Mad­ness in Mid­dle East

The Korea Times - - OPINION - By Michael Rea­gan Michael Rea­gan (Rea­[email protected]­gle­car­ is the son of Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan, a po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant, and the au­thor of “Lessons My Fa­ther Taught Me: The Strength, In­tegrity, and Faith of Ron­ald Rea­gan.” His com­men­tary was dis­trib­uted

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says he wants to get our troops out of the “blood-stained sand” of the Mid­dle East. Most sane Amer­i­cans would agree with that goal and hope he’s suc­cess­ful.

Un­for­tu­nately, the peo­ple in charge of our for­eign pol­icy are not sane, as they proved after Trump yanked a few dozen U.S. soldiers out of north­ern Syria.

Trump’s sen­si­ble de­ci­sion to let the Turks, Syr­i­ans and Rus­sians fig­ure out how to po­lice their own back­yards with­out our help brought him strong crit­i­cism from ev­ery po­lit­i­cal side.

Democrats and the lib­eral me­dia’s pun­dits railed against it, but so what? They’re au­to­mat­i­cally against any­thing Trump does.

The pres­i­dent also got heavy bi­par­ti­san grief for al­legedly be­tray­ing the Kurds, our trusted and state­less al­lies who lost 11,000 of their soldiers while help­ing us and Syr­ian demo­cratic rebel forces de­feat ISIS.

Re­tired mil­i­tary lead­ers — many of the same ones who’ve been mis­man­ag­ing our wars in Iraq and Afghanista­n since 9/11 — and the neo­con­ser­va­tive hawks in the

Repub­li­can Party blasted Trump.

They said what he did was a naive, stupid, ir­re­spon­si­ble move that will em­power Rus­sia and make other coun­tries dis­trust Amer­ica’s word and its will.

As usual, the pro­fes­sional in­ter­ven­tion­ists in Wash­ing­ton whom Demo­crat con­gress­woman and pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Tulsi Gab­bard calls “war­mon­gers” are pre­dict­ing that many ter­ri­ble things will hap­pen in Syria with­out Amer­i­can soldiers present to keep the peace.

ISIS sup­pos­edly will re­gain its strength. The Kurds liv­ing in north­ern Syria — the ones Turkey con­sid­ers ter­ror­ists — will suf­fer greatly.

Plus, our troop with­drawal will sup­pos­edly spark new fight­ing be­tween the coun­tries, king­doms, eth­nic groups, re­li­gious sects, po­lit­i­cal fac­tions, tribes and street gangs that have been slaugh­ter­ing each other in the Mid­dle East for at least 3,000 years.

It’s hard to take re­cent hys­te­ria about Trump’s de­ci­sion se­ri­ously, espe­cially when it comes from the Democrats and the lib­eral me­dia who watched qui­etly as Bar­rack Obama and his team made bloody messes of Libya and Syria and mis­man­aged our wars in Iraq and Afghanista­n for eight years.

It’s been clear for many decades that Amer­ica will never fix what’s wrong with the Mid­dle East.

About 20 years ago I asked Col. David Hack­worth, one of the coun­try’s most dec­o­rated soldiers and an ex­pert on war­fare and the struc­ture of the U.S. mil­i­tary, “When will there be peace in the Mid­dle East?”

“When they’re all dead,” was his an­swer.

What did he think Amer­ica’s pol­icy should be in the Mid­dle East?

We should arm ev­ery­one to the teeth, build a 100-foot wall around the re­gion, go away and wait till ev­ery­one there kills each other.

“Hack,” who died in 2005, was not kid­ding.

Based on an­cient and mod­ern his­tory, it was easy for him to pre­dict what the Mid­dle East would look like to­day — a per­pet­ual war zone ruled by bru­tal dic­ta­tors and Mus­lim ex­trem­ists and crawl­ing with lu­natic ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions like?al-Qaida and ISIS.

Trump claims pulling U.S. soldiers from Syria and let­ting the Rus­sians sort things out be­tween the Kurds and the

Turks will bring peace in the long run.

He?ob­vi­ously has no idea what will ac­tu­ally hap­pen. But no one else in Wash­ing­ton does, ei­ther.

Our mil­i­tary doesn’t know. Our state de­part­ment doesn’t know. Lind­say Gra­ham doesn’t know. Nei­ther do Liz, Joe and Bernie and their anony­mous for­eign pol­icy ex­perts.

So far, the blood and treasure Amer­ica has spent try­ing to bring peace, democ­racy and pros­per­ity to the po­lit­i­cal chaos and re­li­gious mad­ness of the Mid­dle East has been trag­i­cally wasted.

Col. Hack­worth be­lieved fight­ing and mak­ing war is part of the Mid­dle East’s DNA and Amer­ica can do noth­ing with our mil­i­tary or eco­nomic power to change that.

Pres­i­dent Trump seems to be­lieve that too. In any case, what­ever he has done or not done cor­rectly in a small corner of Syria won’t mat­ter in the long run.?The Mid­dle East will be a bloody and un­civ­i­lized part of the world for an­other hun­dred years, at least.

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