Jul 13 2018

Graham: Trump Won't Repeat Obama's Mistakes

“President Trump Won’t Outsource American Security to Foreign Armies”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said President Trump won’t repeat President Obama’s mistakes when it comes to dealing with the situation in Syria. 

President Trump is scheduled to meet with Russian President Putin on Monday and Syria is expected to be a topic of discussion.  Graham noted several areas where he expects President Trump will take a tougher line than President Obama.

  • President Obama’s Mistaken Belief that Withdrawing American Troops would Make America Safer:  This decision, which was hailed at the time as removing the United States from the region, directly led to the rise of ISIS.  As ISIS gained power – including the establishment of its self-proclaimed ‘Caliphate’ headquartered in Raqqa, Syria – it also led to ISIS-inspired attacks in the United States and Europe. 
  • President Obama Mistakenly Trusting Russia’s Putin and Syria’s Assad:  The decision to charge Russia’s Putin and Syria’s Assad with the removal and destruction of chemical weapon stockpiles was considered an achievement that would keep the United States from a deeper engagement in the Syrian civil war.  It would also help protect civilian populations in Syria from attacks.  However, the agreement proved to be a farce as Syria did not destroy or remove all of his chemical weapons and Russia proved to be an unreliable policeman.  Assad went on to launch chemical weapon attacks on locations including Ghouta, Aleppo, Khan Shaykhun, and other locations.
  • President Obama Mistakenly Placing Trust in Iran:  President Obama came into office seeking a new, improved relationship with the Iranian regime, and history has shown that was a disastrous mistake.  Obama’s desire for a nuclear deal with Iran was so great that he allowed Iran free reign in Syria.  Iran has used billions of dollars in proceeds from the nuclear deal to increase its military might and expand its influence throughout the Middle East.  Iran and its proxy – the terrorist group Hezbollah – now are on the borders of Israel and continue to threaten our close ally.  There is now a ‘Shia-Crescent’ which stretches from Tehran to Beirut and is controlled by Iran. 

“President Obama’s Syria policy can only be described as a disaster,” said Graham.  “Time after time he trusted and placed confidence in competitors – if not outright enemies – of the United States.  And time after time it proved to be a mistake.  Decisions President Obama made – many which were applauded by some at the time – proved to be disasters as time passed. 

“Unlike President Obama, President Trump is a strong leader who realizes that America’s national security interests must come first and foremost in any U.S. policy,” said Graham.  “While Russia and Iran are pushing for the United States to withdraw, the ultimate ‘America First’ policy is to stay and keep our boots on the throats of radical Islamic groups like ISIS.

“Withdrawal of American forces gives ISIS, and other radical Islamic groups, the breathing space they desperately need to regroup, reorganize, and reconstitute,” said Graham.  “President Trump will not let them off the mat again to threaten the United States or the American homeland.

“President Trump showed decisive leadership in sending a strong American force into Syria,” continued Graham.  “Working with American allies, like the Kurds and local Syrian opposition forces, we have been successful and President Trump deserves great credit for what they have accomplished. 

“President Trump will not abandon our Kurdish and Arab allies, who were instrumental in nearly defeating ISIS, or allow them to be eventually taken over by other hostile actors within the region,” said Graham.  “They have borne the overwhelming burden of the fight, all the while helping minimize American losses.

“America’s competitors and enemies knew that President Obama was weak and indecisive,” said Graham.  “They see President Trump as steadfast.  This is a night and day difference between the two.  I don’t expect that to change.”