Trump Asks: 'Does the USA Want to Be the Policeman of the Middle East?'

By Susan Jones | December 20, 2018 | 8:43am EST
Rubble following fight in the Syrian town of Jarablus, once held by the Islamic State.(Photo by Defne Karadeniz/Getty Images)

( - As a general rule of thumb, if Trump's for it, the liberals are against it, and so it is with the president's just-announced U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria. But this time, a chorus of angry Republicans are joining the liberal naysayers.

Many of Trump's critics called the U.S. troop withdrawal an early Christmas gift for Russia's Vladimir Putin, Iran and ISIS.

"This is a give-away," Joe Scarborough, one of the leading anti-Trumpers at MSNBC's "Morning Joe," told viewers on Thursday. "This is foreign policy welfare for Vladimir Putin.. He can't even believe his luck. Or, I'm sorry -- maybe he can. Maybe this is connected to something that none of us know about."

But with the exception of a few Republican non-interventionists, many congressional Republicans (and Democrats) also blasted Trump's planned troop withdrawal, which came as a surprise as lawmakers prepared to leave town for Christmas.

On Thursday, Trump took to Twitter, the same platform he used to announced the troop withdrawal on Wednesday. In three tweets, he said:

Getting out of Syria was no surprise. I’ve been campaigning on it for years, and six months ago, when I very publicly wanted to do it, I agreed to stay longer. Russia, Iran, Syria & others are the local enemy of ISIS. We were doing there work. Time to come home & rebuild. #MAGA

Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing? Do we want to be there forever? Time for others to finally fight.....

Russia, Iran, Syria & many others are not happy about the U.S. leaving, despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and others, who they hate, without us. I am building by far the most powerful military in the world. ISIS hits us they are doomed!

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said on Thursday the fight against ISIS is not over, and it is not won, as President Trump declared on Wednesday.

"So you'll see a lot of effort today to try and persuade the president to reverse this decision," Coons told "Morning Joe." Coons continued:

He (Trump) put out a video, as you referenced earlier, citing those who have fought and sacrificed and died in the conflict against ISIS, and my hunch is that you will hear voices from our armed forces, from the Congress, and from the general public saying that the war against ISIS is not won and that we should best honor the sacrifices and service of our men and women at arms by not ceding this ground, by not paving a highway to control of Syria for Iran and bringing this threat right to the threshold of our vital ally, Israel.

We have the world's most powerful military for a reason. And the fight against ISIS was an important and noble and significant effort where we pulled in dozens of others countries. Now, the United States did manage to bring some measure of stability to a part of a country that was destroyed by ISIS, but that fight is not over and not won.

And for us to just unilaterally withdraw and abandon the Kurds to an almost certain advance by either the Turks or the Iranians or both...why would anyone stand alongside us and fight in such an important conflict as our work against ISIS in the future, if this is how we treat our partners, the Kurds, in this important fight against ISIS.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is among the strongest Republican critics of Trump's planned troop withdrawal:

Graham called it "an Obama-like mistake."

"While American patience in confronting radical Islam may wane, the radical Islamists’ passion to kill Americans and our allies never wavers," Graham warned. 

After visiting Syria earlier this year, it is abundantly clear the approximately 2,000 American troops stationed there are vital to our national security interests.

An American withdrawal at this time would be a big win for ISIS, Iran, Bashar al Assad of Syria, and Russia.  I fear it will lead to devastating consequences for our nation, the region, and throughout the world.

Today, we have a small American footprint and limited presence in northeastern Syria in support of our Kurdish allies who were indispensable in the fight against ISIS.  Staying there is an insurance policy against the reemergence of ISIS and destruction of our Kurdish allies who fought so bravely against them.

An American withdrawal will put the Kurds and all those who came to America’s aid in destroying ISIS at tremendous risk.  It will make it more difficult to recruit future partners willing to confront radical Islam.  It will also be seen by Iran and other bad actors as a sign of American weakness in the efforts to contain Iranian expansion.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took an entirely different view, and is supporting the troop withdrawal: "I am happy to see a President who can declare victory and bring our troops out of a war. It’s been a long time since that has happened." Paul tweeted on Wednesday.

In remarks on the Senate floor yesterday, Paul said, “I'm proud of the president today to hear that he is declaring victory in Syria. Most of the voices around here like to stay everywhere for all time, and they believe that it doesn't work unless you go somewhere and stay forever.

"The president has the courage to say, ‘We won in Syria, and we're coming home.’ First president in my lifetime really to do that. And that's why President Trump is different, and that's why I think President Trump is one that we should all look to for some changes and for some reform of the Deep State."

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