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Trump’s Dangerous Syria Policy

Trump is preparing to issue an order that paves the way for escalation in Syria:

A separate order also would lay the groundwork for an escalation of U.S. military involvement in Syria by directing the Pentagon and the State Department to craft a plan to create safe zones for civilians fleeing the conflict there, those familiar with the plans said. Mr. Trump has said such safe zones could serve as an alternative to admitting refugees to the U.S.

Aside from the manyobvious drawbacks of establishing safe zones in Syria, it is a bizarre way to respond to a refugee crisis. Inserting American forces into a war zone does nothing for the people that have already been displaced, and it seems unlikely to cause those that have fled to return. Further escalation of the U.S. role in the war isn’t an “alternative” to admitting refugees, but rather represents the least imaginative sort of “do somethingism” possible. On top of that, it puts the U.S. military in the absurd position of occupying part of someone else’s country in the name of keeping the trickle of Syrians that can reach America from coming to ours. This is especially unwise because a large-scale American military presence in Syria will almost certainly provoke terrorist attacks on American targets, and admitting a relative handful of refugees from Syria is all but guaranteed not to lead to any. All in all, Trump’s Syria policy is shaping up to be dumb, cruel, and dangerous, and we’re just in the second week of his presidency.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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