President Trump has the US in retreat. And China and Russia are racing to replace it


In a disturbing trend, America’s greatest foes are moving to take power. It’s a global game of influence, intimidation and exploitation.

Trump’s Terrible Year

President Trump is in retreat. And Russia and China are seizing the opportunity. The US Syria pullout is part of a global shift in power — with Putin building a base in the Carribean and Xi making moves on Africa.

It’s an international game of thrones.

Every move has implications and consequences.

President Trump’s abrupt decision to pull US troops out of Syria essentially cedes that battlefield to Russia and Iran.

Meanwhile, Russian long-range bombers have visited Venezuela. And that nation has just granted President Putin permission to build an island fortress on a Caribbean island.

And, after a hiatus of about six months, China has once again launched a series of provocative patrols encircling beleaguered Taiwan.

It’s the embodiment of international relations analysts fears: that renewed US isolationism is producing a power vacuum others are keen to exploit.

Here’s an overview of this global game of influence, intimidation and exploitation.


Almost a year ago, US troops killed dozens of Russian mercenaries spearheading a push by dictator Bashar al-Assad’s army to seize the oil-rich region of Khasham, east of the Euphrates River. Russia said they had crossed this agreed demarcation line to attack Islamic State. But they opened fire on a US-run facility supporting Kurdish and Syrian rebel forces.

Once the US troops pull out, the Russian mercenaries are likely to move back in — bringing the oilfields within Moscow’s control.

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Meanwhile, Turkey — with whom President Trump has just announced a $US3.5 billion weapons deal — will be left unchecked in its campaign against the ethnic Kurd population in the Syria’s north. This group, a US ally, won international acclaim in their determined resistance against Islamic State at its height. Ankorah, which represses this people in its own territory, sees their resurgent strength as a threat. Once US special forces are pulled out, Turkish troops and warplanes can attack with impunity.

And then there’s the Syrian revolutionaries who rose against dictator Assad in an effort to establish democracy. At first they were funded by the US. Then they were directly supported in their clash with Islamic State. Now pushed back into just one enclave by Russian and Iranian troops, their future looks bleak.

Meanwhile, Moscow will retain its massive airfield at Khmeimim and nearby naval facility at Tartus. From here, its warplanes and warships can project power over much of the Middle East, Israel and Eastern Mediterranean. Despite having announced its withdrawal several times in recent years, Moscow’s military presence has consistently been increased.