No matter how it appears, Trump isn't getting out of Syria and Afghanistan
Publisher: Stephen Gowans
Date Written: 23/12/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23249
Trump's plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Syria don't reflect a large change in US foreign policy. US troops are only a small part of the forces currently deployed there and they will probably be replaced with mercenaries paid for by oil monarchies.
Trump's foreign relations modus operandi have been guided consistently by the argument that US allies are failing to pull their weight and ought to contribute more to the US security architecture. Recruiting Arab allies to replace US troops in Syria and deploying mercenaries (euphemistically called security contractors) are two options that have been actively under consideration at the White House since last year. What's more, there already exists a significant ally and mercenary presence in Afghanistan and the planned withdrawal of 7,000 US troops from that country will only marginally reduce the Western military footprint....
There are currently 14,000 acknowledged US troops in Afghanistan, of whom half, or 7,000, will soon be withdrawn. But there are somewhere around 47,000 Western forces in the country, including NATO troops and mercenaries (14,000 US troops, 7,000 NATO forces, and 26,000 private soldiers). Cutting the US contribution in half will still leave 40,000 Western troops as an occupation force in Afghanistan. And the reduction in US forces can be made up easily by hiring 7,000 mercenary replacements, paid for by Persian Gulf monarchs. "The drawdown," reported The Wall Street Journal, "could pave the way for more private contractors to take over support and training roles," as outlined in the long-time campaign by Erik Prince." The Journal noted that education secretarys brother "has carried out an aggressive campaign to persuade Mr. Trump to privatize the war."