Trump to End Regime Changes, Focus on Fighting ISIS

Says Policy of 'Intervention and Chaos' Must End

In comments which provide the most detail yet on President-elect Trump’s foreign policy intentions, he laid out a vision of a more focused style of US military intervention abroad, insisting the focus needs to be on “defeating terrorism and destroying ISIS.”

On the other hand, Trump said the US would “stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” saying that the policy of “intervention and chaos” needs to come to an end.

Trump delivered the comments to a large crowd in Fayetteville, NC, as part of his vision for rebuilding the US military, which he said would involve not just an increase in spending, but would reduce the number of US operations overall, suggesting the US military is “depleted” in the first place “because we’re all over the place fighting in areas that we shouldn’t be fighting in.”

Trump has pledged major expansions in the military, including numbers of troops in the infantry, number of ships and number of warplanes. Military leaders have also said they expect to get significant boosts for additional weapons programs as part of the deal.

Trump has also said he intends to end the sequestration, which nominally caps the size of Congressional military spending bills. While those caps are technically still in place, Congress has been regularly subverting them with “emergency” spending bills and swelling overseas operations budgets. While ending the sequestration might simplify things, it isn’t obvious it will directly lead to spending increases.

Paying for the large increases in physical numbers of personnel and equipment could dramatically increase the bottom line, though Trump seems to be indicating a cutback on amount of places the US is fighting abroad, which could be a major savings.

This is clearly huge news, though so far it still lacks specifics, as the US has troops deployed in scores of countries around the planet, and while the president-elect indicated that number is going to be going down, it isn’t clear what countries the US forces will be leaving.

The comments are in keeping with his campaign pledges, as well as some earlier post-election comments, which indicated that, for instance, he intends to scrap efforts to impose regime change in Syria and shift US focus in that country to fighting ISIS.

But while a US military policy focused on fighting terror does seem like it reduces a lot of superfluous deployments, any hope this might mean a massive reduction in US deployments abroad may be premature, as ISIS alone is in dozens of countries, with terror groups like al-Qaeda adding to that number and leaving a large chunk of the planet which could still be a warzone in a terror-focused US policy.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • SumtingItink

    Trump shaping up the be the greatest American president in the last one hundred years. Incredibly sad to think some Americans were stupid enough to cast a vote for crooked Hillary Clinton.

    • RickR35

      I’m thinking the same.

      • John Wells

        me too

    • Ark Ark

      “the greatest president in 100 years”… i think they call that “damning someone with faint praise” :- )

  • RickR35

    Right on!

  • Bianca

    This was clear from his earlier speeches, but after his April 2016 Foreign Policy Strategy, it became rather set in stone. I was amazed how the media treated that document. All we heard was snickering comments about its “incoherence”, but never specifics. What intrigued me then was the fact that there was actually a strategy. And amazingly, the goal of foreign policy is peace. Never heard such a thing before from all our geniuses in foreign policy establishment. I was amazed at the clarity of discussion on globalization, the issues of universal human rights, and interventionism. Now, it is even more clear and defined.
    Yes, the establishment in both parties still think that this is a passing phase, and that the extended ISIS/Al-Qaeda presence in many countries will — to their relief — keep US busy around the globe. It is clear that without withdrawing from many places, there will be no money for recovering military that has too much mileage on it — both equipment and people. And, he can do it without needing anyone’s approval. It is also amazing that the ossified establishment still thinks that US is the only country with military, and the only one that should be spending money on fighting terrorism. Let others pull their weight — not in useless coalitions, but some real commitment on the ground.
    In fact, Obama’s last speech on national security is positively mourning the demise of Al-Qaeda in Syria. His theme, the right is might, not the other way around — is falling flat in the face of Aleppo. No, Mr. President Obama, when it comes to the extreme Islamic cults that have no mercy on civilians the MIGHT IS RIGHT.
    People who were held hostage by terrorists in Aleppo would agree with that. Being soft on terrorism is what got us to this place, and resulted in years of desperate displacements of millions. Russians came into Syria with the objective to beat terrorists, and Obama tried to outmaneuver them diplomatically and by threats, every step of the way. US even dragged Russia into the UN Commission on Human Rights, as if Al-Qaeda in Aleppo is a heroic opposition, being brutally attacked by a dictator and bad Putin! I do not think Trump will protect “rebels” anywhere in the world. As he put it in his foreign policy strategy, the subject of international relations is nation-state. Meaning, no doing business with armed groups, “opposition”, position parties in other countries, or secessionists in search of nation building.
    What was happening to Aleppo all these years to population kept hostages by terrorists is beyond description. Brutality, kidnapping of children, abuses of all kinds — it is all coming out. And our press is making sure they are not there. I saw France 24 attempt at choreography of interviewing people that fled. They even managed to make impression that it is government responsibility for targeting fleeing citizens from Aleppo! The globalist media is not giving up!
    Trump knows that there are many other countries that are affected by the spread of the Islamic cults on their territory. US can engage them in fighting terrorist cells — and before they have a chance to grow and cause a carnage as they did in Syria.
    I am really curious what can be done about the places like Bosnia and Kosovo where these groups have infiltrated and are staying for years with FULL knowledge of our diplomatic staff. But also, Trump can do a lot about the countries that funded, armed and provided logistics to those groups.
    This rabbit hole is deep, and it is time for someone to get to the bottom of this. Hope he does get some support in establishment, but based what I see, there is precious little support for his policy out there. McCain and his globalists are not giving up.

