While the Syrian situation is quite different than the one that Iraq was experiencing when Barack Obama decided to withdraw, the fear of a very dark future for this major conflict is not exactly unreasonable. Especially when we’re talking about a convulsive region like the Middle East where criminal elements like the Kremlin, Turkish’s imperialist ambitions, Hezbollah, and ISIS are involved. Basically, a sinister constellation that violently underscores Donald Trump’s infamous decision to withdraw the American troops from Syria.

Advertisement

Trump’s Syrian decision will reveal his real role as the world leader

Naturally, this whole situation raised more than ever some of the most repeated questions among conservative and liberal personalities regarding the president’s role as the world leader. Is Trump the man who will destroy the U.S. hegemony on the geopolitical stage and allow different superpowers like Russia and China to take its place? Is he just reshaping the world in a different way that would still let his country to lead on foreign policy?

Is Trump the isolationist president that will always play in favor of Vladimir Putin’s interests? Or he’s nothing more than an eccentric politician that will maintain America’s influence in a stronger but realistic manner? If the world wasn’t able to determine the answers to these questions, Trump’s decision on Syria would finally clarify each of them.

After all, we’re talking about his major move on foreign policy and a powerful reaction from the most respectful member of his administration. To make it even more delicate, this was a decision that Trump took by his own, going against the advice of not only Mattis but also the Pentagon.

Withdrawing the troops from Syria could set a turning point in Trump’s foreign policy

While Mattis’s resignation is definitely a red flag for those who believe the U.S. should lead on foreign policy and contain the expansion of Russia and China, it can’t be said this is the clearest proof of Trump’s suicidal stance on the geopolitical stage.

Advertisement

After all, he gave powerful positions on this matter to Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton, who are some of the most hawkish figures in Washington. In fact, the Trump administration has been way tougher against Russia in comparison with Obama’s, and tougher against the Kremlin’s ambitions overall.

However, Mattis’ resignation could also represent a turning point in this reality and reveal the absurd isolationist stance of the president. Considering the possible implications of the Syrian decision, the chance that Trump ends up creating global chaos and debilitating America’s hegemony is not exactly out of the table.

Which is definitely a big surprise considering that his performance on foreign policy has been really efficient so far.

With his decision on Syria, Trump is showing he’s decided to go against everyone in the White House when he has a really strong idea, even if this is not a good one. Logically, if he took this step and clearly played in Kremlin’s favor on what’s probably the most delicate case on foreign policy right now, he could easily do the same on many other situations. And as everyone knows, that’s exactly one of the main issues that many saw on Trump during and after the 2016 presidential elections.

Advertisement

Naturally, the next months will be decisive. And, of course, the person that the president picks to replace Mattis will be a crucial sign to know if whether the worst fears many have on Trump on foreign policy will materialize, or this is nothing more than another controversial move from a U.S. president that is experiencing one of his most chaotic weeks. It all comes to the vision of the new Secretary of Defense, and whether he would be someone with the same worldview as Trump or Mattis. Whether he believes in a strong U.S. role on foreign policy or not.