America can’t escape the Middle East

The Wall Street Journal | Yaroslav Trofimov: The U.S. has sought to pull back from the region after a series of setbacks and mistakes, but a range of national interests—and the need to maintain global standing—have kept American forces on the ground

Ever since the national trauma of the war in Iraq, both winning presidential candidates have run on pledges to extricate the U.S. from costly Middle Eastern entanglements.

Barack Obama promised in 2008 to end the war in Iraq launched by President George W. Bush, and during his 2012 re-election campaign, he touted America’s withdrawal from Iraq as a striking achievement. By the time Donald Trump won the Republican nomination in 2016, Mr. Obama had been forced to send some U.S. troops back to Iraq to prevent a takeover by…

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