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No, Combat Troops In The Middle East Donít Counter Chinaís Rise
The Federalist ^ | January 2, 2020 | Daniel L. Davis

Posted on 01/02/2020 1:26:32 PM PST by Kaslin

Chinese activity beyond its borders does not inherently threaten America. The twin narratives of Trump ‘abandoning’ the Middle East and any Chinese presence as a threat to America are false.


While his critics claim the president “eyes the exits” from the Middle East, they excoriate him for “abdicating a strong U.S. role” in the region, which some claim is enabling China’s rise. This common characterization of Trump’s foreign policy may be worrisome, but it is also demonstrably wrong.

Far from eyeing the exits, Trump continues a concerning trend of deepening U.S. military involvement in the Middle East. As important, Chinese activity beyond its borders is not inherently threatening to America. The twin narratives of Trump “abandoning” the Middle East and that any Chinese presence is a threat to America are false—and dangerously so.

A moment’s thought exposes the charge of Trump deserting the Middle East as nonsense. Since May 2019, his administration has increased U.S. troops in the region by 14,000, bringing the number to well more than 50,000, and another 14,000 may soon be deployed. There is no security threat in the Middle East that justifies these deployment levels, but the absence of a credible threat doesn’t seem to matter in Washington.

This is particularly evident in Syria, perhaps our most pointless deployment at the moment. The argument for staying in Syria is twofold: that we need to “finish the job” against the Islamic State, and to “counter Iran.” As I observed during four combat deployments in the region, it is beyond absurd to suggest a tiny contingent of U.S. troops in the vast expanse of Syria has the slightest chance of “defeating” a shadowy insurgent group, which ISIS has now become.

Indefinite occupation of foreign lands by U.S. troops is flatly the wrong tool for the job, as nearly two decades of history in Iraq—where ISIS originated during U.S. intervention—and Afghanistan—where the Taliban has grown to its strongest level since 2001—have shown.

If Washington cannot defeat insurgent groups with hundreds of thousands of troops in countries where it had the full support of the host government and the entire local security apparatus, what would suggest it can succeed in Syria with a fraction of force strength surrounded by a hostile local regime? Ignoring these realities and presumptuously trying to force a military solution to a non-military problem condemns us to permanent failure and prolongs Syria’s chaos.

The truth is, we don’t need combat troops in the Middle East to keep us safe at home. The small remnants of ISIS in the shadows of Iraq and Syria are a marginal threat to Baghdad and Damascus, but not America. They have neither the capacity nor the ability to attack the United States.

America and our interests around the world are effectively protected from ISIS (and terrorism more broadly) by our unrivaled global ISR-Strike capability and increasingly effective cooperation among our federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. It is unnecessary—and therefore indefensible—to keep U.S. troops fighting in strategically irrelevant Syria and neighboring states.

It is also unwise to react in fear to every move China makes in the region. Michael Mulroy, then-deputy assistant secretary of defense, told Financial Times last August he was concerned Beijing could use financial ties in the Middle East to “erode U.S. military advantages.” Washington is concerned, he said, that some Middle Eastern countries’ “economic interests may blind them to the negative implications of some Chinese investments,” like the theft of intellectual property rights.

Chinese business espionage and cybercrimes are no joke and require serious attention and countermeasures. Yet Mulroy’s clear implication as a representative of the Pentagon—and similar views the State Department shares—is that the way to address these (mainly cyber) threats is to keep physical combat troops stationed in the Mideast.

That proposal is reckless and bizarre. Such use of the American armed forces does nothing to address or deter Chinese business theft. It merely drains our country of billions in defense expenditures, puts our troops in unnecessary danger, risks needless great power conflict, and limits our ability to prepare for potential existential threats that could arise elsewhere.

Out-competing China and holding Beijing accountable for cybercrimes worldwide is the way to defend our business interests. Keeping combat troops in the Middle East forever is not.

It is time we stopped pretending this administration is ending U.S. military intervention in the Mideast when the opposite is plainly evident. We must recognize that our interests are not served by keeping thousands of American troops deployed indefinitely. This is not the best way to fight terrorism or balance a rising China. The most rational course of action is to withdraw all combat troops from the Middle East.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: china; compattroops; foreignintervention; foreiignpolicy; isis; islamicstate; middleeast; milintervention; milpolicy; pentagon; syria; ustroops; wot

1 posted on 01/02/2020 1:26:32 PM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Let them have the middle east AND the oil. Just leave Israel and Taiwan alone.


2 posted on 01/02/2020 1:28:09 PM PST by DIRTYSECRET (urope. Why do they put up with this.)
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To: Kaslin
Let the Chinese and Russian blow their budget out in the Mideast.

Not a DAMN thing there for us but endlessly warring, godless TRIBES that will take us to hell with them.

The need Christ - not our dead bodies and wasted trillions.

