Michael Reagan: Madness in the Middle East

Michael Reagan

President Trump says he wants to get our troops out of the "blood-stained sand" of the Middle East.

Most sane Americans would agree with that goal and hope he's successful.

Unfortunately, the people in charge of our foreign policy are not sane, as they proved after Trump yanked a few dozen U.S. soldiers out of northern Syria.

Trump's sensible decision to let the Turks, Syrians and Russians figure out how to police their own backyards without our help brought him strong criticism from every political side.

Democrats and the liberal media's pundits railed against it, but so what? They're automatically against anything Trump does.

The president also got heavy bipartisan grief for allegedly betraying the Kurds, our trusted and state-less allies who lost 11,000 of their soldiers while helping us and Syrian democratic rebel forces defeat Isis.

Retired military leaders -- many of the same ones who've been mismanaging our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 -- and the neoconservative hawks in the Republican Party blasted Trump.

They said what he did was a naïve, stupid, irresponsible move that will empower Russia and make other countries distrust America's word and its will.

As usual, the professional interventionists in Washington whom Democrat congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard calls "warmongers" are predicting that many terrible things will happen in Syria without American soldiers present to keep the peace.

Isis supposedly will regain its strength. The Kurds living in northern Syria -- the ones Turkey considers terrorists -- will suffer greatly.

Plus, our troop withdrawal will supposedly spark new fighting between the countries, kingdoms, ethnic groups, religious sects, political factions, tribes and street gangs that have been slaughtering each other in the Middle East for at least 3,000 years.

It's hard to take this week's hysteria about Trump's decision seriously, especially when it comes from the Democrats and the liberal media who watched quietly as Barrack Obama and his team made bloody messes of Libya and Syria and mismanaged our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for eight years.

It's been clear for many decades that America will never fix what's wrong with the Middle East.

About 20 years ago I asked Col. David Hackworth, one of the country's most decorated soldiers and an expert on warfare and the structure of the U.S. military, "When will there be peace in the Middle East?"

"When they're all dead," was his answer.

What did he think America's policy should be in the Middle East?

We should arm everyone to the teeth, build a 100-foot wall around the region, go away and wait till everyone there kills each other.

"Hack," who died in 2005, was not kidding.

Based on ancient and modern history, it was easy for him to predict what the Middle East would look like today -- a perpetual war zone ruled by brutal dictators and Muslim extremists and crawling with lunatic terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and Isis.

Trump claims pulling U.S. soldiers from Syria and letting the Russians sort things out between the Kurds and the Turks will bring peace in the long run.

He obviously has no idea what will actually happen. But no one else in Washington does, either.

Our military doesn't know. Our state department doesn't know. Lindsay Graham doesn't know. Neither do Liz, Joe and Bernie and their anonymous foreign policy experts.

So far, the blood and treasure America has spent trying to bring peace, democracy and prosperity to the political chaos and religious madness of the Middle East has been tragically wasted.

Col. Hackworth believed fighting and making war is part of the Middle East's DNA and America can do nothing with our military or economic power to change that.

President Trump seems to believe that, too.

In any case, whatever he has done or not done correctly in a small corner of Syria won't matter in the long run. The Middle East will be a bloody and uncivilized part of the world for another hundred years, at least.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant and an author.

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