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Syria pullout: The right thing… done the wrong way… for (mostly) the wrong reasons

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Syria pullout The right thing done the wrong way for mostly the wrong reasons

The United States military’s mission in Syria is effectively done. It should have been done long ago, but President Obama’s strategy of utilizing Syrian rebels to fight both the Islamic State and Bashar al-Assad’s regime was misguided and mostly ineffective. He tried to kill two birds with one stone and effectively missed them both.

America has spent too much time, money, and resources on a plan that miserably failed at one goal – removing Assad – and delayed the elimination of the Islamic State as a regional power. The right move would have been an unambiguous, asymmetrical assault by a multi-national coalition of western and Middle Eastern forces to wipe out the Islamic State in spectacular (and quick) fashion, but President Obama chose instead to be clever.

As for Assad’s regime, he should have left it alone completely. Attempts to arm and train the rebels, which are comprised of a hodgepodge of forces that include Sunni Islamic extremists and was 15%-25% al Qaeda when the decision was made, was a disastrous half-measure. It did more harm than good, which is why Assad is still there, the Islamic State is not obliterated, and U.S. troops remain.

But that’s what President Trump inherited, so it is incumbent on him to decide how to fix the mess. That would require pulling out of Syria, which he has decided to do against the wishes of his cabinet. Defense Secretary James Mattis has resigned in protest over the move.

Let’s break down why the President is doing the right thing, how he’s doing it the wrong way, and why his reasoning for doing so is flawed.

Pulling out is the right move

If there’s one way to unify Democrats, neocons, and most mainstream conservatives, it’s for the President to order an abrupt withdrawal of forces from Syria. They all have different reasons for their disagreement with the President, but it seems like most are in agreement that it’s the wrong move.

They’re all wrong. It’s definitely the right thing to do even if he’s doing it for the wrong reasons. More on his reasoning in a moment. First, let’s discuss why it’s the right move.

The forces who are being painted by mainstream media as our “allies” among the Kurdish rebels are not and have never actually done our bidding. They were made allies by President Obama because they faced the threat of the Islamic State pressing on them from one side while Assad’s regime pressed on them from the other side. President Obama saw it as an opportunity to help them fight their battle so we didn’t have to get our hands dirty.

But it failed. The Islamic State was mostly defeated through other means; the Kurdish forces we propped up to be the main fighting force against them were only able to occupy areas left by the Islamic State following American air strikes. They were ineffective at actually fighting them in any meaningful way. The Peshmerga in Iraq, on the other hand, drove the Islamic State out with little U.S. support.

That’s all in the past. The present situation is one where 99% of the lands the Islamic State controlled at its peak have been taken back. Their numbers are dwindling to the point that U.S. involvement is no longer required.

In other words, it’s time to let the Middle East handle the Middle East’s problems.

As my wife said in a video yesterday, our military presence there is no longer needed.

The biggest argument for not pulling out is that Iran, Russia, and Turkey will now move in to fill the void. This is factually wrong. It’s not that they won’t continue to move in (they’re already there). It’s that they can and are moving in whether we’re there or not.

Our presence is not a deterrent to them coming it. It’s a deterrent to them attacking the Kurdish rebels. Some would argue that it’s the same thing; the rebel presence, by critics’ estimates, is the only thing stopping a complete takeover by outside forces. But once again, remaining is a half-measure. It does not stop Iran or Russia from exerting more control over Syria. It only serves to destabilize the nation and give the Kurds cover. Our troops are essentially human shields.

It’s unfortunate that the Kurds will now have to fight without our troops deterring attacks, but they were fighting before we got there and they’ll be fighting after we leave. But if the President pulled out the right way, this wouldn’t be as big of a problem.

But we’re doing it the wrong way

Just because the Kurdish rebels were ineffective and had their own agenda does not remove our obligation to give them assistance. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to give them military assistance.

The President has the ability to negotiate with all the players involved. Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Russia all want the United States out of Syria so they can exert more control. This is the President’s leverage. He is failing to use it.

