Trump is right in withdrawing US troops; America has no business fighting others’ war for eternity
New Delhi, Dec 25: The time has finally come. Going by the trend of the Donald Trump Administration, it was a matter of time before the country started pulling out of key theatres of geopolitical and geo-strategic warfare. While American drawdown from Syria is already on, Trump has also asked the Pentagon to pull troops out of Afghanistan. The implications have been severe with James Mattis quitting as the secretary of state and Trump's own Republican Party blasting him over such moves, but the reality is this was coming - a process of retreat and which had started during the Barack Obama administration and now being given the final touches under its successor. This retreat is backed by a drive for 'America first' which in itself shows Washington's changed priority from internationalism to nationalism.
To put it straight, it is not the US's business to go on fight war in other countries for eternity. The decisions of getting involved in chaos abroad in the name of securing democracy or even mankind themselves were grave blunders and today, the US certainly faces a zero-reward situation in those conflict zones. The futility of the US's involvement in wars abroad is evident today as after decades, there is no sign of any end to those conflicts.
The mission of planting democracies in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan never worked out to the Americans' liking and they stopped short of replicating the same in Syria. This virtually marks the end of the US's role of a global policeman which is something new since the end of the Second World War but this had to happen one day because of the changing character of the global order. Regional powers in and around those conflict zones have become influential players and it is high time the US now leaves things to them to resolve and not allow itself to bleed incessantly - in terms of military and money.
US's global assertion became the order of the day during two great wars and it continued thereafter
The US's significance as a world power was asserted twice - during the two great wars when its involvement gave the liberal world a much-needed victory over the evils and it became a trend thereafter that Washington steps in whenever something sinister happens on the horizon. The arrival of the unipolar world after the fall of the Soviet Union made it even more relevant. But once the Twin Towers were grounded on 9/11 and the US found itself pitted against an invisible enemy in the form of global terrorism, the nature of the challenge changed. The US simply cannot win the war against terrorism by itself and needs a network of state actors to coordinate and since that network faces a threat to its solidarity owing to different and conflicting interests of those actors, it becomes all the more difficult to settle the war against terrorism in one's favour.
Yes, Trump could have done it in a more organised way by taking into confidence the allies and regional players but that is how Trump is and the world has to adjust to that fact.
In his Independence Day speech in 1821, then US Secretary of State John Quincy Adams said America should offer "her heart, her benedictions and her prayers. ... But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy". Almost 200 years later, the realities of the world have changed but Adams' theory still holds true. American can't afford to go on fighting others' war for ever. Let others take over now.
US should also pull out of Yemen now
The US should also ensure that it doesn't fight the war of its friends now, for example in Yemen where it is a party to the Saudi Arabia-led invading alliance. In the wake of the Jamal Khashoggi episode, Washington should refrain from backing its Middle Eastern ally to make its policy of retreat look a consistent one. The US certainly can play a global role still but in the capacity of a facilitator and not a direct party to wars and conflicts.
A probable American pull-out from Afghanistan will have even serious implications for the region but one can't take for granted the presence of Washington's troops remaining there for ever. If Afghanistan's condition worsens post American pull-out, it becomes an added responsibility for regional powers like India, Pakistan and Iran to jointly take responsibility to address the issue. An American withdrawal may be a blessing in disguise for the people of the volatile regions of the world as it may see an automatic urgency for the local players to improve their cooperation for mutual security and peace.
It's time for the world to grow up and take care of itself. The American cover of insurance is now shrinking and there is nothing wrong in it.