As the holiday season builds up to its culmination of Christmas Day, the US President is shaking the ornament-laden trees. Perhaps if nothing else, the shaking is attracting significant attention as, within 48 hours, President Trump gave announcements about the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, the victory of the House passage of a CR that includes $5.7 bn for his border wall project and perhaps even more significantly, a call to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan.
These two military-related measures evidently helped provoke the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who noted rather gallantly that he thought that President Trump deserved a Defense Secretary that aligns with the President’s wishes. Implied of course are two possible messages: profound disagreement with Mr. Trump’s decision and an insinuation that it is a bad policy move to do these things.
The Syrian move has invited both praise and condemnation from American commentators: praise for taking American forces off a battlefield which holds no importance to the US but which risks lives of its military men and women, and condemnation for not being tough enough, with a further level of criticism noting that the US may be de-escalating in the Syrian theatre because the Ukrainian one is more important.
This idea is bolstered by the statement from President Trump’s envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, who told a Brussels forum that some $250 million of military equipment was en route to the US-backed (puppet) regíme in Kyiv.
This, added to the highly provocative moves made by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, are alarming to Russia because the widely held belief is that Poroshenko will instigate some new incident that will result in more sanctions being “justified” against the Russian Federation.
While this is certainly a concern for Russia, it seems that the greater impact of this order is being felt in the United States at the present time, as the Syrian situation, which has almost never been represented honestly by US press, has rightly been ordered to end.
The Syria and Afghanistan moves are predictably being panned by the opposition to President Trump. It does not matter to them whether this decision makes sense; it only matters that President Trump was the one who decided to do these things, and that is enough for the opposition to oppose it. However, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is made of somewhat more objective stuff, and he had a very different reaction to this news:
The opposition to Trump’s Syria move was from significantly conservative Republicans as well, who narrow the conversation’s scope to only ISIS, even though the real issue in Syria is not ISIS anymore, but Russia.
This video is most instructive because it reveals all the “lines” of American foreign policy:
- “Syria is ruled by an authoritarian dictator” – to which Tucker replies, simply, “what state in that part of the world isn’t?
- “This was an organic revolution” – As if the idea of revolution is okay “just because” American interests could be advanced by the disruption of a sovereign nation.
- “Syria will fall apart without US troops” – As if Russia was a part of the problem, instead of the fact – that Russia is the welcomed force in the region.
- “ISIS will come back… and strike America” – as if they wouldn’t do so if they were not in Syria. The fact is that ISIS makes its own territory, and that territory respects no sovereign, western-defined, sense of borders.
However, Tucker asked, repeatedly, the single most important question about the whole operation in Syria: “What is happening to the Christians there? Nobody cares!”
This very question is perhaps the prime reason Russia is there. Russia’s president is an Orthodox Christian, who swore an oath to protect Christians in the world, and Syria is the home of one of the Orthodox ancient patriarchates. Syria has long been an ally of the Soviet Union and Russia since then, and so there were very good reasons for President Putin to send forces there.
Those forces, incidentally, are far more instrumental in the repulsion of ISIS than were the US troops, who were ordered to ally themselves with al-Qaeda affiliates in the name of “getting rid of Assad the dictator.”
President Trump alluded to this in a very subtle manner in his declaration that ISIS was defeated; listen again to this clip:
After historic victories against ISIS, it’s time to bring our great young people home! pic.twitter.com/xoNjFzQFTp
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
The President mentioned no specifics, which was politically very wise. He also did not mention the Russian forces nor other forces fighting in the area, but only the US forces. This falls in line with his America First policy, but it also is very clever by not throwing attention on the nature of American involvement there.
It appears to be a very good face-save that many Americans will accept at face-value.
This is a good example of when not to tell the whole truth to the American people, perhaps. It would have been much better, of course, if the full nature of the US involvement in Syria had been called out by the President upon the beginning of his term. However, the Deep State managed to outwit him at least once, in April of this year, with what is presumed to be a false-flag attack that led to a three-nation, US led missile strike against empty targets in Syria.
If the American people, who identify mostly as Christian, truly understood that the US allied itself with people who were committed to the destruction of Christians in Syria, they might have never let our forces go there. But those moments came and passed during the Obama Administration, which was also conveniently profoundly anti-Christian in alignment.
There is so much to uncover with Syria that simplicity now seems the better choice.
Some cynicism exists of course, as covered here, that the US really never leaves anywhere, and where will it project its power next? This has a lot of truth in its basis. But here it is probably a little less important that there are residual forces in nearby Iraq; here it really matters that the Americans get out of a place they were never wanted, anyway.