we might have seen with a better-planned, full U.S. exit. And the narrowness of this shift—explicitly cast by the White House as getting out of Turkey's way instead of leaving Syria altogether—manages to function more as pulling the rug out from under the Kurds than a meaningful strategy change in service to U.S. interests.

All told, this reshuffling does not amount to "getting out of these ridiculous endless wars"; it is rather a haphazard half-measure that is no substitute for complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria—and beyond. If Trump is serious about liquidating unnecessary, failed, costly overseas missions, he must actually end them.

That is the first lesson here: Trump should finally make good on his many critiques of the foreign policy status quo and actually end a war. Though there are plenty of candidates to consider—see, again, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen, to say nothing of smaller interventions in Somalia, Libya, and a host of African states—Syria would be a good place to start. The U.S. military presence there is comparatively small; the futility of their ever-creeping mission is increasingly undeniable; and the risks of their permanence are evident.

As Trump himself said in 2013, "What I am saying is stay out of Syria." U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war has aggravated an already tragic situation, contributing to humanitarian disaster and doing nothing for American security. The wisdom of intervention was always debatable; with the Islamic State's territorial caliphate eliminated, the wisdom of departure is indisputable.

The second lesson of the partial withdrawal is broader: It is time to fundamentally change Washington's posture toward the Mideast. The last 18 years in the region have seen "the military power of the United States [play] a large part in exacerbating problems rather than contributing to their solution," argues Ret. Col. Andrew Bacevich, a military historian, at The American Conservative. Bipartisan attempts "to establish some form of regional Pax Americana [have] failed irretrievably and at enormous cost to the United States and to others. What we have endured is an era of ineffectual American meddling." Beyond ending a single war, Trump should make good on his campaign themes by substantially reorienting U.S. foreign policy away from constant intervention in the Middle East's regional problems.

The third lesson is broader still: This should be the impetus for far more careful interrogation of future U.S. interventions and partnerships before they begin. It "should cause us all to reconsider America's commitments abroad," argues the Cato Institute's Christopher Preble, "and to be more careful about how U.S. policymakers define allies, and what promises they make, or might appear to be making, on behalf of the American people."

This lesson is as applicable in Eastern Europe and East Asia as it is in the greater Middle East. Washington too easily commits our military to situations which have nothing to do with American security and where escalating our involvement would be wildly imprudent. This is dangerous for U.S. troops and costly for U.S. taxpayers, but it also has the reprehensible side effect of suggesting to groups like the Kurds that American help is coming when realistically it is not.

Such empty suggestions can and, in Syria, probably will lead to death and destruction that could have been prevented without confusing signals from Washington. As in so much of recent U.S. foreign policy, the cardinal misstep here is not the reshuffling, clumsy and flawed though it may be, but the failure to fully withdraw already.

NEXT: Instead of Suing or Appealing to Regulators, These Manhattanites Paid Market Price for Their Condo Views 

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    1. I’ve taken absolute delight in watching neoliberal/progressive “HURRR STOP AMERICAN HEGEMONY DERPITY DOO!!” bobbleheads argue that we need to keep American troops in Syria to “protect our allies (ignoring the fact that Turkey is, technically, still an ally).” Clearly, the only reason they’re crying about it is because Trump did it. That is the definition of TDS.

      1. Seems to be another lesson to learn here. When Trump pulled the US troops out and Turkey started killing, it didn’t take long for Finland and Norway to object to Turkey’s actions. Is this a model for future actions? When the US pulls out, will other nations step up to exert pressure on wrong-doers? If so, that’s a good sign. We can stop being the world’s policeman. Instead, we can put the troops on our OWN border for our OWN defense and start slaughtering invaders illegally entering OUR country.

  1. In what is fast becoming today’s version of “Simpsons did it!”, The Bee Did It!

    1. In related news… the Bee has the scope on Snopes.com’s new “Opinion Check” feature:

      As soon as the feature went live, Snopes had opinion-checked dozens of opinions, including the following:

      President Trump isn’t as bad as Hitler
      White men aren’t all bad
      Abortion is wrong
      Pineapple does not belong on pizza
      Hillary Clinton is not a good person
      The Last Jedi is trash
      It’s OK to laugh at a joke on the internet

      All of these earned a “Wrong” opinion rating. Any post expressing these opinions on social media will automatically be tagged with a “Wrong” rating from Snopes.

