The president came into office without any real significant foreign policy experience, so the administration naturally has sought to tout any perceptible victories for the U.S. in the realm of foreign policy that have transpired under Donald Trump’s leadership. One such victory has come in the fight against the Islamic State terror group, otherwise known as ISIS, which has been forced out of the vast majority of its territory.
The Trump administration has proven more than happy to turn that into some kind of demented testament to the president’s supposed greatness, with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders going so far as to claim last year that her boss’ administration had defeated the group.
Surprise, surprise — according to a new report from NBC, the Trump administration has failed to put its money where its mouth is, and according to the testimony of an array of special forces commanders, the U.S. mission against ISIS in Syria is in danger of falling apart.
This danger comes in the face of the Trump administration proving barely able to keep a stable foreign policy staff. Both the Secretary of State and the president’s national security advisers had their imminent departures from the White House revealed recently in the midst of the still ongoing period of rapid senior staff turnover in the Trump administration. The president’s new national security adviser isn’t exactly someone who has proven a nuanced understanding of foreign policy, either; he’s advocated for preemptive strikes on both Iran and North Korea in the past.
In the face of this tumult, one U.S. special forces commander told NBC:
‘We’re on the two-yard line. We could literally fall into the end zone. We’re that close to total victory, to wiping out the ISIS caliphate in Syria. We’re that close and now it’s coming apart.’
Part of the reason that the commanders who spoke to NBC feel as though their efforts are “coming apart” is the fact that our key allies in the fight, the Kurds, now “question whether they can rely on the U.S. under President Donald Trump.” Part of the reason for this is the Trump administration’s “indifference” to a recently launched Turkish offensive in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, Syria.
Commenting of the United States’ lack of resolve to protect the Kurds from the Turks, Mohammed Mustafa Ali, a commander of the Kurdish-led force in Manbij, commented:
‘We have been abandoned and betrayed. We were useful to fight against ISIS, but the Americans are now turning their backs on us.’
It’s not as though the American commanders speaking to NBC just rushed to the media with their concerns, either. Rather, according to NBC, they’ve sent memos to the White House outlining the issues, but the White House doesn’t seem to be paying attention and is instead “unfocused or not fully aware of the nuances of the war on ISIS in Syria.”
This situation has emerged against the backdrop of the president having promised to come up with a “great plan” for defeating ISIS. It’s just the latest instance of the world order paying a heavy price because of the president’s inexperience and ineptitude on issues of foreign policy.
Featured Image via Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images