President Trump’s “America First” foreign policy of scaling back costly interventionism is continuing to pay dividends as the Syrian civil war winds down, and other major interested parties such as Israel and Russia come to an agreement on troop withdrawal following a meeting between prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and president Vladimir Putin.
This weekend, Netanyahu announced that his nation and Russia will form a joint team to facilitate the pullout of all foreign troops from Syria where, despite years of unrelenting foreign interventionism, not least by the US deep state, president Bashar Al-Assad is nearing victory in the civil war against Islamist rebels.
The two nations have been at odds in the strategic regional conflict, with Russia and Israel’s long-time foe Iran backing Assad. Netanyahu and Putin have not met since an incident last year which raised tensions, when the Israeli air force may have been responsible for Syria’s air defense system unintentionally shooting down a Russian reconnaissance plane.
While this new diplomatic development does not seem to have been initiated by President Trump, it is a testament to the effect of his struggle to implement the non-interventionist, pro-American, and pro-peace policies which he ran on. Since entering the presidency, Trump has consistently been pushing to scale back American involvement and end the disastrous civil war, which has displaced millions of Syrians and devastated much of the country, as well as recognize the legitimacy of Assad and the contributions of Russia.
The agreement also appears to seal Israel’s acceptance of the Trump agenda. Netanyahu reportedly expressed significant concerns earlier last year following Trump’s announcement of a planned withdrawal, which the president assuaged by reiterating a commitment to maintaining US influence in the interests of the security of its key ally.
However, the danger now is that the American deep state may be attempting to foil the president’s intentions once again. Trump proclaimed in December 2018 that the US would begin an immediate withdrawal of its forces in Syria, as ISIS had been satisfactorily defeated. However, following a massive outcry from the opposition in the media and the political class, and doubtless significant behind-the-scenes lobbying by the deep state to thwart American interests, he has recently signaled to Congress that he agrees with keeping a small force in the country.
The President would be best advised to act on his mandate and stick with the promises he made to his voters, and end this clandestine back-and-forth as unelected deep state bureaucrats attempt to maintain a status quo harmful to the interests of the American people, democracy, and millions abroad. With this new agreement between Netanyahu and Putin, the opportunity has never been greater.