President Trump's decision to withdraw the 2,200 US Special Forces from Syria and to bring 7,000 American troops home from Afghanistan is more bad news for the neocons.  It raises questions about how long John Bolton is going to survive as National Security Advisor.  

Recall that six months ago, Trump announced he wanted to withdraw US troops from Syria, now that ISIS has been largely defeated.  In fact, jihadist forces are largely encircled in Idlib Province by combined R+6 forces, with the choice to surrender or die.  At that time, the JCS, Mattis, Bolton all argued that the US should stay.  They couldn't give a good reason–other than that the US presence brought some stability and protected the Kurds.  In the absence of a clear US strategy towards the region, Trump agreed to hold off.

Six months passed and Trump, being Trump, decided he had enough and announced the withdrawal.  He spoke by phone with Erdogan, and extracted a promise that the Turks would finish off ISIS.  Erdogan was taken aback by the call and is not certain whether he is being set up by Trump.  Erdogan, of course, wants to deploy the Turkish Army against the YPG Kurdish forces east of the Euphrates River.  He may very well do that, once the US forces pull out.

Neocons are very unhappy with Trump.  Bolton had publicly demanded that US forces remain in Syria until all the Iranians withdraw.  Not gonna happen.  

JCS will devise contingency plans for maintaining some operational presence in Syrian conflict, via bases in Iraq and Jordan–if they can get the OK from those host governments.

Trump is mindful that he promised in 2016 to end the US permanent wars.  He is now delivering partially on that pledge.  It is part of his reelection plan but it is also a reflection of his own beliefs.  Remember his recent tweet that the $717 billion defense budget is "obscene."

Neocons built their power on the widespread false belief that the United States was the sole superpower, using American military force to maintain order.  It was part of the post-9/11 Global War on Terror, which drove US foreign and national security policy for nearly two decades.  

Trump appears to be turning the page on that bad chapter in American history.  Hopefully, some smart people will help orchestrate the transition in a way that increases, rather than decreases stability in the Middle East and Central Asia.


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