The U.S. envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, said Thursday that the U.S. would remain in Syria as long as Iran does. He then clarified that this does not necessarily mean U.S. forces would remain there. Jeffrey’s statement is important not only in the Syrian context but also in terms of broader U.S. strategy.
Since 1945, the United States has held to a strategy that in the event of significant challenges, it would not only be a major force but lead the way in combat. During the Cold War, when the primary adversary was a single country, the Soviet Union, this made sense. The stakes were astronomical then. The U.S. needed to make certain that the Soviets didn’t dominate all of Europe and control its economic and technical capabilities. This was the overriding conflict at the time. When the Korean War broke out, or when there was communist pressure in Southeast Asia, it was regarded as part of a global struggle that required U.S. intervention. The major resistance against a key adversa