President Trump has been under water in the polls when it comes to his handling of foreign policy, but public perception doesn’t always reflect reality. The truth is, the Trump administration has made far more progress in reversing the feckless “lead from behind” policies of the Obama administration than most media outlets are willing to admit. Over the last few days, Trump has enjoyed some major victories.
On Friday, The Washington Post admitted something the left-leaning paper was surely less than overjoyed to write: “Under Trump, gains against ISIS have ‘dramatically accelerated.'” According to Brett McGurk, the State Department senior envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, over the last six months, the Islamic State has lost nearly a third of the territory it held since 2014. Trump’s delegation of decision-making authority to commanders in the field — rather than in the White House as it had been under Obama — has “dramatically accelerated” gains against the Islamic State.
A few other highlights from the Post’s report:
Combined Islamic State losses in both countries since the group’s peak control in early 2015 total about 27,000 square miles of territory — 78 percent of militant holdings in Iraq and 58 percent in Syria. About 8,000 square miles have been reclaimed under Trump, McGurk said in a briefing for reporters.
He said the Islamic State has been driven out of 45 percent of Raqqa, the group’s de facto Syrian capital since the launch of an offensive by U.S.-backed local forces two months ago. U.S. and coalition airstrikes have been instrumental in the ground successes of the Syrian Democratic Forces, composed of Kurdish and Arab fighters.
Despite the tensions between the Trump administration and Putin, Russia has also agreed to “deconfliction” lines that are allowing U.S.-backed forces to beat back ISIS.
The next day, Trump received some more welcome news. On Saturday, his tough talk on North Korea triumphed, the United Nations Security Council, which includes both China and Russia, voting unanimously to impose sanctions on North Korea to the tune of some $2 billion in annual export revenue — which would be a devastating two-thirds reduction of their $3 billion in export revenues.
“The United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea. China and Russia voted with us. Very big financial impact!” tweeted Trump after the vote. “United Nations Resolution is the single largest economic sanctions package ever on North Korea. Over one billion dollars in cost to N.K.”
The White House also sent a message to both China and Russia, who were effectively strongarmed by Trump to sign on to the sanctions.
“President Donald J. Trump commends the United Nations Security Council for passing a new resolution that increases sanctions on North Korea in response to its recent ballistic missile tests,” the statement read. “The President appreciates China’s and Russia’s cooperation in securing passage of this resolution. He will continue working with allies and partners to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to end its threatening and destabilizing behavior.”
So Trump has “dramatically” accelerated the gains on ISIS and is forcing even the most recalcitrant of America’s enemies to follow his lead. Sounds like “winning.”