(CNN)After Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria, pundits, politicians, foreign policy experts and fearless keyboard warriors expressed vociferous disapproval and attempted to portray this issue as a simple binary choice.
The President’s detractors on both sides of the aisle are frantically arguing that we have “abandoned” the Kurds and that without a permanent US presence in Syria ISIS will return.
These emotional arguments ignore reality on several key issues. First and foremost: the nature of our relationship with the Syrian Kurds. The US partnered with the Syrian Kurds to defeat ISIS’s territorial caliphate; the US air power controlled by skilled Special Operations Forces (SOF) saved the Kurds from being slaughtered by ISIS.
The Kurds valiantly fought against ISIS not because we showed up and convinced them to, but because they had their backs to the wall and we saved them. Our interests intersected.