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"The Illustrious" vs. "the Madman"

Reader comment on item: I Taught NATO to Stand Up to a Dictator
in response to reader comment: What's left to lose?

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Oct 20, 2017 at 01:45

HI, Jeff.

You give a fair and accurate account of recent US Presidents' track records in the US. Then you said,

"I'm not sure how much middle east there is left for President Trump to lose."

Let's look at it from the standpoint of territory controlled.

1. Except for brief incursions into Lebanon under Eisenhower and Reagan, US trooops were not involved in the Fertile Crescent until GHW Bush's brief occupation after the Gulf War; and the attendant "No-Fly zones in N. and S. Iraq.

2. George W. Bush conquered and occupied Syria, together with a vast, US-led, international coalition. Simultaneously, we conquered and occupied Afghanistan. That was probably the high point of American prowess and prestige in the area.

3. Under Barack Obama, we surrendered control of the Green Zone to the Shiite-led government, and announced a timetable for the US to quit Iraq. We stayed on as advisors, and began advising the Kurds in Syria as well. Meanwhile, we allowed Iranian-backed Shiite militias to effectively take over Iraq and rule it as a puppet state. Turkey, meanwhile, began moving troops into Iraqi Kurdistan, presumably as advisors and also in hot pursuit of "terrorists". Russia, meanwhile, became a major player in Syria; and Hizbullah effectively took over control of the Syrian war effort on the ground.

4. Under Donald Trump, the Russian and Iranian-Hizbullah positions have steadily increased during just nine months. The Turks occupied part of NW Syria, cutting Kurdish-controlled areas in two. The US has collaborated with the Russians and, in effect, Iran and Hizbullah, in the war against ISIS. With that entity nearly gone, US advisors in Kurdistan are isolated from all real allies, and are increasingly under threat from the Russians, Syrians, Turks, Iranians and Iraqis. Our air support missions in the area are subject to the approval of the above. Turkey has effectively thumbed its nose at NATO, and has moved into a firm alliance with the Axis of Evil. After the Kurdish referendum, we have had to abandon a good ally to armed aggression by its enemies. All we are left with, is very temporary permission from an Iranian-controlled government, to move our troops in and overfly Iraq.

Meanwhile, President Trump is congratulating himself on having "conquered" ISIS, after the Kurds captured Raqqa. It reminds me of Antiochus IV's lavish triumph of his "victory" over Egypt -- a victory that he had had to quickly abandon under pressure from Roman interventionists.

Antiochus styled himself, "Antiochus the Illustrious"; but Jewish historians remember him as "Antiochus the Madman".

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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