Trump seeks significant reduction of Troops in Middle East by January

In the final weeks of his first term, it appears that President Donald Trump is going to make an effort to get as close as possible to one of his military goals.

Newsmax reports that President Trump is in the process of drawing up executive orders that would withdraw a large number of American troops from the Middle East. 

The orders

Currently, America has around 4,500 to 5,000 troops in Afghanistan and more than 3,000 troops in Iraq. The president is looking to significantly reduce these numbers.

The president is going to try to withdraw around 2,500 troops from Afghanistan by mid-January. And, during that same time period, he is going to withdraw roughly 500 troops from Iraq.

President Trump has long wanted to return all troops from the Middle East. He has also wanted to put an end to the endless wars in the region that America has been part of. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though President Trump will be able to achieve these goals, at least not in this first term.

A roadblock

Part of the problem for President Trump has been that he has faced opposition to withdrawal from the Middle East from military leaders.

These individuals have expressed concern that if America just leaves the Middle East, there could be a resurgence of the terrorists. They have also suggested that there can be other potential issues as well, such as the need to remove the classified equipment and the possibility that America’s withdrawal from the Middle East could hinder peace talks.

President Trump has recently replaced some of the military leadership in the Pentagon hoping to find individuals who are more amenable to his goals. He replaced both Defense Secretary Mark Esper and James Anderson, the top official for defense policy.

Trump’s legacy

Breitbart reports that William Ruger, the president’s nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, recently suggested that President Trump could cement his legacy by either becoming the president who put an end to America’s longest war or the president who significantly reduced troops in the Middle East.

“He would be the first president since at least Reagan to not start a major new war, and he’d be the president who got us out of America’s longest war,” Ruger said. “That’s what the president should want in the first paragraph of the history of his presidency.”

“It’s not just because it’s about his legacy or about politics, but it’s good policy,” Ruger added.

The question now is how much progress President Trump, particularly with the new Pentagon leadership, will be able to make between now and Inauguration Day. We’ll see.

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