Biden suggests indefinite US military footprint in Middle East if elected president

While President Donald Trump has made it clear that he is committed to removing U.S. troops from endless engagements overseas, his rival has made this one more issue on which he stands in apparent contrast to the current administration.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden revealed in a recent interview that he would likely maintain some level of American military footprint in the Middle East and other global hotspots indefinitely if he is elected president, as reported by Breitbart.

“Still have to worry about terrorism”

The former vice president made his remarks on the matter to Stars & Stripes reporters on Thursday, citing the potential emergence of a threat in those regions as a reason for his stance.

He offered support for “drawing down the troops” from engagements in what he called “forever wars” that he is in favor of ending.

“But here’s the problem,” he continued. “We still have to worry about terrorism and [the Islamic State.]”

Biden said the situation in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria remained too complex to effectively determine whether U.S. troops could be brought back home en masse from those areas anytime soon.

His statements this week, however, came just days after the Trump administration announced progress in that very pursuit. The White House has indicated that another 2,200 troops deployed to Iraq would be coming home this month and the American footprint in Afghanistan would be cut nearly in half by November.

“Coordinate with our allies”

Plans are in place to reduce the number in Afghanistan to zero by next year if conditions permit.

Should both of those prospective drawdowns come to fruition, there would be about 3,000 troops remaining in Iraq, roughly 4,500 in Afghanistan, and about 500 in Syria.

Of course, the landscape could look much different under a Biden administration. The Democratic candidate said that he would like to keep up to 2,000 service members in a region, maintaining that “we need special ops capacity to coordinate with our allies” in those countries.

Though he would not commit to specifics regarding whether military spending would increase or decrease under his hypothetical administration, he said budget cuts were not “inevitable” and expressed an interest in making the armed forces more “inclusive.”

Even amid multiple national crises, American voters are sure to consider the two presidential candidates’ positions on U.S. military involvement overseas when making their decisions on Election Day.

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