Trump’s Syria Debacle Unnerves Allies, Comforts Enemies and Squanders U.S. Power

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Oct. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Oct. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).
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There are any number of defensible arguments in support of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria. It is safe to assume that Trump didn’t consider any of them. Instead, Trump seems to have acted as ever on impulse, out of a misguided sense that his instinct is a better guide than strategic planning and historical literacy. His decision reveals not an infallible instinct but a failure to understand three core elements of American power: assurance, deterrence and leverage. To begin with the theoretical arguments in support of withdrawing from northeastern Syria, first and foremost, the […]

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