Hillary Clinton’s Likely Defense Secretary Wants More US Troops Fighting ISIS and Assad
I am writing in response to your piece on June 20 that fundamentally mischaracterized my views on the role U.S. forces should play in Syria. Both the headline and article erroneously suggested that I advocate sending more U.S. troops to “push President Bashar al-Assad’s forces out of southern Syria” and “remove Assad from power.” I do not.
In short, I advocate doing more to support our partners on the ground to make them more effective; I do NOT advocate putting U.S. combat troops on the ground to take territory from Assad’s forces or remove Assad from power.
Michele A. Flournoy
- Patrick Tucker is technology editor for Defense One. He’s also the author of The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move? (Current, 2014). Previously, Tucker was deputy editor for The Futurist for nine years. Tucker has written about emerging technology in Slate, The … FULL BIO
By Gareth Porter
Focusing on domestic issues, Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech sidestepped the deep concerns anti-war Democrats have about her hawkish foreign policy, which is already taking shape in the shadows, reports Gareth Porter.
BY STEPHEN M. WALT
Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.
To maintain America’s “leadership role,” the report calls for significant increases in national security spending and recommends the United States expand its military activities in three major areas: Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. It leaves open the possibility that the United States might have to do more in other places too, so its real agenda may be even more ambitious than the authors admit.
In the Middle East, the CNAS group wants to “scale up” the effort against the Islamic State, with the United States in the leading role. It also calls for a no-fly zone in Syria, and if that’s not enough, Washington “must adopt as a matter of policy, the goal of defeating Iran’s determined effort to dominate the Middle East.” The report does not explain how Persian Iran will manage to “dominate” the Arab Middle East with a defense budget that is less than 5 percent of ours, and in the face of potential opposition from Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and several other states. In fact, the only way Iran will dominate the Middle East in the near future is if the United States keeps toppling its rivals, as it did when it foolishly invaded Iraq in 2003 (a step most of the signatories of this report supported).
In short, this report calls on the United States to maintain every one of its current international commitments, double down on policies that have repeatedly failed, and take on expensive, risky, and uncertain projects in several regions at once. Some of its recommendations make sense — for example, I’d endorse some of their prescriptions regarding Asia — but the overall package is the same boundless vision of U.S. “leadership” that has guided U.S. foreign policy since the Soviet Union broke apart. And in case you haven’t noticed, that strategy has done little to make the world or the United States safer, stronger, or richer.