When a reporter asks President Trump about a Russian jet that was shot down over Syria, he made sure to clarify what the main interest of the USA is in the theater of Syria. The goal is to wipe out or weaken ISIS as much as possible. Why? Keep the threat out of the USA and turn them into a non-threat for the Middle East.
Presidential Priorities in the Middle East
What is the US doing in the Middle East? Should the main US goal be to ensure the safety and security of the State of Israel? Perhaps the US should spend most of it’s time focusing inward and not on foreign policy? These are questions that are more than a century old. There is a strong history to the isolationist tendencies in the United States. In World War I, this attitude was dominant and it largely kept the United States out of the main spheres of battle. In World War II, it took years until the United States reached the conclusion that they MUST get involved or else, the German Nazis under Hitler would potentially take over much of the developed world.
War against Communism
Even after World War II, and the defeat of Naziism, the USA under the leadership of Truman and Marshall, carried out a cold war against the spread of Communism. The key aspect to this battle was containment. The idea was to keep communism from spreading far beyond it’s already significant reach. Two large-scale wars were based on this principle – Korea and Vietnam. The wars may have succeeded in containing the spread of communism, but the cost in US lives was enormous.
A Change in Focus
This strengthened already latent tendencies toward isolationism. In the late 80’s, when the Berlin Wall came down between East and West Germany – the figurative border between West and East, the end of the Cold War was clearly at hand. It seemed as if Western values had won out over communist values and the USA would be able to focus inward more and less on foreign policy. The President-elect in 1992 was a Governor with little foreign policy experience – Bill Clinton. That didn’t seem like a major drawback then. He was seen as a better steward of positive economic growth and inward focus was the main focus of the US populace.
Inflection Point of 9/11
A mere 9 years after the Clinton election, the 9/11 attack on America changed everything. Yes – everything. It opened up the eyes of anyone willing to not cover their eyes, that there is a clear and present danger from the militant wing of the Islamic movement. The entire free world is in their scopes – just like the Communist movement and Nazi movement beforehand. Not all Communists and Germans were dangerous, but the ones that mattered, the dominant ones, strived to take over the world. It is the same thing with the modern-day Islamic movement. Donald Trump understood this before he was elected. Now, he has proven adept at keeping his eye on the ball. The key is to reign in the dangerous branches of the Islamic movement that threaten the entire world.
The Entire Free World
So, yes, Israel is important as a beacon of democracy in a sea of tyranny. But, the main reason Israel is so important for the United States and the free world is because it stands on the frontlines. It stands up and right next to the greatest threats that threaten the entire free world. This is the critical point. If the dangerous branches of Islamic culture could, they would kill millions of Americans and Europeans just as the Nazis killed millions of Jews and Communists in World War II. Their leaders say it loud and clear – this is not mere speculation.
For now, President Trump seems to understand well what the main interest of the United States ought to be in the Syria theatre. We need to reign in the Islamic threat and eradicate as much of it as possible.