President Trump has since his swearing in, distanced himself from the foreign policy approaches of his forbears. Whether disdaining NATO, or insulting other friends and allies in public, he has shown he will not be influenced by established standards or practices.
The decision to withdraw 2,000 US troops from Syria came shortly after the Congressional elections, Afghanistan may be the next. Partners in both countries will face new uncertainties. The Kurds will have reason to regret (not for the first time), their decision to ally with America. The Russians, the Iranians and of course Syria’s Assad will be glad to see the back of an adversary. What happens now is the question: could the Islamic State rise again? Could Turkey seek to enforce a new diktat in eastern Syria?
As for Afghanistan, any move to withdraw troops will send the wrong signal to the Taliban and its Pakistani backers. The trouble here is every one of Afghanistan’s neighbours want the Taliban on board. Uncle Sam targets them with missiles while breaking bread with representatives of the same group in Qatar. India will be shell-shocked but it may push a view among some strategists in Delhi to be more active in our backyard instead of relying on the Americans.
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