The following is an excerpt from Jessica Schulberg | November 1, 2015 | Huffingtonpost.com |
For now, there will be only 50 special forces troops in Syria, limited to an advisory, non-combat role. Nonetheless, the optics of U.S. forces deployed to yet another country in the Middle East is a major blow to the president, who campaigned on winding down U.S. military adventurism.
As Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) pointed out on Friday, deploying Americans to Syria “could bring us into direct confrontation with the Russian Federation military and Syrian government forces” -- not to mention Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters who are backing Syrian President Bashar Assad.
With just over a year left in office, Obama has overseen the extension of the wars he inherited in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the expansion of U.S. military action in far-flung corners of the world. Though his promise to utilize diplomacy and multilateralism in place of bombs has yielded some success, particularly in the case of the Iran nuclear deal, Obama’s foreign policy doctrine has been overshadowed by a failure to extricate the U.S. from a state of “perpetual wartime footing,” as he pledged to do over two years ago.
“I will give our military a new mission on my first day in office: ending this war,” then-Senator Obama said in July 2008, just four months before elections.
At the end of his first term, the last of the American troops withdrew from Iraq, and at the end of 2011, Obama touted the fulfillment of a key campaign promise.
But there were early signs that the 2011 withdrawal would not be the last of America’s military presence in war-torn Iraq. The U.S. left in charge Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who oversaw a corrupt government that alienated the country’s Sunni minority.
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