President Trump announced all 2,000 troops were being pulled out of Syria because the war with ISIS was won, according to him. By vacating Syria, the U.S. is seemingly ceding to Iran and Russia. The Kurds, U.S. allies, are also left to their own resources.
U.S. troops partnered up with Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters who called themselves the Syrian Democratic Forces. These Forces, teamed up with the U.S., helped eliminate ISIS in Syria. Even so, some 14,000 IS militants remain in Syria and there are more in Iraq. It is likely IS will attempt to regain strength in Syria by joining forces once U.S. troops leave.
The Pentagon suggests a transition to the “next phase of the campaign” is in store but details of next steps have not been released. Furthermore, President Trump ordered the withdrawal of half of the 14,000+ troops deployed to Afghanistan. On the same day this announcement was made, a report from the Department of Defense cited a ceasefire, recent talks with the Taliban for lasting peace, and religious scholars’ statements. Again, President Trump was heavily criticized. Michael Kugelman is an analyst at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington who is appalled by the fact U.S. troops are being withdrawn without the Taliban having to give up anything in return. Davood Moradian, executive director of the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies, commented on the tragedy of a U.S. retreat from Afghanistan. On Afghanistan and Syria, President Trump ignored advice from both allies and officials.
Another explosive announcement rocked the nation when Defense Secretary and Pentagon Chief, James Mattis, resigned. Secretary Mattis’ resignation letter condemned several of President Trump’s foreign policy beliefs and emphasized the significance of U.S. alliances as well as China and Russia’s authoritarian agendas. The letter lacks any praise for the President.
Secretary Mattis quit so that President Trump can hire a Defense Secretary whose views align with his. Countless government officials are despairing over Mattis’ resignation amid plummeting Dow points, the threat of a government shutdown, and questionable foreign policy decisions. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is “distressed” over Mattis’ resignation in relation to his disagreements with President Trump. South Carolina’s Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, an ardent Trump supporter, opposed Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Syria and was very sad about Mattis’ resignation. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer saw Mattis as a trusty pillar in a tumultuous Administration. Both are shaken by Mattis’ departure.
Secretary Mattis was seen as a stable, strong force grounding the Trump administration even as others were displaced all around him. Former CIA Director, Leon Panetta, was outraged. He told CNN: “The last damn thing we need is more chaos and crisis.” He called for a President who would protect the American people with stability and sound decisions.
Featured Image via Department of Defense