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June 25, 2019

Chaos in Trump land: John Bolton’s Syria cleanup job

January 10, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 09: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the U.S. Capitol to attend the weekly Republican Senate policy luncheon January 09, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Imagine you’re the guy at the circus tasked with cleaning up after the elephants. Now you’ve got a decent idea of National Security Adviser John Bolton’s job ever since ringleader Trump cavalierly tweeted, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”

That was followed by a video in which Trump proclaimed that troops were “all coming back, and they’re coming back now,” and official confirmation that America would be leaving Syria within 30 days.


Not only did the barely explained rush to pull out alarm members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, but it panicked key allies in the region, including Syrian Kurds.

And triggered the resignations of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and special ISIS envoy Brett McGurk.

At which point Trump, who somehow is still considered by some to be the sort of leader who says what he means and means what he says, denied he had ever called for a speedy withdrawal.

Bolton this week rushed to Israel to declare that the U.S. wouldn’t leave until certain “objectives” were achieved.

This Editorial Board regularly assailed President Obama for sending mixed signals on foreign policy. That uncertain trumpet has been followed by a sad trombone.

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