Josh Rogin, columnist at the Washington Post, isn’t impressed with Elizabeth Warren:
It should be obvious this week that the United States needs a president who has the foreign policy chops to speak clearly about the United States’ role in the world and has a real plan to keep our country safe. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) ascendance to pseudo-front-runner status compels us to examine if she is meeting that test — and based on her recent performance, she is failing.
“So, look, I think that we ought to get out of the Middle East. I don’t think we should have troops in the Middle East. But we have to do it the right way, the smart way,” Warren said at Tuesday’s Democratic debate. “We need to get out, but we need to do this through a negotiated solution. There is no military solution in this region.”
Realizing their candidate had made a gaffe, the Warren campaign sent out a mid-debate tweet in which “Warren” declared that we need to get our troops out of “Syria,” not the entire Middle East. Campaign spokesperson Alexis Krieg told me in an email Warren “was referring to ‘combat troops’ since we have multiple non-combat bases, in UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, etc and she did not mean those.”
The Democratic presidential aspirants more generally are struggling with their positions on the Middle East. In general they agree with President Trump’s stated objective of bringing “endless wars” to a close but they can neither bring themselves to agree with Trump nor can they identify what they’d do differently in a concrete way.
Joe Biden’s position is, apparently, to keep the endless wars endless:
In fairness, none of the Democratic candidates has clearly articulated what they would do in Syria, except for Biden. He said Tuesday he would keep the 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria, give them air support and work back to a position of defending the Kurds and using our leverage to achieve our greater goals.
The Kurds are not fools. They would be fools not to be prepared for U. S. withdrawal.
Bernie Sanders made an interesting observation to the effect that there needs to be an alternative other than endless war and total isolation. My alternative would be a tighter focus on actual U. S. security and our grand strategy and rejection of the American Empire strategy we’ve been pursuing. Characterizing the country with more trade than any other as isolation is a canard, a talking point substituting for serious policy. But engagement with the rest of the world should not be at the point of a gun.