The Strategy Washington Is Pursuing in the Middle East Is the Only Strategy Worth Pursuing

America needs to back up its allies (Israel, Saudi Arabia, and potentially Turkey), and isolate its adversaries (Iran, Russia, China, Islamic State). Everything else is secondary.

Turkish and American armored vehicles troops on joint patrol in the northern Syrian city of Manbij on November 1, 2018. Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

Turkish and American armored vehicles troops on joint patrol in the northern Syrian city of Manbij on November 1, 2018. Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

Essay
Jan. 7 2019
About the author

Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the author of Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East (2016), is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the National Security Council. He tweets @doranimated.


President Trump’s surprise December 19 announcement of an immediate withdrawal of American forces from Syria hit some Israelis like a sucker punch. “With this withdrawal, the United States abandons Syria and leaves Israel alone,” said Yaakov Amidror, a former national-security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While conceding that “the effect of the U.S. decision is primarily psychological and diplomatic,” Amidror continued: “In those arenas, this is a very significant decision.” Subsequent reports to the effect that the drawdown of forces will be slower than originally announced and coordinated with America’s allies have softened the blow, but the shock still remains.

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More about: Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Middle East, Politics & Current Affairs, Syria