Instead of announcing a pullout on Twitter, he should have called all the groups to the table. They would have come running if he said the United States would pull out if certain criteria were met. Those criteria could have been:

  • A cease-fire in the region currently controlled by the Kurds
  • No incursions into the territory
  • A summit to be held between the Assad regime and the rebels to discuss terms for a permanent peace

If the President is as great at negotiating as he claims, all of these demands could be feasible. There would be repercussions; the Kurds in Turkey would have to be cut off completely from the Kurds in Syria, which would only be made possible by a Turkish-controlled buffer at the border, for example. But the end result would have been acceptable to most parties involved.

The abrupt pullout is the President folding the winning poker hand. Unfortunately, his reasoning for doing so is horrible.

Pulling out for the wrong reason

When the announcement was made, I wondered if the President had been bullied.

Did Turkey just bully the United States into withdrawing from Syria?

https://noqreport.com/2018/12/19/turkey-just-bully-united-states-withdrawing-syria/The timing of the announcement is conspicuous following a phone meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday. Erdogan has opposed the United States’ cooperation with the Kurds, who he considers to be a terrorist group bent on destabilizing the Middle East and usurping his power.

Withdrawing from Syria will leave our Kurdish allies open to attacks from Turkey.

According to the Associated Press, my concerns were justified.

Trump call with Turkish leader led to US pullout from Syria

https://noqreport.com/2018/12/21/trump-call-turkish-leader-led-us-pullout-syria/“The talking points were very firm,” said one of the officials, explaining that Trump was advised to clearly oppose a Turkish incursion into northern Syria and suggest the U.S. and Turkey work together to address security concerns. “Everybody said push back and try to offer (Turkey) something that’s a small win, possibly holding territory on the border, something like that.”

With Erdogan on the line, Trump asked national security adviser John Bolton, who was listening in, why American troops remained in Syria if what the Turkish president was saying was true, according to the officials. Erdogan’s point, Bolton was forced to admit, had been backed up by Mattis, Pompeo, U.S. special envoy for Syria Jim Jeffrey and special envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition Brett McGurk, who have said that IS retains only 1 percent of its territory, the officials said.

The reasons we need to pull out of Syria in a systematic manner following negotiations with everyone involved are:

  • Our interests are no longer being served there with the Islamic State decimated
  • Any military presence in the region should be temporary
  • The costs to maintain our presence there are too high with limited reward
  • The only power in the region that needs our support is Israel

Conspicuously not on the list is appeasing the despot in Turkey.

I cannot say this with a certainty, but I suspect the state of affairs in the United States also led to the decision. Between bad press from his former associates pertaining to the Robert Mueller investigation and the looming government shutdown over the border wall, the timing of the Syrian move is conspicuous. The President has been known to cover up bad press with different bad press. It’s a tactic that helped him win the election, but it’s a dangerous tactic to use now that he’s President.

We need to bring our troops home now that the Islamic State is small enough for regional powers to handle. But the “how” and “why” regarding the President’s move are terrible. It’s as if he has no understanding of the repercussions of his whims.

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Foreign Affairs

Could President Trump establish a real Iran Nuclear Deal?

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Could President Trump establish a real Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran is in trouble. They’re desperate. They’re lashing out against the world in an effort to get attention and, somehow, turn the tide on their economic woes. But while they posture to present a stance of strength, most of the world realizes their strength is only on the surface. Their bank accounts, infrastructure, and economic stability are all dwindling as their people begin feeling the pain.

This can all end. They just have to play with the rest of the world as a mature nation should. They can fix their internal problems while still quietly plotting their caliphate. All they need to do is come to the negotiating table with the United States leading talks to put together a real nuclear deal that will permanently prevent them from ever acquiring or building a nuclear arsenal. This part of the negotiations must be non-negotiable.

As British Prime Minister Boris Johnson noted, the world needs a new Iran Nuclear Deal and President Trump is the right person to get it done.

Boris Johnson calls for new Iran nuclear deal, says Trump is the ‘one guy’ to get it done

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/boris-johnson-calls-new-iran-nuclear-deal-says-trump-one-n1057541British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday called for a new nuclear deal with Iran, saying President Donald Trump is the “one guy” who can broker a better accord.

