Republicans still critical of Trump's Syria move despite Al-Baghdadi's death, say it's all about what makes him look good on TV
While many of Trump's loyalists were left surprised with the Syria move, Philip Zelikow, an administrative veteran, flayed the president's foreign policy saying it is all about what looks good on TV on the day.
If President Donald Trump and his team had hoped that the elimination of Islamic State (IS) chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would compensate for the debatable move of withdrawing troops from Syria, they were not bang on. Sceptics within Trump’s own Republican Party are still little convinced about the president’s hasty decision of pulling out American troops from northern Syria that saw regional allies Kurds getting exposed to an advancing Turkish military. Trump has been accused of betraying a loyal friend abroad under Turkey’s pressure and according to experts, al-Baghdadi’s death would not mean much as the Syria move would only give the retreating terror outfit an opportunity to regroup and rise.
Associated Press spoke to Sue Wehnert, a Maryland-based Republican who had voted for Trump in 2016. Though she has no regrets for having done so, the 57-year-old still cannot believe the way Trump handled the foreign affairs, including the situation in Syria. "Pulling the troops out was not part of a strategic ploy to divert attention enabling us to raid the compound (of al-Baghdadi),” Wehnert said. A number of prominent voices in the GOP expressed disappointment over Trump’s Syria policy and some among them, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, were found to align their viewpoints with those of the Trump administration later hoping that some kind of solution would be reached.
John Brandte, an attorney from New Hampshire who voted for Trump last time, buys the president’s viewpoint that the US shouldn't be the world’s police force and wanted to see American troops out of the war-ravaged Syria. But he was also surprised by the sudden decision and questioned the timing. Finding it difficult to equate the troop withdrawal with the elimination of al-Baghdadi, Brandte said: "We have the apparently abrupt troop pullout from Syria, but then we have the head bad guy being taken out, and Trump was absolutely part of it, part of the whole process."
Philip Zelikow, a registered Republican with a long career in administration between the days of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama and who also served as a deputy to former secretary of state and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and director of the 9/11 Commission, did not conform to Trump’s ways. He said he had no confidence in Trump when al-Baghdadi was alive and not when he is dead.
'It's all about what will look good on TV today'
In strong words, he said all that matters with the current president’s foreign-policy conduct is posturing. He said there is no judgment nor analysis and “simply what's the posture I need to strike on TV today that makes me look good.” He said a rudderless boat also drifts into the right path occasionally.
However, there is also another side to the story. Republicans like Jeb Bush who was a fierce opponent to Trump during the 2016 election primary, was behind the president this time. He applauded the decision to strike al-Baghdadi and other IS fighters and hoped that the US will continue to lead the fight against terror which will be a long one.
Poll finds 61 percent disapprove of Trump's foreign policy moves
A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University released on October 23 has found that while 61 percent of the registered voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of foreign policy, only 35 percent support it. Six out of 10 disapprove of the president’s decision to remove the American military support from behind the Kurds in Syria, including 86 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of Republicans. In a poll that was released on October 14, it showed that among the age group between 18 to 34 years, the disapproval of Trump's handling of foreign policy to be as high as 62 percent.
But there are still common people who back Trump for they feel the US has no business fighting what they believe is “other’s war”.