(Traducción: Isabel Gacho Carmona) Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan has caused an earthquake in the American political scene. It was due to the opposition from the political and military leadership, the White House presidential advisers, analysts and experts and the resignation of Jim Mattis, a general who had already been set aside by Obama for his opposition to the presidential renounce to take a more active role in Syria. Mattis, who was re-fished by Trump, is reputed to be tough but was building bridges with Europe and the Middle East in the face of the swings of Trump. This is the most serious crisis of the Trump Administration, not only because of the deepening of the loss of confidence within its environment, but also because of the message that the US gives to Russia, Iran and China.
In Syria, Trump’s policy has followed Obama’s, but with more fuss. The US never got significant allies on the ground or had a clear strategic plan. After attempting to overthrow Bashar al-Assad without putting sufficient forces or allies on the ground, US eventually developed tactical plans to control strategic zones with the support of its Kurdish allies to the north and some Arab groups to the south and east. Thus, they left the whole global initiative to the Russians who, with the support of Iran and the al-Assad government, reversed the situation, consolidated the regime and gave widespread support to the presence of Iranian forces and Lebanese allied militia of Tehran, Hizbullah, drawing a new strategic framework in the region. The withdrawal of the troops leaves the few US allies to their fate and gives green light to the victory of Russia and Iran.
The withdrawal of troops also from Afghanistan, after years of vacillation between the war and pressures on the Government of Kabul to negotiate with the “moderate” fraction of the Taliban, is another step in the confusion. In Afghanistan today, the Taliban movement is stronger, Al-Qaeda has reappeared, and the Islamic State has begun to act.
The most important thing here is the message. The protectionism and isolationism of Trump is not only economic, but also military. The US allies in each region begin to doubt and confidence is cracked, which will probably lead them to unilateral measures to strengthen their positions or vary their alliances. Regarding the opponents, Russia and China, Trump is telling them that to the extent they increase their pressure, the risks of their strategic advances decrease, as long as they do not directly attack the United States.