Johnson chided the “many defects” of the Obama-era agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions but said he thinks there is “logic” in having an agreement in place.

“Let’s do a better deal,” Johnson said in an interview with “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, his only with an American network. “I think there’s one guy who can do a better deal … and that is the president of the United States. I hope there will be a Trump deal.”

The Trump administration officially withdrew from the 2015 nuclear pact, known as the JCPOA, last year.

Johnson’s comments come amid mounting tensions between Washington and Tehran after a recent attack on a major Saudi Arabian oil facility. Two U.S. officials familiar with intelligence assessments told NBC News last week that the strike originated geographically from Iranian territory.

The prime minister said the United Kingdom was “virtually certain” Iran was behind the Sept. 14 oil field attack.

To Johnson’s point, President Trump has demonstrated an ability to broker deals very quickly. His administration has put together a series of deals with Mexico and Central American nations to stem the flow of migrants crossing the U.S. border. His USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA, came out of nowhere to surprise everyone with how quickly the agreement was reached. Japan, South Korea, and Australia have all been part of mutually beneficial deals made in the President’s first term.

Perhaps his ability to make deals quickly stems from his willingness to leave bad deals every faster. NAFTA, the original Iran Nuclear Deal, TPP, and the Russian nuclear treaty were all withdrawn from in the first half of the President’s term.

Iran is unwilling to negotiate with the United States, but as international support erodes and their options dwindle, they may have no choice, It would be a huge feather in the President’s cap if he can negotiate a real end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

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Democrats

Left scrambles to downplay Biden’s words, ‘If the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money’

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Left scrambles to downplay Bidens words If the prosecutors not fired youre not getting the money

We all know Joe Biden is a gaffe-machine. We also know he was involved in many of the scandals and foul play that were littered throughout President Obama’s time in the White House. Now, we’re learning that Biden used his power as Vice President to pressure the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor who was investigating a firm that employed Biden’s own son, Hunter.

This didn’t come from a FOIA request or deep investigations into Biden’s past. It came from the clumsy presidential frontrunner’s own mouth. While speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations, Biden discussed his dealings with Ukraine, including the threats he made if the prosecutor wasn’t fired.

“If the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden said. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired.”

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and Representative Mark Meadows discussed it last night on her show:

It isn’t often that I disagree with assessments from my team, but this article claiming the media is done with Biden is wrong. He’s right that Biden’s campaign may be over, but progressive media will try to prevent it. There may be some far-left media outlets who were displeased with Biden from the beginning and are now using the Ukraine story to sink him further, but mainstream media is generally still in Biden’s corner. This story from the NY Times, an attempt to debunk the Trump administration’s claims that Biden played dirty to protect his son, lays out most of the facts while coming to completely wrong conclusions, as they’re wont to do.

Biden’s Work in Ukraine: What We Know and Don’t Know

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/22/us/politics/biden-ukraine-trump.htmlThe president has often been vague about the specifics of his allegations, but one detail that he and his allies have repeatedly cited is the former vice president’s threatening to withhold $1 billion in United States loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders did not dismiss the prosecutor. Mr. Trump’s campaign on Saturday publicized footage of Mr. Biden recounting the threat.

The prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, was soon voted out by the Ukrainian Parliament.

His dismissal had been sought not just by Mr. Biden, but also by others in the Obama administration, as well other Western governments and international lenders. Mr. Shokin had been repeatedly accused of turning a blind eye to corruption in his office and among the Ukrainian political elite, and criticized for failing to bring corruption cases.

There are two huge, gaping hole in the NY Times’ assessment that he was being pushed out by many in and out of the White House at the time. First, neither the U.S. government nor any other is likely to be concerned about corruption within a sovereign nation’s state prosecutor’s office. It’s just not something we do, and we especially wouldn’t hold a billion dollar loan guarantee back because we didn’t like a prosecutor.

