Key Points

In 2013, Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the foreign-operations arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, famously said, “We’re not like the Americans. We don’t abandon our friends.” Trump, like Obama, seems committed to proving the Islamic Republic’s most dangerous commander right.

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Bradley Bowman is senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

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Eric S. Edelman is a senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He was U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 2003 to 2005 and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from 2005 to 2009.

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Trump says he wants to put an end to America’s endless wars, an idea that is popular on both sides of the aisle. What the president does not seem to understand is that we have avoided an endless war in Syria by finding allies — including Arabs and Christians, as well as Kurds — who did the hardest and bloodiest fighting. By supporting our partners with air power, intelligence, and a small contingent of troops, the U.S. military has been achieving a key victory at a very low cost in American dollars and American lives. A wiser president would take credit for this achievement instead of undermining it.

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The U.S. has a compelling interest in preventing Iran from exploiting the land bridge to threaten America’s footing in Syria, reinforce Hezbollah’s dominant position in Lebanon, preserve Tehran’s client state in Syria, and undermine the independence of Iraq’s elected government. Therefore, the U.S. should carefully monitor the newly opened border crossing to determine if it is under effective control of Tehran’s proxies. If so, Washington should pressure Baghdad to reassert control or close the border.

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Events

EVENT: Instruments of American Power: Implementing Foreign Policies and Protecting Against Global Threats

October 10, 2019 | 12:00

Projects