Two former Obama administration officials say President Donald Trump is right to seek an end to America’s costly overseas conflicts.
Joe Finer, who served as the chief of staff and director of policy planning at the State Department for Barack Obama and Robert Malley, who worked as a special assistant to the president, made their remarks in a column in The New York Times.
“There is no shortage of policies and decisions made by President Trump worth criticizing, but since the earliest days of his presidential campaign, he has expressed at least one belief that deserves to be encouraged, not denigrated: the desire to disentangle the United States from costly overseas conflicts,” they said.
Finer and Malley said Trump, for a time, had listened to his more hawkish “foreign policy cast” and allowed “conflicts to escalate…”
“Recently, the president’s preferences seemed to prevail, at least momentarily, as he tweeted his decision to withdraw 2,000 American troops from Syria and suggested he would do the same with as many as 7,000 from Afghanistan,” they said.
But since then, Trump and his national security team have sent out mixed signals on the withdrawal, the two noted.
“The surprise is that among the most vocal critics of President Trump’s withdrawal announcement have been not just Republican hawks but also a chorus of voices on the left,” they said.
They cautioned the planned withdrawals could ultimately have “disastrous outcomes” because of timing and lack of consultation with allies.
But done properly, “withdrawing is the right thing to do,” they added.
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