Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama put the United States on the road to permanent war in the Middle East. Washington has battled in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. The results ranged from disappointing to disastrous.
Candidate Donald Trump said he wanted no more such conflicts. Back in April President Trump reiterated that sentiment, saying he wanted “to get out.” Yet the fighting continues. It is time for him to take charge of U.S. policy and end America’s needless wars. Syria would be a good place to start.
Multisided civil wars rarely end well—especially one where most of the combatants deserve to lose. The last such conflict was Lebanon, which began in 1975 and finally ended in 1990. President Ronald Reagan intervened on behalf of the nominal national government, which actually ruled little more than Beirut; America’s embassy and Marine Corps barracks were destroyed in retaliation, the price of Washington becoming an active combatant.
President Reagan took the only sensible course: exit the imbroglio. He didn’t worry which domestic faction was up or down and which outsider was exercising how much influence in Beirut. He recognized that the United States had nothing at stake in the tragic conflict which warranted involvement.