Conservative New York Times writer Bret Stephens believes that Donald Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria will destabilize the Middle East and hurt U.S. interests there.
In an appearance on MSNBC‘s “Morning Joe,” Stephens said that Trump’s Syria move “will reconstitute the Middle East that we fear, which is to say an exporter of terrorism and instability.”
He added that having no U.S. troops in Syria would create a vacuum “at the expense of our allies in Israel.”
Stephens expressed the belief that the cost of maintaining a U.S. troop presence in Syria is “a bargain of a policy next to what we might expect once we leave. After we leave a power vacuum will be left behind that will only enable Russia at the expense of the Kurds.”
He also said Israel will also be in “much greater danger” without a U.S. presence in Syria.
The prominent conservative, who is also a vocal Trump critic, then concluded by saying:
“America maintaining what was really a relatively small military presence in Syria, about 2,000 troops, very low levels of casualties in low single digits in the last year, is a bargain if a policy next to what we might expect once we leave.”
“That vacuum is going to be filled by Assad, by Erdogan, by the ayatollahs of Iran who Donald Trump claims to be so powerfully against but is, in fact, enabling, by Russia, and it’s going to happen at the expense of the Kurds who did so much to feed ISIS on our behalf.”
“It’s going to happen at the expense of our allies in Israel who are now in much greater danger despite Trump‘s promise of being Israel’s best friend. It will reconstitute the Middle East that we fear, which is to say an exporter of terrorism and instability.”
What Bret Stephens is saying has been expressed by many other prominent experts, including high-ranking U.S. military officers.
“General Wesley Clark, the former commander of all NATO forces, has suggested that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blackmailed President Donald Trump in order to get him to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.”
We don’t know for sure that this is true, but Trump’s move does not appear to benefit the United States as much as Russia, Iran and Turkey. Last week at a news conference Vladimir Putin even said that he was strongly supportive of Trump‘s decision to leave Syria.
It is possible that Erdogan has offered Trump financial incentives that help the president’s personal business interests. This would not be the first time that Donald Trump has adopted a foreign policy position that helps him personally but hurts the country as a whole.
The decision by Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria is just one more reason to remove him as quickly as possible from his position as president.