October 25, 2019

Europe can’t fill the U.S. void in Syria

Source: The Washington Post

Journalist: Siobhán O'Grady

“I thought that the United States and Turkey were in NATO, and then I discovered by tweet that the U.S. had decided to withdraw its troops and pave the way [for Turkey to launch its offensive] in the area,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters in Brussels last week. “Like everyone else, I realized that another NATO power had decided to attack partners of the coalition fighting [the] Islamic State.”

Trump had frightened European allies with his threats to withdraw from Syria before, announcing last winter that the Islamic State had been defeated and that U.S. troops would soon leave. That time, his own team was also deeply rattled. Multiple high-ranking officials, including then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, resigned shortly after his announcement. Trump later backtracked, saying U.S. troops would stay until they could ensure the Kurdish forces who led the fight against the Islamic State were safe and that the terrorist group was completely gone.

Read the full story and more in The Washington Post.


  • Jim Townsend

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    James Joye Townsend Jr. is an adjunct senior fellow in the CNAS Transatlantic Security Program. After eight years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for European ...