      So that should prove handy for HnR Reason.com denizens.

    2. The Bee is awesome!

  2. Reason is right, we should just stay forever in our foreign wars! We should send troops to every ‘ally’ we can find!

    1. Did you actually read the article? That’s the exact opposite of what they’re suggesting.

      1. I know, right?

        Trump: I’m removing some troops from northern Syria
        Reason commenters: SEE? SEE? HE’S ANTIWAR AFTER ALL! ALL PRAISE LIBERTARIAN DONALD TRUMP
        Reason author: Actually, there’s more to the story…
        Reason commenters: IF YOU DON’T KNEEJERK SUPPORT TRUMP YOU HAVE TDS AND YOU SUPPORT ENDLESS WAR FOREVER

        1. Trump: I’m removing some troops from northern Syria
          Reason commenters: ORANGE MAN BAD! ONLY STOPPING HALF A WAR IS WORSE THAN NOT STOPPING IT AT ALL!
          Reason author: ORANGE MAN BAD! ONLY STOPPING HALF A WAR IS WORSE THAN NOT STOPPING IT AT ALL!
          Reason commenters: YES ORANGE MAN BAD! ONLY STOPPING HALF A WAR IS WORSE THAN NOT STOPPING IT AT ALL!

          1. In case you hadn’t noticed, most of the commenters around here are Trump bootlickers, not exactly ORANGE MAN BAD types.

            There’s maybe like 10 actual libertarians who post here, the rest are right-wing shills of one form or another.

            So I don’t even know what your complaint is, since you don’t read the articles, don’t care about what the articles say, and just come here to spew and emote.

            1. Why didn’t you count the rabid progressives who post here? Those such as yourself. I understand why you adore so many of the postings here being of the same mind as you when it comes to ends justifying the means. Logic and consistency are neither their strong suit nor yours.

              1. Why didn’t you count the rabid progressives who post here?

                There’s like 2 of them.

                Those such as yourself.

                Sure, if you define “progressive” as “people Skippy doesn’t like”.

  3. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Libertarians for endless war!

    Is this what Gary Johnson meant when he said he supported ‘humanitarian’ wars?

    What a goddamn clown show. *honk honk*

    1. Libertarians for endless war!

      I know, right? That’s why the author wrote “Trump should finally make good on his many critiques of the foreign policy status quo and actually end a war.” It’s because she’s in favor of endless war!

      Oh wait, it’s not like you actually read the article or anything. You just come here to gaslight and mock libertarians.

      1. “Either immediately withdraw all troops or stay forever”. Hmmmm. Almost seems like a false dilemma fallacy that would only work on a braindead retard who relies entire on sophistry. And it looks like it did!

        1. “Either immediately withdraw all troops or stay forever”

          So you still haven’t read the article, I see.

          Not like you give a shit about the substance of any of the articles here.

          1. No I read it, I just actually understood it. I know that’s an utterly foreign concept for you.

            You’re right about one thing though. I don’t give a shit about the substance of any of the articles here. That’s because there are no articles with any substance published here. Which matches up really well with the rest of your media consumption habits being as you post link exclusively from WaPo, Axios and Vox.

            1. I just actually understood it

              If that’s the case, maybe you can clarify the rationale for leaving the troops in Syria, since you seem to see that as the central argument being made.

              1. If that’s the case, maybe you can clarify the rationale for leaving the troops in Syria

                Based on what the left-wingers are saying, leaving is creating a vacuum that ISIS will use to rise again.

                Funny thing is that this exact same argument was mocked by the left when we pulled out of Iraq.

                1. I meant in the article that he’s claiming is supporting endless occupation of Syria. I understand that the Left are being insufferable hypocrites. That’s not surprising.

              2. Perhaps you can clarify the rationale for leaving the deployment of troops exactly as they were. Can you explain exactly why the choice must be so manichaean? I know that the only two choices that were presented at the time of the iran deal were global thermonuclear war or capitulation, but don’t you think that a group that prides itself on being able to understand nuance and subtlety and being the unemotional, smartest kids in the room could have a slightly more sophisticated analysis than that?