  • richard young

    I agree with Trump on almost nothing, but on this I completely agree: our Government’s “regime change” activities (both military and less obvious destabilization activities) are morally wrong, destructive to other peoples who have the right to determine their own destinies, and counterproductive to our own nation’s legitimate interests. As an 85-year-old Korean War veteran, I have witnessed more than a half-century of disastrous “regime change” interventions by our Government which have made a mockery of our nation’s supposed commitment to freedom and democracy around the world. It is long past time for our nation to practice what we preach. And refraining from intervention in other nations’ internal affairs is hardly “isolationism,” as our Government and media pundits would have it. Whether Trump actually changes US “regime change” activities remains to be seen; but if he actually acts upon his words, this will be the greatest and most beneficial change in US foreign policy occurring in my lifetime.

  • john g

    Bait and switch baby.

  • Greg Swann said elsewhere “‘Master Persuasion’ from @ScottAdamsSays summarized: How Incandescents hustle Sociables and the Cautious.”
    https://twitter.com/gswann/status/806153812893437952

  • Adriaan de Leeuw

    Will be interesting to see IF he will be allowed to do it! President or not the CIA and others will do it regardless! Just remember ISIS is a product of the Regime Chanvge in Syria it sprouted from Al Nusra Front which was a construct of US funding for regime change and Al Qaeda in Iraq changing its name and where it was to fight and for whom!

  • EME

    Regime change should begin at home. Start with throwing out the
    whores, prostitutes, and crooks in Congress that are in bed with
    AIPAC, MIC, Big Business, and Wall Street.

  • TellTheTruth-2

    I’ll believe it when I see it .. ie .. show me the money.

  • John Wells

    This policy is the reason I voted for Trump.

  • John Wells

    warmonger

  • John Wells

    supremo

  • John Wells

    hillary

  • John Wells

    warriors

  • John Wells

    so the word am a zon is the word that won’t post.

  • dieter heymann

    I think Mr. Ditz is wrong. Unless his policy vs. Syria has changed Mr. Trump’s statement still seems to be: ISIL first then Assad.
    With regards to the PRC and Iran, Mr. Trump proposes not regime change but a lot of dissing.

  • blutopie

    WHAT!

    No Regime Change for Iran!!!

    General Flynn and Michael Ledeen just had nervous breakdowns!

  • John,

    I have no idea why the word “Amazon” would trigger Antiwar.com’s spam filters, unless those filters assume someone is trying to sell books or something by using it. It’s certainly not something I added to the filter.

    Going the “neo_)con warm_onger sup_remo” route, on the other hand, is a good way to bring the ban hammer down on yourself.

    • John Wells

      neocon warmonger supremo – all nice words that are so descriptive of the Crook.