Expert says US can't pull out of Middle East even if it wanted to

 February 3, 2024

Under former President Donald Trump, for the most part, the Middle East was relatively quiet.

That changed under President Joe Biden, due to a series of unfortunate -- and stupid -- decisions that have resulted in the loss of American lives and the Middle East turning into a powder keg.

In an op-ed written for The Hill, Dov S. Zakheim argued that at this point in time, the United States simply cannot leave the Middle East without major consequences.

Clearly, many would disagree with his thoughts on the matter.

Zakheim began his piece by highlighting the administration's response to the ongoing attacks on U.S. forces by Houthi terrorists and noted its response.

"While Biden promised an American response 'at a time and in a manner [of] our choosing' he did not specify the nature of that response. Admiral John Kirby, the National Security Counsel spokesperson, asserted that whatever that response might be, 'we do not seek another war. We do not seek to escalate.' He added that 'we will respond … on our schedule in our own time,'" Zakheim wrote.

It was also noted that there have been over 150 strikes against American forces since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war.

Zakheim wrote, "Yet even were the Gaza war to end today, and despite the Islamic Resistance in Iraq’s announcement that it is suspending attacks on American forces, the threat that Iran and its proxies pose to the United States and its friends in the Gulf would not disappear."

He went on to say that even if Washington leaders wanted to leave the Middle East, they would find it impossible to do so.

He wrote, "The Islamic State group is still operating in Syria and American troops continue to seek its elimination. And Iranian proxies will continue to attack American forces because Tehran seeks to dominate the region and can only do so if it expels the 'Great Satan.'"

Zakheim insisted that the United States should increase its defense spending "significantly" if it wants a shot at tamping down the Middle East threat.

"Thus, unless America is willing to cede the Middle East to Iran, Washington will have to face up to the unpleasant reality that it must increase its own defense spending significantly, and do so quickly," he wrote.

He added, "That may be difficult in today’s political climate, but the alternatives could prove far more costly were the United States to find itself combatting aggression on more than a single front and against more than a single enemy."

Former President Donald Trump and his congressional allies have a much different take, and have promised that under Trump, the Middle East crisis would be virtually non-existent.