“East Of Suez” Moment For The US

Endless wars…..countless civilian casualties…..a feckless foreign policy……all point to the US losing its influence in the Middle East.

US foreign policy nerds are seeing a change in the policies of the US towards the region of the Middle East….

President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of all U.S. troops in northeastern Syria brings to mind Great Britain’s 1968 retreat “East of Suez.” It marked an inflection point, a final abandoning of empire given London’s limited financial resources, lapsed political will and heightened anti-colonial hostility. 

The United Kingdom came to terms with a diminished global role from positions “East of Suez” – i.e., beyond the Suez Canal – and left it to America be the guarantor of the post-World War II international order.

Is the U.S. approaching its own “East of Suez” moment? In the U.S. case, the result is not a consequence of decline per se, but of radically altered U.S. domestic political circumstances (e.g., “America First”) and deepened multi-layered conflict in the region. For better or worse, President Trump’s determination to reduce troops deployed overseas, from Afghanistan to Syria, is part of an effort to make good on campaign pledges. Explaining his troop reductions in northeast Syria, Trump reiterated this imperative: “I campaigned on the fact that I was going to bring our soldiers home.”


Trump’s decision to remove US troops from Northern Syria has many pundits and analysts asking…..”what are the options for the US in the Middle East?

The U.S. decision to suddenly leave Syria has been excoriated as a betrayal yet also received some praise for ending the relationship with the Syrian Democratic Forces, which Turkey accuses of being linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party. That means the U.S. decision to leave Syria can be viewed through the lens of reversing an Obama-era policy of working with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) instead of the Syrian rebels. But if anyone thought the United States was pivoting toward opposing the Assad regime and Iran, that isn’t the case. Assad, Iran, Russia and Turkey are swooping in to grab the spoils.

It’s no use arguing over what might have been in eastern Syria. The war is over and the United States has to decide what its role is after Syria. This could become a key point in U.S. foreign-policy history—the bookend to George H. W. Bush’s “new world order” where America eschews its role as global hegemon, or global policeman, as it has sometimes been seen. This could also be a domino effect, causing the United States to lose more influence in Turkey, in Iraq, and potentially the Gulf as well.


Does not appear that our options are anything to be optimistic about…..https://us11.campaign-archive.com/

Trump’s capitulation to Erdogan on Syria does mkake the region more secure…no it will open up the possibility of more wars popping up….

The crisis has long been brewing. For years, Turkey has wanted to create a buffer zone inside Syria, both for its security and to resettle the more than two million refugees who crossed the border to flee Syria’s eight-year civil war. Even more, Erdoğan has wanted to wipe out the Kurdish militia in Syria which he views as a threat because of its ties to a Kurdish movement in Turkey. Kurds are the largest minority in Turkey and a large voting bloc; a militant faction has sought autonomy or an independent Kurdistan that would unite Kurds across Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The United States held off Erdoğan as long as it needed Syria’s feisty Kurds to fight ISIS on the ground, with backup from American air power. All the other U.S.-backed rebel groups failed, disintegrated, or turned into warlords.


That’s right….a creation of more wars in the Middle East……

The complexity of the crisis can create cognitive dissonance. What if I desperately wish to end our endless wars but I also care about the fate of Kurdish and other Syrian civilians? What if I wish U.S. hadn’t invaded these countries in the first place but I now worry that Trump’s recklessness will make matters worse?

There is a coherent strategy that can cut this Gordian knot, but it involves imagining a new U.S. foreign policy based on diplomacy and humanitarian initiatives.


Further Reading: 

Smoke Signals in the Next Middle East War

I do not foresee any change in the standing on war in the region….if anything I think it could get worse until the US finds its foreign policy compass and steps in to make diplomacy the rule of the day….not the bullets.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

4 thoughts on ““East Of Suez” Moment For The US

  1. My belief is that we don’t have the resources to continue to engage in maintains world peace and order. Our national debt and deficit is not possible to continue.
    It is up to the people in the Middle East, Turkey, Syria etc to work out their own futures without our control, help or interference.

    1. I agree but until we have a president that is more worried about peace than his re-election we will continue to fund the wars endlessly….chuq

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