January 17, 2020

Sending Troops Back to the Middle East Won’t Stop Iran

By Chris Dougherty and Kaleigh Thomas

The Trump administration’s decision to kill Qassam Soleimani is the latest in an escalatory “maximum pressure” Iran strategy that is shifting American foreign policy attention and resources back toward the Middle East. That’s a problem.

Nothing for a global superpower occurs in isolation. Killing the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, while morally justifiable and emotionally satisfying to us, given his role in killing Americans, has dropped a 2,000-lb bomb into the administration’s foreign policy priorities — and the blast could hurt America’s readiness to deal with greater threats.

The Trump administration believes that the primary challenges to U.S. security and prosperity are competition and potential conflict with China and Russia. The White House’s 2018 National Security Strategy and the Pentagon’s supporting 2018 National Defense Strategy stress this and declare an intention to shift the U.S. military away from the Middle East. Reasonable people might disagree as to the president’s personal commitment to the particulars of these strategies, but he has been consistent about expressing his desire to end “forever wars” and pushing back harder against China.

Read the full article in Defense One.

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