There's No Walking Away From Islamic Jihad by Jeff Goodson - The Hill
President Trump announced in December that we are pulling out of Syria and cutting our forces in Afghanistan by half. The statements took everyone by surprise, including at the Pentagon, and generated a tsunami of commentary. Lost in most of the rhetoric was any context about the nature of the war that the U.S. is actually fighting in those countries.
There are all kinds of wars — conventional and irregular wars, direct and proxy wars, ethnic, political, economic and religious wars. The differences between them are crucial; they drive — or should drive — how we fight them. How we engage with China over Brazil, for example, or Russia over Venezuela, is very different from how we fight Islamic jihadists in Syria, Afghanistan and the Philippines.
The United States is now engaged in two very different kinds of war. The first is an evolving cold war with Russia and China over economic and political power. It is part of the ebb and flow of great power competition, and it will endure as long as great powers vie for influence and resources. This war is playing out in a growing number of proxy countries, driven mostly by China’s new grab for geostrategic dominance…