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Withdrawal from Syria Would Be Unusual Bright Spot for American Foreign Policy

We all know that President Trump plays to the crowd and cameras and then sometimes flip flops on policy proposals like a fish out of water. However, he recently shocked his national security advisers by saying that the United States was "knocking the hell out of ISIS” and would pull its forces out of the Syria “like, very soon.”

He then suspended $200 million in funding designed to stabilize that war-torn country. However, the U.S. national security bureaucracies, using the recent chemical attack in the Syrian civil war, are fighting back against an immediate American withdrawal.

The U.S. foreign policy establishment and media were instantly alarmed by the prospect that a U.S. military mission to a foreign country could actually end. If Trump’s desired withdrawal from Syria ever happens, this situation would be unusual in the history of American foreign policy—for example, the United States has had a military presence in Japan and Europe since World War II ended in 1945, the same in South Korea since the Korean War ended in 1953, in Afghanistan since 2001, and in Iraq since 2003 (in this case, U.S. forces left for a brief time and then went back).

Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute. Dr. Eland is a graduate of Iowa State University and received an M.B.A. in applied economics and Ph.D. in national security policy from George Washington University. He spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office.

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