                1. Perhaps you can clarify the rationale for leaving the deployment of troops exactly as they were.

                  That’s exactly what I’m asking. I’m being told that this is the argument being made in this article, but I can’t find it. Maybe you can help me.

                  1. You have to use the RDS (Reason Derangement Syndrome) filter to understand their interpretation of Reason articles.

                    Reason: Here’s some more data on climate change.
                    Reason (with RDS filter): HERE’S MY SUPPORT FOR THE GREEN NEW DEAL

                    Reason: Here’s some evidence on why Trump made a mistake.
                    Reason (with RDS filter): HERE’S MY IRRATIONAL HATRED OF TRUMP

                    Etc.

    2. +1,000!!!! Johnson & Weld were also for a bigger FBI & CIA, & Govt. forcing bakers, florists, photogs to serve perverted weddings that went against their faith & conscience!….LP deep in the toilet these days!

  4. How sad that Reason goes “no true Scotsman” on these appeals to the Left. Trump is going a good thing and Reason’s on the side of altruistic endless war.

    1. Reason’s on the side of altruistic endless war.

      Can you share the logic chain that leads from “Trump should pull all troops out of Syria immediately” to “Reason’s on the side of altruistic endless war?”

      1. Can you share the reasoning behind being critical of any withdrawal short of complete isolationism? This entire piece is just a longer version of the old joke: The food here is terrible and there’s not enough of it!

        1. Can you share the reasoning behind being critical of any withdrawal short of complete isolationism?

          What “withdrawal” is going on here?

          If you tie your knee down to your chair for a moment and read the comments I’m actually making, you’ll notice my criticism is of which betrayals we’re prioritizing and which assholes we’re choosing to still support.

  5. When Trump really decides to expose the democrats total lack of actual policy, he will announce that he is recalling ALL US troops around the world to US bases. Then he will state the recall will not be done in any instance where the legislature specifically authorizes military force, in a bill including specific military objectives.

    1. I mean, the red team has never bothered to pass any specific declarations of war in the 21st century either, other than the one immediately following 9/11 (which was broadly bipartisan) that both teams have subsequently used to justify all their unconstitutional military campaigns. I do hold some hope that Trump might eventually tell them all to stuff it and bring everyone home, but I can’t say that I think it’s very likely.

      1. Keep in mind that he wanted to pull troops out a few months back. Bolton talked him out of it, but not before he lost his Secretary of Defense over that decision. The left had an aneurysm because he wanted to bring representatives of both the Taliban and the Afghan government to Camp David to hammer out an agreement that would finally get our troops out of Afghanistan.

        I mean, seriously, the fact that Mattis found himself on the same side as John Fuckin’ Bolton should have given him pause.

      2. You mean, other than the only 2 times that team Red used military force?

        Yeah, the “global war on terror” authorization was easily misused by Obama – if he even bothered to connect the dots – but at least that one has the defensible problem of having been designed to attack non-state actors who are diffuse in location, which makes a time and space limited bill pretty hard to craft.

        Bringing down Libya had none of those factors.

        1. And I guess we have this Syria thing…. it is all so muddled now that I forget how exactly we got there. Wasn’t that the “red line in the sand” thing? Part Deux?

          1. I forget how exactly we got there

            “We” didn’t get there. It’s just slowly come out that we have troops there, even though we were told for years that we didn’t and that we would never “put boots on the ground” in Syria.

            Then, all of sudden, we started having a conversation about whether or not to pull out our troops, since we’ve always been at war in Syria.

            1. I still don’t understand why that red line didn’t work. I mean, it was a red line! You can’t cross a red line.

    2. he will announce that he is recalling ALL US troops around the world to US bases.

      Why would he do that? Did you think that Trump was some principled anti-war president or something?

      1. Heh. You said “principled”.

        1. Principled to the pigeon is just another word for I want it.

    3. If Trump does that he will shortly be as dead as JFK, the last guy to take on the Military-Industrial Complex, which BTW is much much bigger & powerful now!

