Eli Lake, Bloomberg: Trump Said No to Troops in Syria. His Aides Aren't So Sure.
Listening to his campaign rhetoric, the last thing you would expect Donald Trump to do as president would be to escalate a ground war in the Middle East. He won the Republican nomination last year by campaigning against both George W. Bush's war in Iraq and Barack Obama's war in Libya.
But as Trump's young presidency has shown, many of the candidate's foreign policy positions are not as firmly held as his supporters had hoped. It's not just that Trump struck the Syrian regime after last week's chemical weapons attack on rebels outside of Damascus. It's not just his recent reversals on Chinese currency manipulation and the NATO alliance. The president's biggest foreign policy surprise may be yet to come.
Senior White House and administration officials tell me Trump's national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, has been quietly pressing his colleagues to question the underlying assumptions of a draft war plan against the Islamic State that would maintain only a light U.S. ground troop presence in Syria. McMaster's critics inside the administration say he wants to send tens of thousands of ground troops to the Euphrates River Valley. His supporters insist he is only trying to facilitate a better interagency process to develop Trump's new strategy to defeat the self-described caliphate that controls territory in Iraq and Syria.
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Update #1: Trump May Send Up To 50,000 Troops To Syria (Zero Hedge)
Update #2: As ISIS fight in Syria heats up, more US troops could be needed (Nick Paton Walsh, CNN)
WNU Editor: This would be a massive mistake.