As expected, this decision—which harkens back to Trump’s 2016 campaign promises—has elicited a wide range of reactions, from vehement denunciation to mild approval to solid defense. Opponents of Trump’s decision have focused on its potential implications with respect to the unfinished business of fighting the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) as well as containing Iran, with many pundits branding the decision a victory for Tehran. Case in point., Ranj Alaaldin at Brookings Institution has asserted that “Withdrawing will help Iran strategically, giving it more space to pursue its long-sought land bridge linking Tehran to Beirut and the Mediterranean, for instance. Overall, the U.S. pull-out will have reverberations throughout the region, tilting the regional balance of power further in Iran’s favor.”
On the opposite side, Stephen Walt has forcefully defended the decision as “the right thing in the wrong way.” A champion of the kind of back to the past U.S. “offshore balancing” that gained prominence during the Nixon presidency, Walt feels vindicated by Trump’s decision over a country that in his opinion has little or no vital strategic value to the U.S. and is, indeed, an economic liability to the winning coalition, including Russia and Iran. Other experts are not as certain—for example, Robert Hunter has raised interesting questions as to whether or not this decision is indicative of a larger transformation in the edifice of U.S. foreign policy.
Read more: Lobe Log
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