  6. When I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, foreign policy certainly factored into my decision. I knew Orange Hitler would be a disaster due to lack of experience, and I was right. Clinton, in contrast, was literally the most qualified Presidential candidate ever. Her foreign policy record consists of one smart move after another.

    #StillWithHer
    #LibertariansForStayingInSyria
    #LibertariansForGlobalMilitaryPresence

  7. Only Israel wants our endless support for their aggression in the Middle East. The US has spent 8 trillion and countless lives there to be on the wrong side of history.

    The sooner we stop supporting apartheid and terrorism, which began when we stole Palestine, the better.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/us/2019/10/09/trump-defends-syria-move-doesnt-want-us-troops-in-mideast.html

    1. Hey look, a psychotic left wing anti-Semite.

      1. But you repeat yourself.

    2. THE JEWS! THE JEWS!

    3. No, it’s not just Isreal. It’s our other “allies” like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain. You know, the good guys who love freedom.

      1. You know, the good guys who love freedom

        This is the thing that pisses me off the most. Yes we shouldn’t be involved in Syria. But the SDF is pretty much the best thing going in the ME right now. That we decide to start by abandoning them while we still prop up the Saudi war in Yemen is just gross.

        And this article makes an important point in that Trump is not actually withdrawing our troops – he’s just ordered them to pull back and not help our allies.

        1. But the SDF is pretty much the best thing going in the ME right now.

          There’s been plenty of accusations against the SDF for their own atrocities, particularly against Arab residents north of the Euphrates. That coalition was already having issues because it’s thoroughly dominated by Kurds, and the only thing they can agree on is that they hate Assad and ISIS.

          1. There’s been plenty of accusations against the SDF for their own atrocities, particularly against Arab residents north of the Euphrates.

            Accusations, yes, but there’s also a strong tendency in the western media to conflate the SDF with Kurdish nationalist groups, when the SDF, while Kurd-dominated, is not a Kurdish nationalist group.

            And let’s call a spade a spade – “best thing going in the ME” is a pretty low bar. If there’s a better, more democratic and less racist, sexist, and fanatical group vying for power, I’d like to hear about them.

            They won’t succeed if they’re perceived as a US puppet, so they do need to learn to stand on their own – I just don’t think they should be the first people we abandon while we still prop up people like the Saudis.

            1. I get what you’re saying, but history tells us that the US only values the Kurds insofar as they can be used to undermine Greater Devils. Once they’ve passed their window of usefulness, they’re discarded. The Saudis, on the other hand, have been our boos for over 30 years. Sometime the mistress just isn’t compelling enough to leave the wife for.

              The SDF should have been prepared for this when the last ISIS pockets in their sector of Syria were cleared out and Bolton was sacked.

              1. The SDF should have been prepared for this when the last ISIS pockets in their sector of Syria were cleared out and Bolton was sacked.

                I think they were. This “stabbed in the back” and “we were given no warning” talk doesn’t stand up to close examination. They demobilized from their own positions in anticipation of the Turks coming in.

                From a strategic standpoint, I 100% understand abandoning the SDF and continuing to support the Saudis. I tend to support KMW’s notion of “controlled burn of the state,” and our disengagement in foreign policy terms should likewise be deliberate and planned and not just a flailing out of it.

                My hope is that Trump armed the SDF to the teeth before backing away, but it’s looking like the opposite may have happened (but again, hard to say – there’s a lot of posturing and politicking going on, not least of which I think is aimed at controlling the impression that the SDF is being propped up by the US, since that damages the SDF’s reputation locally – better for them if they start loudly screaming about how the US betrayed them, but they’re going to carry on anyway).

                1. Close those italics after “is.”

                2. Unless we’d been sitting in the briefing rooms at either the Pentagon or the CAOC, it’s all speculation on what was really discussed. Knowing Trump, it’s likely that this was a snap decision, even taking into account that he’s been wanting to pull back from Syria for some time. I completely agree that the SDF’s operational maneuvers indicate they were prepping for an invasion from the north, which is interesting because it also indicates that Assad’s not planning on getting his hands dirty there any time soon.

                  I think, at some point, if Turkey continues to try and create a buffer zone on the border, the Kurds and Assad could very well come to a mutual arrangement to push back those incursions. The flip side is that Assad doesn’t really have anything to lose by letting two mutual adversaries beat the shit out of each other, and could just sit back and eat popcorn.

