By Eric Margolis
President Donald Trump is getting ready to plunge into the burning Mideast with all the zeal and arrogance of a medieval crusader. The new administration’s knowledge of the region is a thousand miles wide and two inches deep.
Reviving a truly terrible idea originated by know-nothing Congressional Republicans, Trump proposes US-run safe zones in Syria for refugees from that nation’s conflict. The president went out of his way to insist that such safe zones would spare the United States from having to shelter Syrian refugees.
He should better worry about Chicago where 762 citizens were murdered last year.
At the same time, Trump, declaiming from his new Mount Olympus of New York’s Trump Tower, vowed to impose a 30-day halt on immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen to ‘protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals.’
One wonders if any of Trump’s Praetorian Guard noticed that all these listed ‘terrorist’ nations have been attacked by the United States or seen their governments overthrown by Uncle Sam. I’m surprised Afghanistan and Pakistan were left off the list. Their time will likely come soon. Is it any wonder that all of these Muslim nations bear a serious grudge against the United States? The angriest group is ISIS, who are seeking revenge for the destruction of Iraq.
Former President Barack Obama shied away from direct military intervention in Syria, preferring stealthy warfare, drones and hit squads. He had the sense to know that US military intervention in the heart of the Mideast would be fraught with danger, not the least clashes between US and Russian forces. History shows it’s easy to invade into unstable areas but hard to get out.
But not so for bull in the Mideast china shop Trump as he charges into the Levant, advised by generals who made a mess in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Trump’s ardently pro-Israel cabinet must be rubbing their hands in glee as they see Syria in his cross hairs. The destruction of Syria’s regime and fragmenting that nation is an Israeli strategic priority.
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