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Trump's Withdrawals From Afghanistan & Syria Are Hardly "A Gift To Putin"

Authored by Stephen Cohen via The Nation,

Manichaean Cold War myopia and ludicrous Russiagate allegations have produced one of the worst periods of American “geopolitical” thinking in recent decades. Consider President Trump’s recently announced withdrawals of US forces from Syria and Afghanistan. Instead of applauding these long-overdue steps, the bipartisan US political-media establishment has denounced them as “Trump’s gifts to Putin.”

But why would Russian President Putin want to be without the United States as an ally in the fight against terrorists in these two countries, which Moscow has long regarded as its geopolitical backyard?

In Syria, where, as Putin has repeatedly warned, thousands of jihadists with Russian passports have appeared and vowed, if they take Damascus, to return to Russia and wage the same war there?

And why even more in Afghanistan, where ever since the Soviet invasion in 1979, Moscow has worried that victorious Afghan terrorists and their foreign allies - by whatever name in whatever organized form - will flow through Central Asia into Russia, along with the indigenous Afghan war-funding crop, opium poppy? (Heroin addiction, fostered by cheap Afghan opium, is already reaching epidemic

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