                  1. Knowing Trump, it’s likely that this was a snap decision, even taking into account that he’s been wanting to pull back from Syria for some time.

                    That’s my concern.

                    Everyone in the region is showing signs of starting to hesitate to count on the US, which is a good thing. I think what doesn’t help is Trump’s tendency toward “we’re pulling out!” “no we’re staying!” “no, we’re staying, but we’re not fighting!” “but I’m gonna kick Turkey’s ass if they do anything I don’t like!”

                    It’s clear that the conversation ran something along the lines of Erdogan saying “we’re going to invade whether you like it or not,” and Trump had to decide whether to stand by the YPG and get into a shooting war with Turkey or pull back and let the YPG try to stand on their own.

                    All things being equal, the latter is the obvious choice. But only about eight weeks ago, Trump seemed to be promising the SDF/YPG that he had their backs against Turkey.

                    As you say, it’s impossible to know what’s going on behind closed doors, and I prefer a messy pullback to a clean continued presence, but I fear Trump is fucking over one of the brightest spots in the ME, and if the SDF gets squashed, it’s going to be a long time before we see a similar kind of movement over there.

    4. I’m sorry, when WE stole Palestine? WE never stole anything, the US didn’t have any troops in that fight. And technically, Israel didn’t steal Palestine either. Stealing is taking without use of force, robbery is taking with force (or threat of force).

      Btw, what aggression are you talking about in regards to Israel? Last I checked, every war they’ve been a part of is one that they didn’t start, with Palestine being the closest thing to an exception. Considering how everyone around them has tried to take a swing at one point or another, I think its impressive that they haven’t been more aggressive. Typical progressive, seeing someone else’s existence as “aggression”.

      1. Miko Peled is an Israeli, an author, a public speaker and the son of a famous Israeli general.

        He is also opposed to Israeli apartheid of Palestinians.

        In the following video he puts into perspective what you won’t see in our western propaganda.

        Between 38:00 and 45:00 in the video he describes Israeli terrorism.

        http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TOaxAckFCuQ

        1. You literally claimed, “we stole Palestine.” Are you Jewish and this is just a self-loathing thing? Because the US didn’t provide a single bullet to the Israelis in the 1948 conflict, nor in the competing terrorist actions between groups like Irgun and the Palestinian gangs led by the Mufti of Jerusalem in the years prior to that. And ask any Palestinian, and they’ll tell you the reason they lost the war wasn’t because the US stole it for the Israelis, it’s because the other Arab nations sold them out and wouldn’t commit military resources to attack the Jewish militias and settlements.

          Before the Yom Kippur War, pretty much all of Israel’s military was built from British and French sales, who were pissed at Egypt and Syria for kicking them and their colonial puppets out of power.

          1. No.

            Jews could never have stolen Palestine without trillions in Western military aid. They can’t keep it without it.

            The British promised Palestine to global Zionists with the Balfour declaration if they would coerce the US into WW1. They did.

            Maybe in some backwards way, a Jew who tells the truth is self hating.

            A couple of days ago Jews celebrated their holiest day, Yom Kippur, when they chant their prayer the Kol Nidre.

            Here is the Kol Nidre text. The holiest Jewish prayer on the holiest Jewish day.

            “All vows, obligations, oaths, and anathemas [curses]which we may vow, or swear, or pledge, or whereby we may be bound, from this Day of Atonement until the next we do repent. May they be deemed absolved, forgiven, annulled, and void, and made of no effect: they shall not bind us nor have any power over us. The vows shall not be reckoned vows; the obligations shall not be obligations; nor the oaths be oaths.”

            1. Which of course is a request for divine clemency since man cannot bind God to an agreement or contract. But you knew that already.

              1. Isn’t it similar to the Christian prayer, ‘forgive us our trespasses…” meaning you’re not getting into heaven unless you cancel all debts owed to you? Only with the Jewish version, it seems to be an earth-bound affair, rather than a ticket to paradise.

                1. I think it’s fair to assume the Christian prayer derives from it.

                2. It is clearly a plan to lie and an expectation for forgiveness.

                  Only Jews plan to lie to God, and everyone else.

