On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted:
Trump’s tweets don’t always reflect actual policy, and in fact the government is sending mixed messages on Syria. As The New York Times reports, Trump has ordered a complete immediate withdrawal, but he’s done so in the face of resistance from the Pentagon and his own secretary of defense, James Mattis.
Trump’s military advisers have warned that a rapid withdrawal would embolden rivals such as Russia and Iran. America’s Kurdish allies in Syria have also been threatened in recent days by the Turkish government, which has warned it would attack them. A rapid withdrawal would endanger not only Syrian Kurds but also weaken America’s credibility with other local fighters in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria.
As The Daily Beast notes, the government is sending mixed messages on Syria, with the Pentagon seemingly suggesting that there has been no policy shift. In a statement, Pentagon spokesperson Rob Manning said, “At this time, we continue to work by, with and through our partners in the region.”
Pentagon spokesperson Dana White also seemed to contradict the idea that the war with ISIS has been won.
Key Republicans are also speaking out against the move. “This is chaos,” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters. He also tweeted:
Florida Senator Marco Rubio also spoke out against the move:
Withdrawing from Syria is not, on the face of it, an inherently bad or indefensible policy. But what is undeniably dangerous is the chaotic manner the policy is being executed and the mixed messages being sent to the world. The incoherence increases the chance of greater conflict, as America’s friends and rivals will see the country as a fickle and untrustworthy actor on the world stage.