Foreign correspondent Reese Erlich comes back on the show to discuss Syria, the deep state, and President Trump’s foreign policy so far. Erlich explains how the war in Syria has devastated the lives of the Syrian people, and that there are basically no good actors there—the U.S., Assad, Russia, and the rebels have all committed horrible atrocities. Still, lots of Syrians are glad to have Assad’s forces regain territory from the rebels, just because it means an end to the fighting. In this regard, reports of Aleppines happily “celebrating Christmas” have some truth behind them. Erlich goes on to describe an ideological split in the U.S. government: is the main enemy of the U.S. Sunni extremism, or is it Iran? Under President Obama the answer was Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and ISIS—but for Trump, and more importantly the people he surrounds himself with, it seems to be Iran. This has consequences for United States policy toward Syria, because if you see Iran as the main threat, then pulling out of Syria and allowing Assad to reassert control in the region, as Trump has shown inclinations of doing, isn’t such a bad thing.
Discussed on the show:
- “Netanyahu, Putin, and Trump — Jockeying for Power in Syria” (Common Dreams)
- “Military to Military” (London Review of Books)
- “Clinton: Arming Syrian rebels could help al Qaeda” (CBS)
- “Obama to Iran and Israel: ‘As President of the United States, I Don’t Bluff’” (The Atlantic)
Reese Erlich is a nationally syndicated columnist and the author of Inside Syria: The Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect. Erlich’s revised edition of his book The Iran Agenda will be published in 2018. In the meantime read his work at his website and follow him on Twitter.
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