This current situation can be summed up in one word – complicated. While this definitely has a whiff of isolationism, it looks like there is a much bigger strategy behind this move. However, the current political/media focus on how President Tump’s move is abandoning US Kurdish allies to be annihilated is really a way too simplistic analysis for a very complicated situation. This is a region where there are a lot of bad guys fighting one another, and where the paradigm of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” holds true and actually is always changing as well.
Since much of the mass media and politicians are treating this as an isolationist issue, let’s just focus on that issue.
Isolationism Breeds Expansionism
The last time the United States was in a very strong mood of isolationism, this led to World War II. Of course this was not the only thing that led to World War II. The British appeasement and Soviet collusion towards the expansionist attitudes of Hitler’s Nazi regime were just as important if not greater enablers that allowed the psychotic Hitler to basically turn the world upside down. In World War II, 60-65 million people were killed – mostly non-belligerents. That number was so high because it took more than 6 years till the Nazi/Japanese/Italian regimes could be completely brought to their knees. The reason it took so long is absolutely connected to the isolationist tendencies that dominated the United States ever since the costly First World War.
Isolationist opinions are an attractive way for populists to say, “We care about America, and to the hell with the rest of the world.” This is based on the false assumption that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans serve as sufficient buffers to protect us from invasion from foreign entities. Anyone who believed this before 9/11 was wrong but had some logic to base their opinion on. After 9/11, it should be obvious to anybody that this is wrong. So why protect the Kurds? In a nutshell, because if we don’t have boots on the ground in Syria, we will haver boots on the ground in Mainland USA – foreign boots. There truly is a connection. The idea is to do battle across the continents in a way that insures lasting stability with minimum sacrifice. But let’s not make the mistake of thinking that isolationism will lead to stability.