Amidst all of the controversy surrounding the Trump/Putin meetings at the G20 summit, which the Trump administration claims were not even classifiable as meetings — one would think Donald Trump would want to keep his head down.
That, though, would require some form of intelligence. President Trump instead is set to end the CIA’s covert program aimed to train and arm Syrian rebels — a move that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been pushing for, for quite some time. Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad were from 2013 to present, being assisted by the American military thanks to a policy of the Obama administration. The intention of the program was to put pressure on Assad to remove himself from his position, and while it hasn’t been tremendously successful, the program was still supported by many on the inside.
According to one White House official:
‘People began thinking about ending the program, but it was not something you’d do for free…To give [the program] away without getting anything in return would be foolish.’
So what exactly did President Donald Trump get from Vladimir Putin to prompt this move? Americans are thus far, totally in the dark. This controversial move comes mere months after President Trump publically blamed Assad for the use of chemical weapons against his own people, and his decision to drop tomahawk missiles on a Syrian air base, as retaliation.
Unfortunately, despite Trump’s claims to put an end to ISIS and other extremist groups in the Middle East, this move risks assisting these individuals in obtaining more sophisticated weapons and technology. The program was essentially a bargaining chip and was one of the few things that the United States could do to block Turkey and Persian Gulf allies from the chaos. Many Obama-era top advisors believed the program was even more important than that, that despite it not being as effective as it could be, any moderate assistance the United States could provide to shield its allies in the region, was a good move for foreign relations.
President Trump is contradicting his own election promises with this move as well. Some may recall the following tweet from October 2016, where he pledged his support to American allies in the Middle East:
‘I WILL DEFEAT ISIS. THEY HAVE BEEN AROUND TOO LONG! What has our leadership been doing? #DrainTheSwamp’
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2016
By now, Americans are aware that President Donald Trump doesn’t care much about maintaining strong relationships with allied nations, as evidenced by his slights against the Australian Prime Minister via phone, Canadian Prime Minister with NAFTA, and more recently, cozying up to Putin at the G20.
Feature Image via Getty Images.