Fellow Patriot: The voluntary financial generosity of supporters like you keeps our hard-hitting analysis coming. Please support the 2023 Year-End Campaign today. Thank you for your support! —Nate Jackson, Managing Editor

September 15, 2020

Middle East Troop Pullbacks: A Calculated Risk

Trump appears to have successfully opted for smart strategy over reckless retreat.

President Donald Trump is drawing down American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and, not surprisingly, some critics are questioning those pullbacks. Given what happened after Barack Obama’s disastrous withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, which led to the rise of ISIS, among other things, it’s a valid concern. But the context of Trump’s withdrawals is much different than that of Obama’s reckless action.

For starters, Trump ditched the Obama administration’s awful Iran nuclear deal. Then he took out Iran’s terrorist mastermind. Trump also loosened the rules of engagement in the Middle East and Afghanistan, allowing American troops to fight to win rather than merely stay alive as an occupying force — this after eight years of being hobbled by Obama.

But while Trump has been able to turn things around on the battlefield against ISIS and in Iran against the mullahs, he’s also been pulling us out of a hole created by Obama’s eight years of neglect for our geopolitical first responders. This, coupled with George W. Bush’s errors of omission in the early stages of the Global War on Terror, forced our nation into some tough choices and made continued fighting a harder sell.

The other major difference is that Trump is also helping to build peace in the region — with demonstrable results. Recently, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain agreed to normalize diplomatic relationships with Israel. The question is when Oman will be next. Saudi Arabia has been allowing overflight rights for Israeli planes on direct flights to the UAE, and there are signs that Trump is leveraging close ties with the Saudis to push that country toward normalization as well.

In addition, Trump’s weapons sales to our allies in the region will make it much more costly for any malefactor, be they terrorists like ISIS or the genocidal theocrats of Iran, to start trouble. Since Trump took office, Yemen’s Houthi rebels are no longer taking potshots at American ships.

Which brings us back to our nation’s revived alliance with Saudi Arabia. While the Obama administration was dithering in its efforts to stop the Iranian regime from gaining control of a country, Yemen, astride a key maritime chokepoint, Trump instead made the call to back the Saudis in that nasty proxy conflict. This was clearly a case in which Trump picked the least bad option.

But Trump’s moves also reflect something else: It’s one thing to pull out on a timetable regardless of conditions in the region, as Obama did. Trump’s troop moves are different in that he’s not only beaten down the threats but has also built up the capabilities of American allies. This has allowed us to maintain a much smaller American footprint.

The fact is, Trump has taken and effectively applied the lessons America learned from the Global War on Terror. This is the difference between a reckless retreat and a smart strategy.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.