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Syria Is Not Ours to ‘Turn Over’ to Anyone

This statement from John McLaughlin reflects a lot of what’s wrong with American foreign policy establishment thinking about Syria and the U.S. role in the world:

If the illegal U.S. military presence in Syria has to continue so that the U.S. doesn’t “turn over” Syria to the allies of the Syrian government, U.S. forces are never going to leave. Syria was never ours to “turn over” to anyone else, and it never will be. Syria has been a Soviet/Russian client for longer than I have been alive, and it has been aligned with Iran for decades. The U.S. cannot stop Syria from being “turned over” to Russian and Iranian influence because it has been in their orbits all along. It was the unsuccessful and costly effort by the U.S. and our allies and clients to drag Syria out of their orbits that contributed to the devastation of the country, and it is long past time that we acknowledged the failure of that effort.

U.S. “leadership” in the Middle East is vastly overrated and it would be a good thing for the U.S. and the region if our government stopped trying to have such an active “leadership” role there. That said, the U.S. position in the region does not hinge on what it does or doesn’t do in Syria. If the U.S. ended its illegal military presence in Syria tomorrow, it would undoubtedly annoy the Saudis and Israelis and a few other bad clients, but that shouldn’t be a reason to keep U.S. soldiers illegally in a war zone where no vital U.S. interests are at stake. Maintaining U.S. “leadership and securing actual American interests have little or nothing in common, and our leaders need to stop neglecting the latter for the sake of the former.

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4 Comments To "Syria Is Not Ours to ‘Turn Over’ to Anyone"

#1 Comment By Norfolk Swineherd On April 16, 2018 @ 3:09 pm

If we were pursuing our own interests and doing it effectively, you could make an argument for continuing our involvement in Syria.

But we don’t display “leadership” by botched military operations, by blatantly breaking international laws most of which we wrote or co-wrote ourselves, by inadvertently backing terrorist groups because we have no idea what the f*** we’re doing, or by doing the bidding of parasites like Saudi Arabia and Israel, who will gladly fight the Syrians, Hezbollah and Iran to the last American, and gladly spend the last American taxpayer dollar doing it.

We should get out and stay out, at least until such time as we have a competent elite capable of defining and securing US interests instead of the interests of global corporations and parasite client states with overdeveloped DC lobbying operations.

#2 Comment By Fran Macadam On April 16, 2018 @ 4:05 pm

Didn’t you know? Pax Americana, or no Pax at all.

#3 Comment By Client Server On April 16, 2018 @ 6:48 pm

“it would undoubtedly annoy the Saudis and Israelis and a few other bad clients”

“Bad clients” is a very polite way to describe what Saudi Arabia and Israel actually do, which is more like “giant, full-to-bursting leeches attached to America’s jugular vein”.

Of course they want us to fight Iran for them. For free. Which is pretty funny, because between them Israel and Saudi Arabia have done more lasting damage to America and cost the American taxpayer more money than Iran has or ever will.

#4 Comment By b. On April 18, 2018 @ 2:09 pm

“Syria has been a Soviet/Russian client for longer than I have been alive.”

See Ukraine, see Serbia.

It has been long-standing US policy to push and escalate against any possible peer competitor. The Bush Doctrine only made explicit what Clinton already did. It is the reflection of the simple-minded “domino theory” that brought US “leadership” to Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia – surely, dominos can and should fall in the opposite direction, and to ensure US primacy over Russia and China, we will keep pushing.

That Israel and Saudi Arabia profit, and that their elites are willing to channel some of that profit back to the same elites in DC that are pushing this Great Gamble is an additional benefit, but we would be misled to believe that those interests are the driving force behind this push, and that Trumps collusion with these US clients is in any way required here. It is the biparty, not Trump, that is enacting this push.