These excerpts are from an editorial in yesterday’s New York Post. They serve as a reminder of what President Trump inherited from the Obama administration/what he is trying, however successfully or unsuccessfully (mostly the latter, I think) to deal with on that border today:
Chaos and horrors followed President Trump’s needlessly abrupt withdrawal of US forces from northern Syria, but much of the mess was baked in long before Trump ever took office.
In other words, this president played the anti-ISIS hand that the last president had left him: An American exit was always in the cards, and all the players are falling into positions prompted by Obama-era US policy.
Team Obama wanted to fight ISIS without crossing Assad’s chief allies, Iran and Russia — both key to that administration’s obsession with making the Iran nuclear deal work.
And, yes, Russia is also jumping in — even occupying bases America just abandoned. But Moscow re-entered the Mideast as a major player in 2013, when President Obama let it broker the deal to (supposedly) remove Assad’s chemical weapons after he crossed Obama’s infamous “red line.”
By the time Trump took office, Russia and Iran had already secured Assad’s hold on power — and established their own substantial military presence in Syria.
Obama had years earlier passed on the chance to seriously support Syria’s democratic rebels, writing them off as “farmers, dentists and folks who have never fought before.” Then again, he’s also the guy who, right before ISIS’s rapid expansion, laughed it off as “the JV team” compared to al Qaeda.
There is more in the editorial than what you just read. I, of course, urge you to use the link I’ve provided and read every word.
But the important point to be made here is that – like the disastrous trade imbalance we have with China – President Trump is attempting to undo and improve situations that should have been addressed before he ever took office, and were made far worse by the fact that they weren’t.
Does this exonerate Trump for making mistakes – such as the sudden, no-warning withdrawal of most of our forces on the Syria-Turkey border and its elevation of our ally-in-name-only, recep tayyip erdogan of Turkey?
No it does not.
But let’s at least be cognizant of the lousy hand he is playing, and the fact that it was dealt before he ever sat in the Oval Office.