                  I’m sure some Christian extremists “trespass” confident that they will be forgiven.

                3. This is the difference between how Jews and Christians perceive their relationships with God.

                  Forgive: to grant pardon for (a mistake, wrongdoing, etc)

                  Christians ask for forgiveness for what they recognize is wrong and pray for the strength of character not to do it again “lead us not into temptation”.

                  Absolve : to free from guilt or blame or their consequences:

                  Jews want to be free of consequences for their future actions by denying any wrongdoing “oaths are not oaths”.

                  One shows regret, remorse and the desire not to do it again. The other none of the above.

            2. Literally nothing you posted refuted what I said. Who’s this “we” you’re venting your spleen on?

              1. Since the Jewish theft of Palestine, the US has given them over 134 billion (not converted to today’s) dollars in aid. The overwhelming majority being military aid.

                Over the last decade military aid from the US to Israel has been over 3 billion per year. This doesn’t include military R&D.

                http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/total-u-s-foreign-aid-to-israel-1949-present

    5. which began when we stole Palestine

      Now you’ve got me confused, Misek. Are you a stormfag or a self-hating jew?

      1. Probably both = Now you’ve got me confused, Misek. Are you a stormfag or a self-hating jew?

      2. A Jew would understand the kol Nidre.

        There are two types of sin. One is a sin between man and G-d eating non kosher food for example. The other is a sin between one human being and another. Stealing, or other harm I have caused you.

        The former is forgiven by prayer. Internal reflection. The second cannot be forgiven by G-d it must be resolved between us. That is Judaism 101.

        What Rob is putting out is classic anti Semitic meme. Jews cannot be trusted because on that day all contracts and agreements are void. That is not at all true.

        There is a story. One of the Hasidic rabbis, The Baal Shem Tov, is praying and fasting with his congregation all day on Yom Kippur reciting the psalms and prayers hoping to reach the heavens.

        Outside the shul a young boy, he was a Shepard who was born Jewish and raised by a farming family, heard the song coming from the congregation. He was moved by it and came inside. He did not understand the words.

        He took out his flute and began to play. The playing of musical instruments forbidden on this day. The congregation was aghast. The rabbi stopped and listened.

        He said “until this moment our prayers were contained in this room. When this child came here the gates opened and our prayers were lifted”

        Judaism 102

        1. Mizek learned everything he knows from Irving and Kellerstrom.

          /Not Godwinning this one.

        2. The text is clear.

          Why would anyone believe the liars explanation?

        3. Echo: G’Mar Hatimah Tovah. I hope it was a meaningful fast.

    6. Very true about IZZY & their BS in the Middle East….IZZY is the worst ally ever!!!…But, besides IZZY, there is also the Military-Industrial Complex that loves these endless wars, the bankers as well & our power hungry Pols on BOTH SIDES who want more control over us!

      “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

      —James Madison, Political Observations, Apr. 20, 1795 in: Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, vol. 4, p. 491 (1865)

  8. This reminds me of when I’d go practice the piano for a few minutes, and when I was done, Daddy complaining that I didn’t stay at it longer. That didn’t encourage me to practice, because I realized the only reason he’d complained was that hearing me practice got his attention to something he wasn’t complaining about until then.

    1. Robert

      The piano teacher came for 30 minutes. I was awful. Dad was a music guy, Jazz and classical clarinet. So the teacher would give me a lesson. There was a timer mom would set and I would have to practice the lesson on the piano then I could go out and play.

      Mom had it right. Later I picked the drum sticks up. Never got great at it but loved it all my life.

    2. What I mean is, would Bonnie Kristian be complaining about US policy re Syria if the administration hadn’t called attention to it by moving troops out of a war area? Or if it’d been the previous administration doing so?

      1. Or if it’d been the previous administration doing so?

        Actually, there’s a set of hyperlinks at the bottom of the page that search the archives for related stories.

        One of those links is called “Syria.”

        If you were to click on that to satisfy your honest curiosity, you would find articles like this article from October 2016 sympathetically relating Trump’s criticisms of HRC’s approach to Syria.

