Since Trump ran for president, it was clear that his ideas around foreign policy were scary, and now those closest to him are beginning to realize how dangerous he could become if allowed to take whatever action he wants.
This week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) broke with Trump as he spearheaded a rebuke of Mr. Trump’s rationale for withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, which resulted in the majority of Senate Republicans voting to declare that the Islamic State’s presence and activity in both countries continues to pose a serious threat to the United States.
According to The Washington Post:
‘The measure, presented as an amendment to a greater Middle East policy bill, is a striking reprimand of the president from a GOP that has become increasingly comfortable expressing its opposition to Trump’s foreign policy through votes on the Senate floor.’
McConnell’s break with Trump signifies how deeply Trump’s announcements broke faith within the party. However, it is worth noting that Republicans spent years accusing former President Obama “of pursuing capricious troop withdrawals and have refused to defend this president’s efforts to do the same.”
Prior to the 68-23 Senate vote, McConnell said:
‘I believe the threats remain. ISIS and al-Qaeda have yet to be defeated, and American national security interests require continued commitment to our mission there.’
Senate Democrats were divided on the issue though, with some arguing that rebuking Trump was not worth the cost of greenlighting endless war. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) said:
‘This amendment is not the right way for us to proceed as a means of correcting Trump’s backward policies. It could, frankly, get us even more deeply mired into a series of conflicts in the Middle East.’
In addition, every Senate Democrat expecting to run for president in 2020 voted against the amendment.
In December, Mr. Trump issued a tweet announcing that he would be withdrawing American military personnel from Syria. He stated:
‘We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump presidency.’
The Post reported:
‘The backlash from Republicans has been steady, with some of the president’s closest allies warning him about the dangers of leaving before al-Qaeda, ISIS and their affiliates are expunged. Talk of an impulsive pullout from Syria has incited fears of an ISIS resurgence there, as well as growing concern for the safety of Kurdish fighters who have partnered with U.S. forces. Some lawmakers have warned that the vacuum caused by a U.S. departure is likely to be filled by forces aligned with Iran, posing a threat to ally Israel.’
This vote also comes at a time when U.S. negotiations have been underway with the Taliban which could result in the eventual withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as well. U.S. forces have been deployed there for more than 17 years.
McConnell’s amendment specifically named ISIS and al-Qaeda as “a global threat, which merits increased international contributions to the counterterrorism, diplomatic and stabilization efforts underway in Syria and Afghanistan.”
‘It salutes “the positive role” the United States and its allies have played in Syria and Afghanistan, “fighting terrorist groups, countering Iranian aggression, deterring the further use of chemical weapons, and protecting human rights.”’
The amendment warned that:
‘withdrawal of the United States forces from the ongoing fight against these groups . . . could allow terrorists to regroup, destabilize critical regions, and create vacuums that could be filled by Iran or Russia, to the detriment of United States’ interests and those of our allies.’
Twitter had a few things to say too:
Featured image is screenshot from YouTube