Nov 18, 2016
by Doug Bandow
Forbes Magazine


A Syrian man searches for victims as fire spreads following a reported government airstrike on the rebel-held town of Douma, on the eastern outskirts of the capital Damascus, on November 17, 2016. (ABD DOUMANY/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. presidential election mercifully has ended. But global conflict continues. And American politicians are still attempting to drag America into another tragic, bloody Middle Eastern conflict.

To do so would be madness. President-Elect Donald Trump appears to recognize that Syria is not America’s responsibility. Unfortunately, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, as well as some of those mentioned for top administration positions, take a more militaristic perspective. Trump should announce that his administration will not get involved in Syria’s civil war in any way.

President Barack Obama spent five years resisting pressure for direct military intervention. But he appointed war supporters John Kerry, Samantha Power, Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton to manage his foreign policy. Kerry acknowledged to a group of Syrian refugees in Beirut that he and other officials had advocated use of force but “lost the argument.”

However, rather than clearly set a policy of non-involvement, President Obama attempted intervention-lite. The administration failed in both its major objectives: oust Bashar al-Assad as president and empower “moderate” opponents. However, administration officials still have not given up. Even as the American people were voting on Obama’s successor his appointees were pushing “kinetic actions against the regime,” reported anonymous sources. The president remains at odds with his own appointees.

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