Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. soldiers from Syria landed like a bomb and as a result, everything turned was upside down in Washington. Bringing the U.S. soldiers back home was one of the promises Trump made during his presidential campaign. This promise was effective for his election too.
Although Secretary of Defense James Mattis tried to stop Trump, he couldn’t succeed. Mattis’ resignation created a shock wave in Congress. He was the last member of the “adult club” that tried to restrain Trump, who attaches great importance to his instincts. After Trump declared that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is going to leave his position at the end of the year, Mattis was left isolated. Trump was not happy with Mattis anyway, whom he described as “sort of a Democrat.” It was obvious that after Kelly, Mattis was going to leave too. “The Syria decision” was the last straw for him.
It is expected that after Syria, Trump is going to withdraw the U.S. army from Afghanistan as well. Mattis and his allies restrained Trump from doing it, and even deployed more soldiers. According to the information leaked to the media, however, as a first step, Trump is planning to downgrade the army in the country from 14,000 to 7,000. It is known that the Americans have been trying to start a peace process between “Taliban” and the Afghan government. Rumor has it that right before Trump declared his Syria decision, the Americans held negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar.
Trump’s Syria decision sparked reactions from both parties’ senators in the Congress. Even the pro-Trump senators got up against it. Republican Senators talked to Vice President Mike Pence to persuade him to back down from this decision. What Pence told the senators, on the other hand, was not shared with the public. The only Republican senator who was happy with Trump’s decision was Rand Paul. Paul was targeted by the “Neocons” with whom he was giving a fight against for a long time for withdrawing the U.S. Army from Afghanistan and Syria. Neocons were counting on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, but nothing good came out for them.
Although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talked with Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton to convince Trump to change his mind, it didn’t work. Interestingly enough, Israel’s friends in the U.S. Congress, Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton, introduced a bill to the Senate on Dec. 17. This bill, which was quietly introduced to the Senate, entails the recognition of Israel’s annexation of “Golan Heights” which has been occupied by Israel since 1967. The preamble of this bill argues that unless Israel ensures its permanent sovereignty in Golan heights, it will not be protected from attacks coming from Lebanon and Syria.
Trump was frightened by the fact that Republicans lost the control of the “House of Representatives.” Listening to his instincts, Trump, who wants to be reelected in 2020, seems to be going back to the promises he made in 2016. Withdrawing U.S. soldiers from the wars in the Middle East, which costed trillions of taxpayers’ dollars during the last 16 years, bringing the white labor abroad back to the country, and building a wall on the Mexican border, were his primary promises.
Trump, who gained the support of the voters with slogans like “America First” and “Make America Great Again”, fulfilled the promises he made to the “Israel lobby” when he came to power. Besides, he also brought great tax reductions to the major companies and provided huge profits for the arms industry. However, Trump hasn’t done anything for the ordinary Americans who brought him to power.
Trump sees that his chance is slipping through his fingers. The white workers did not get what they expected from Trump. As seen in the midterm elections, Democrats are also switching to a more populist tune. Trump may want to be reelected by withdrawing U.S. soldiers from Syria and Afghanistan. This is also behind Trump’s insistence on appropriating funds for the “Mexican Wall” from the budget, at the expense of shutting down the government.