But more importantly, the NY Times readily admits the prosecutor WAS investigating Hunter Biden’s company. His replacement looked into the matter and came to the quick, politically expedient conclusion that there was nothing to see here. That certainly sounds like political pressure being used to subvert an investigation into a company with deep financial ties to the son of a Vice President. It definitely doesn’t sound like the United States government’s sudden desire to end corruption in a prosecutor’s office for the sake of doing the right thing.

No, legacy media is not pushing the Ukraine scandal because they don’t like Joe Biden. They’re pushing the Ukraine scandal because they don’t like President Trump and they believe the American people are too stupid to connect the dots back to Biden. They believe their propaganda machine can offer Biden the cover he needs while pointing their fingers at a phone call, a whistleblower, and an exchange between world leaders that almost certainly did nothing to break any laws.

Democrats and the media are so desperate to push the unpopular impeachment narrative that they’ll take their chances with harming Biden along the way. They think we’re too dumb to see the truth. I, for one, refuse to believe their lies.

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Democrats

Media’s fixation on Ukraine whistleblower means Joe Biden’s campaign is essentially over

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Medias fixation on Ukraine whistleblower means Joe Bidens campaign is essentially over

Former Vice President Joe Biden is still on top of most polls for the Democratic nomination for president. But his campaign is pretty much done. How can this be? One needs only look at recent signs, media reactions, and the rising Ukraine story to realize the frontrunner’s candidacy has very little chance of securing the nomination.

We can talk about the gaffes, mental lapses, and bad press from progressive news outlets all day, but the real sinking of the ship is ironically coming from a story that’s supposed to be targeting President Trump. Democrats and the media alike are calling for transparency about a whistleblower complaint lodged against the President’s handling of phone calls with the Ukrainian government. In those calls, the President allegedly made “concerning” promises in exchange for dirt on the former Vice President, specifically his handling of his son’s legal troubles there.

But while the media and Democrats are pointing to collusion once again, the American people are wondering what Ukraine has on Biden that would prompt the President to allegedly make these promises. The President noted this and pointed to the real story that should (and in many cases does) have the attention of the American people.

Unlike other candidates, Biden doesn’t receive the same degree of cover for his past exploits. The far left and the media are willing to keep Elizabeth Warren protected from having to declare that her Medicare-for-All plan will raise taxes on the middle class and Kamala Harris may never have to answer for her harsh criminal justice record before joining the Senate, but Biden’s sins are fair game to the press. Why? Because they are buying into the notion that he may not be the best candidate to take on President Trump. If they collectively believed he had the stamina to make it through the general election, they’d be burying the Ukraine story. But they won’t.

Congressman Devin Nunes echoed this point Sunday morning:

Biden’s campaign likely coming to an end — thanks to Clinton-linked Ukraine bombshell, Nunes says | Fox News

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/bidens-campaign-coming-to-an-end-thanks-to-ukraine-story-linked-to-hillary-clinton-nunes-saysCalifornia Rep. Devin Nunes predicted on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that Joe Biden’s campaign is likely coming to an end — all because of newly resurfaced reports about his possible misconduct in Ukraine that “first originated back when Hillary Clinton was trying to make sure Biden didn’t get in the race.”

The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee made the claim as The Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll showed Sen. Elizabeth Warren surging ahead of Biden as the first choice of 22 percent of the voters surveyed, while Biden was the first choice of 20 percent of the voters. Biden held a 9-point lead over Warren in the poll as recently as June.

Nunes, speaking to anchor Maria Bartiromo, said a whistleblower’s allegation that President Trump had acted inappropriately during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will ultimately backfire, and shine a light on Biden’s own possible misconduct. CNN later acknowledged that the whistleblower had no first-hand knowledge of the call, and a top Ukrainian official on Saturday defended Trump’s actions.

If taking a shot at hurting the President means eliminating Biden in the process, it’s a fair trade to most in the media. They just don’t have the confidence in Biden that they had a couple of months ago.

This, more than anything else, is why Biden’s political career is over. This story is going to stay in the news and while it’s unlikely to do any damage at all to the President, it will sink the Democratic frontrunner.

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