3 posted on 01/02/2020 1:30:37 PM PST by AAABEST (NY/DC/LA media/political/military industrial complex DELENDA EST)
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To: AAABEST

The Chicoms want Africa. Isn’t the middle east better for them?


4 posted on 01/02/2020 1:33:28 PM PST by DIRTYSECRET (urope. Why do they put up with this.)
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To: DIRTYSECRET

“Let them have the middle east AND the oil. Just leave Israel and Taiwan alone.”

China is a scorpion. No matter how much you feed it, a scorpion is still a scorpion. China will not, can not, leave Taiwan alone. This is because the communist government has told the Chinese people that communist governance is the only reason for the people’s rising standard of living. Taiwan and Hong Kong are living proof this is not so. Therefore, both must be brought under the communist government and all freedom...all evidence against the party line...must be crushed.

As for Israel...to get the oil China will likely choose Iran’s side. This means that China will support Iran’s wars with money and technology. Iran is focused, primarily, against Saudi Arabia and the Sunnis. But, Iran is also focused on Israel.

If communist China is to survive they must crush non-communist governments and side with Iran. Both of those requirements mean they can not leave Taiwan or Israel alone.


5 posted on 01/02/2020 1:38:24 PM PST by Gen.Blather
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To: Kaslin

Unfortunately, the U.S. has already lost to China. It happened sometime during the last Obama years.


6 posted on 01/02/2020 1:38:25 PM PST by kaehurowing
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To: DIRTYSECRET
The Chicoms want Africa. Isn’t the middle east better for them?

Ha ha. That should be Trump's foreign policy tact with China:

"Hey Xe, can I interest you in some hegemonic control over a Mideast shithole?"

7 posted on 01/02/2020 1:38:35 PM PST by AAABEST (NY/DC/LA media/political/military industrial complex DELENDA EST)
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To: Kaslin

Guy misses the point on every issue he raises.

Sure, China is rising in the ME, and rightfully so,
We can wet our beak in their success though, and deservedly.

Iran can’t pay it’s proxies. That makes them desperate and desperation means trouble.


8 posted on 01/02/2020 1:38:43 PM PST by mrsmith (Dumb sluts (M / F) : Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat/RINO Party!)
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To: Gen.Blather

True.
But I think China is getting tired of Iran’s constant trouble-making over Israel.
They’d profit much more from a friendly Israel
Which Iran makes impossible.

In sum, the ME is a terrible place to succeed in.


9 posted on 01/02/2020 1:43:30 PM PST by mrsmith (Dumb sluts (M / F) : Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat/RINO Party!)
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To: DIRTYSECRET

Taiwan is perfectly capable of making the mainland leave them alone.

As a matter of fact, Taiwan did so all through the Clinton and Obama administrations.


10 posted on 01/02/2020 1:48:45 PM PST by MrEdd (Caveat Emptor)
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To: mrsmith

“In sum, the ME is a terrible place to succeed in.”

The United States has, since WWII, guaranteed equal and free access to the seas by all powers. Even North Korea can sail its ships unescorted to any port that will accept them. China and the developing world have benefitted from this security.

The US, which maintains a fleet larger than all the navies of the world combined, is backing away from this profitless role. This means that the far east must quickly develop navies and security arrangements. They will need to go to the ME, select sides in a century’s old blood feud, and escort their oil home. At the same time, those same countries, or, at least China, is challenging the freedom of the seas for other countries.

If the ME oil is interrupted for more than a few weeks, then the developing world will begin to fall into chaos and starvation. This is probably the only reason Trump hasn’t told them all to p*ss off and walked away. There are no good guys in the ME; only varying flavors of evil-doers.


11 posted on 01/02/2020 1:58:39 PM PST by Gen.Blather
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To: Gen.Blather

It wasn’t always a profitless role.
Though it is now and has been for 20 or so years. Everyone, including us, used to profit from our Navy.
Funny, people want a multi-polar world but none wants to step up and support it.

China wants to sell goods to the ME- it’s a terrible thing to send money to people who don’t buy your goods in return- but keeps trying to cheat and bully everyone it needs to help do that.
Using force instead of negotiation. Just like it does in the S China Sea area.
I put it down to having a barbaric feudal system that can’t adapt.


12 posted on 01/02/2020 2:20:49 PM PST by mrsmith (Dumb sluts (M / F) : Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat/RINO Party!)
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To: DIRTYSECRET

cowardly isolationist balderdash


13 posted on 01/02/2020 2:23:28 PM PST by bert ( (KE. NP. N.C. +12) Progressives are existential American enemies)
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To: bert

I’m with you: where do we find these isolationist nitwits passing themselves off as conservatives?
A real conservative knows which century we’re in and how we got here and what it will take to stay free.
Draft-dodging neohippy nitwits.


14 posted on 01/02/2020 3:06:46 PM PST by Chainmail (Remember that half the people you meet are below average intelligence)
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