Cal Thomas: Military presence in Syria


NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, April 10th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Foreign policy isolationism does have a long history in this country. The reluctance to get involved in foreign entanglements weighed strongly against our involvement in World Wars I and II, until events forced our hand. I want to suggest events are forcing our hand today in Syria.

REICHARD: Commentary now from WORLD Radio’s Cal Thomas.

THOMAS: I want to summarize a five-point list of reasons the United States ought not to pull out. These are by Aaron Kliegman, who wrote in the Washington Free Beacon. President Trump ought to read and heed.

Here they are.

Reason 1: ISIS remains in Syria and continues to pose a threat.

Reason 2 is rooted in Reason 1. But we have recent-enough history with our Iraqi withdrawal to show us that leaving too quickly leaves instability behind. When President Obama ordered a complete withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, sectarian warfare followed, al-Qaeda regrouped, and ISIS was born.

Reason 3: The president’s Iran policy rests in part on not ceding Syria to the tender mercies of Iran.

Reason 4: We lose the ability to influence Syria’s future. It’s important enough not only to Iran, but also unfriendlies like Russia and Turkey. If we don’t have a presence, we don’t have a voice.

Reason 5: The United States would again abandon the Kurds to a violent fate. Abandoning allies is not a good way to build trust and confidence among friends in the ongoing war against terror.

All these seem to make sense, but I’d add a sixth reason: The horrific chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians.

A precipitous U.S. pullout would only encourage the Assad regime and his Russian supporters to continue this assault. And “assault” is the right word. It is an assault on international norms and treaties and opponents of the Syrian government.

No one-size policy fits all circumstances, but premature withdrawal is not a policy. At any rate, it’s not one that leads to victory. It doesn’t even pass the threshold test of leading to stability.

Perhaps President Trump can get our allies to share more of the costs and burden.

But the costs and burden will be much greater if he follows in President Obama’s footsteps.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.


(AP Photo/Hussein Malla) A U.S-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council soldier passes a newly installed U.S. position near the tense front line with the Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. 

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