  9. Oh the horror….a candidate delivers on a campaign promise.

    Candidate Trump: If I win, I pull out of Syria
    POTUS Trump: I won, we are pulling out of Syria

    The problem is what, Again? Because I am really trying to figure out how Syria is a vital American interest. POTUS Trump inherited the Syrian mess from his predecessor. He is just the guy cleaning the mess.

    1. He’s not actually pulling the troops out of Syria. He’s just not defending the YPG against the Turkish invasion.

  10. I’m confused. Orange Man Bad? Yes? Yesser? Yessiest?

    1. As anyone with a basic knowledge of the color wheel knows, orange is a combination of red and yellow. Thus, Orange Man is both a communist and a maoist.

      So yes, Orange Man Bad.

  11. Israel tried this in Lebanon. The Turks are going to create a buffer zone. It will not work.

    1. Israel got beat by a long-established paramilitary force backed with Iranian funding, weapons, and military advisors. The Kurds can’t even get the US to supply them with a steady train of Toyota Hiluxes.

      Without that top cover the US was providing through the air, and SOF guys on the ground to coordinate it, the Kurds are little more than a glorified militia. For all the admiration they received for their resistance at Kobani, they ultimately would have lost if the US hadn’t finally gotten involved.

    2. The real danger the Turks have to face is tagging a Syrian fighter jet or platoon that might be in the area. If that happens, all bets are off.

  12. Exhibit 86567 in why libertarianism never gets anywhere.

    Trump is incurring the ire of most Republicans, to say nothing of Democrats, by moving further in the libertarian direction than any of them want, and Reason’s response is to attack him for not doing enough.

    With friends like these, who needs enemies?

    1. That’s what I meant by my piano practice parental parable. Radical libertarians have gotten so used to everyone’s being against us that we don’t recognize a good thing when we see it, and risk discouraging what we want to encourage. They think they’re moving the Overton window, but actually they’re calling attention to movement that’s aiming just outside of it, and thereby encouraging people to move the target farther away.

      I experienced this as a candidate for New York assembly in 1988 in a panel discussion of housing policy. I thought that by taking a more radical position, I’d make the representative from the relatively conservative Committeee of 100 seem more reasonable. Instead I’m afraid audience members came to associate that organization with a more extreme policy than their representative had intended.

  13. How would a complete Syria exit with advance warning prevent bloodshed more effectively than a partial withdrawal (which involved around 100 personnel reportedly not involved in combat) with no warning? The Kurds would just run away?

    Trump clearly wants less American involvement in these foreign wars. Not because he’s libertarian, but because he’s an “America first” kind of a dude, and he’s not down with spending American money and lives fighting these wars and having to comply with some UN / globalist mandate to participate in the name of peacekeeping.

    Why is he stuck with half measures? TDS and partisan hackery. It’s that simple. Just look at the people who were previously calling for total withdrawal suddenly change their narrative to “Trump betrays American allies”. I see little or no editorials from major MSM outlets approving Trump’s decision as (at least) a preliminary step to deescalation and further troop withdrawal. Trump is bad on all occasion. At all times.

    If a politician’s son with no background in energy gets paid thousands of dollars by a foreign energy company, we must not ask any questions if Trump goes after him. If a celebrity says “I was assaulted by Trump fans in the dead of night” we must assume Trump inspired waves of hate crime.

    How often do we have republican president who is even half heartedly interested in troop withdrawal AND amnesty? If the democrats gave Trump 4 billion dollars to lengthen an existing wall Trump may have at least agreed to deportation halts on dreamers. The democrats never tried.

  14. It is incredibly naive to believe that Trump has greenlighted the extermination of Kurds because he is following a principled libertarian nonintervention policy. Trump has no principles.

  15. Trump ordered the U.S. military personnel in Syria to abandon their Kurdish compatriots who took the lead and by far the most casualties in defeating ISIS. I hope this serves as a warning to Trump supporters that they can expect the same “courageous” loyalty from Trump when push comes to shove in the domestic arena. He already has become wishywashy in his opposition to severe gun-control legislation in the face of the left’s persistent claims that such laws have broad popular support. Rest assured that if Trump thinks he can win more votes by supporting any new gun-control fiat he will sellout Second-Amendment supporters faster than he sold out the Kurds.

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