In response to our readings this week, it is worth noting that the Obama Administration has ramped up efforts in Syria by committing troops to the region in an attempt to bolster current support to the rebels. The primary goal of this deployment is to combat the Islamic State, but comes at a curious time when Russia and Iran have increased their support to Assad. Obama claims this troop deployment is in response to the demand for American to “do something” but it really looks like a reactionary response to Russia’s increase in assistance to Assad. One cannot help but notice the timing of these events.
This troop deployment will be in the form of Spec. Ops commandos and does not have a tentative end date. This was a previous argument of the Obama Admin against President Bush’s troop deployment. The lack of an end-date could signal to the US military that there may be more troop deployments in the foreseeable future. Republicans in Congress mostly applaud the troop deployment, however, citing that it’s a day late and a dollar short. Unfortunately, a late response in Syria might not have the affect an early deployment would have. In fact, an earlier intervention by US forces could have assisted the rebels against Assad given that Russia hadn’t become involved yet. Again, the reactionary response is less than admirable.
Interesting enough, the Obama Administration has stood by a policy of “short-term retrenchment,” promising to withdrawal a number of troops from the Middle East. The current shift to expand troops deployed to the region could be seen as a quick reaction to the previously policy’s failure. The Obama Administration’s campaign of expanding the Asian focus and steering clear of entanglements in the Middle East seems to be dwindling as the end of his presidency nears. Does this prove that Obama only now understands the reason for the previous policies? Did Bush actually have it right? Without reelection looming over President Obama’s head, how many more policy shifts will the US see? Is the US fighting the Islamic State, Assad, Russia, or Iran? If the answer is all of the above, the deployment of 50 US special operations guys isn’t going to make that much of a difference. We might as well continue our “air strikes.”