President Donald Trump needs to understand that the war in Syria is "not a traditional war," and that some troops need to remain to support local fighters, warning that what happens in other countries affects the United States eventually, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass said Thursday.
"The world isn't Las Vegas," Haass told CNN's "New Day."
"Things don't stay there. Things come here."
Trump also needs to accept that the war in Syria is not a traditional war, "because this kind of war doesn't have a beginning, middle, end. It just continues as long as the terrorists want to apply their trade."
"This haste for clarity, for completion, is totally inconsistent with the nature of the enemy we're fighting," said Haass, warning that isolating the United States from the world is dangerous.
Trump has "two fundamental views about the world," said Haass, in that he thinks the United States is disadvantaged by trade, and that he thinks the costs of the country's involvement in the world outweighs the benefits."
"This is his whole view of American history," said Haass. "He said, what have we gotten for this. If only we did less abroad, America could have been great. This is at the core of his philosophy."
However, the United States has been gravely affected by things that happened in places like the most remote sections of Afghanistan.
Further, by announcing he'll be pulling troops from Syria, Trump has taken the United States "out of the competition" to shape the Middle Eastern country's future, said Haass.
"Essentially, he sent a message that the United States is not there to stay," and that will leave Russia, Turkey, and Iran to "essentially decide the future of this country."
The United States may have to return to the region, as groups such as ISIS or al Qaida find a way to reconstitute themselves, Haass said, and he doesn't know why it's "that tough a pill to swallow" to keep some troops in Syria. If troops are pulled, he warned, "we will be back under far worse circumstances."
He said he considers it a "bridge too far" if the United States keeps troops in places like Syria if it's done in hopes of turning such countries into democracies, but there is a need to keep limited numbers of troops "in several countries around the world," including Syria and Afghanistan, for deterrence and counterterrorism purposes.
ISIS has been dramatically weakened, he conceded, but "they're not a traditional army. They feed off discontent, radicalism. They will reform. We saw it in Iran, we have seen it here, we have seen it in Afghanistan."
Haass also commented on the possibility that the United States could enter into a trade war with China, warning that that could pose serious risks.
"It's easier to begin wars than it is to end them, much less chart their course," Haass said.
The United States does need serious trade talks with China, though, he admitted.
"It's a fair critique to say that China has gamed the system, has stolen intellectual property, has demanded property transfers as a condition of access," he said.
"They still have tariffs in place that are far higher than ours on them, so it's not reciprocal. There's legitimate grounds for pressing against China. What's not smart I would argue, is kicking off a trade war."
However, it's also Trump's style to start negotiations "with a controversial boom," as he thinks it sets the stage for compromise by the other side.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.