Donald Trump is right. America is not the policeman of the world. As ugly and painful as American’s pull out from Syria may be, at some point our endless adventures have to stop. Trump is one of the few presidents gutsy enough to keep a campaign promise and he is our best hope to close out these endless wars.
Like a lot of Americans I feel deeply hurt to see us abandon the Kurds.They helped us during the first Gulf War under George H.W. Bush. When we pulled out we left them unprotected and Saddam Hussein gassed their villages. I was serving on senior staff at the White House during that time and remember well the sense of betrayal.
The Kurds came to our assistance once again in the war against ISIS, the Islamic terrorists who invaded the Middle East thanks to a vacuum created by President Barack Obama. For several years the hideous black ISIS flags flew proudly from the turrets of American made personnel carriers. Under Obama, we had literally supplied our terrorist opponents. But the Kurds patiently helped us roll that all back.
Keep in mind. The Kurds are not a formal ally. The nation of Turkey is.And keep in mind, that the conflict between the Turks and the Kurds is hundreds of years old.
It was amusing to see the Democrats lecturing the president on why his pullout was wrong and how to deal with ISIS. When they were in power their strategy to stop ISIS was to defuse tension by cultural appeasement. They refused to allow anyone in government to use the phrase “Islamic terrorist.”
In my new book, “Inside Trump’s White House: The Real Story of His Presidency,” (pub. Nov. 26,) I interview President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, and others, getting the full remarkable story of how we defeated ISIS. I also capture some of why President Trump sees America’s role in policing the world as a mistake.
The President shared to me his view that the invasion of Iraq was one of America’s greatest historical blunders. We justified our war on the false grounds that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And if not, Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator anyway.
On March 6, 2007, Obama was quoted as saying that the Muslim call to prayer was “one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset.” At the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast, Obama lectured Christians on the crimes they had committed in the Crusades, 800 years before. Meanwhile the ISIS caliphate grew to 35,000 square miles of territory.
Consider Ronald Reagan. He was facing the danger of international communism, which openly declared its intentions of ruling the world but Reagan’s involvements were measured. He did no go after Cambodian leader Pol Pot, the man who killed half of his own people in a nationwide genocide. Nor did Reagan go after Idi Amin, who slaughtered hundreds of thousand in Africa and had just been driven from office when Reagan arrived in the White House. Both of these despotic leaders were left untouched by Reagan.
When Reagan stuck his toe in the Middle East in 1982, it resulted in the death of 241 marines. He withdrew our forces immediately, deciding it was not in America’s security interests to be involved in the intractable problems of the Middle East. How wise that seems in retrospect.
On the other hand, we spent trillions of dollars and destroyed our own economy to take out the evil regime of Saddam Hussein. Now, both the Republican and Democratic establishment are outraged that Trump is ending one of our wars. Massive lobbies pour their donations into the American congress, all to support the ongoing military industrial complex.
Ironically, former first lady Laura Bush wrote an op-ed in 2018, condemning the separation of children from parents who had been arrested illegally entering the United States. She called the policy cruel and immoral, and said that “it breaks my heart.” Meanwhile, George W. Bush’s war in Iraq took the lives of 20,000 children.
There are problems all over the world. There is injustice and heartbreak. There is danger. But there is an admonition we hear every time we fly on an airline. “If you are accompanying a child, please put your own oxygen mask on first and then assist your child.”
America’s education system has utterly failed. Her bridges and highways are in disrepair. Her airports are falling apart. It’s time for America to put on her own oxygen mask. Maybe then she can once again be strong for others.