A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article titled “Trump’s Foreign Policy: What exactly are his goals in the Middle East?” which raised questions as to what approaches Donald Trump would take towards the Middle East.
As known from the White House yesterday, the United States dropped the most powerful, non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on an ISIS stronghold in Afghanistan. The bombing, which was described as a “tactical move” by the United States military, killed 36 ISIS members and destroyed several underground tunnels.
The bombing yesterday joins the United States’ airstrikes on Syria last week as another major military operation in the Middle East. There are also numerous reports that a misfired US airstrike killed 18 Syrian rebels early Thursday morning.
These military actions in the Middle East mark a drastic foreign policy change for Donald Trump. Trump, who during the campaign season aggressively advocated for an “America First” policy, has recently overseen some of the most aggressive military action taken by the United States towards the Middle East in the past few years.
From the looks of it, Trump will look to be much more involved militarily in the region than his predecessor, Barack Obama. Trump blasted the former President last week, blaming the severity of the Syrian conflict on the Obama administration. Trump was critical of Obama’s “red-line” speech, citing that it was a “blank threat”, and that it caused America to lose a lot of ground globally.
Interestingly enough, old tweets surfaced from the current President that showed that he was against military action in Syria, back when the first chemical attacks occurred in Syria in 2013.
Trump’s new foreign policy stance has been drawing questions, even from his supporters. While the majority of Americans do believe military action must be taken to combat ISIS, many are also hesitant of getting bogged down in a large conflict in the region due to the possibility of high casualties and heavy economic consequences. The current crisis in Syria eerily resembles the situation Iraq was in under the Bush administration, and Americans have made it clear that they do not want another type of Iraq War.
As for the conflict in Afghanistan, the decision to use the MOAB was apparently agreed upon once fighting in the country intensified between the Afghan-US allies and ISIS. While the war in Afghanistan has become less notorious over the past several years, largely due to other crisis in the Middle East emerging, it is still a country in which the U.S. is involved in counter-terrorism operations. The recent spread of ISIS to Afghanistan has caused an escalation in fighting, with ISIS setting up numerous underground camps and tunnels in the country.