Zakaria: Syria decision feels like Bush moment

CNN's Fareed Zakaria says President Trump's decision to remove troops from Syria feels worse than the moment former President George W. Bush announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq.

Posted: Dec 21, 2018 9:18 AM
Updated: Dec 21, 2018 9:50 AM

President Donald Trump's decision to pull the US out of Syria ends a policy whose popularity with the American public had wavered, though Americans have consistently said ISIS -- which Trump claimed was defeated in the country -- remains a threat.

In April, 39% of American voters said Trump had been handling Syria well while 49% disapproved, according to a Fox News poll, with 16% believing he'd been too tough and 31% not tough enough. By party, a big majority of his Republican base approved (71%) compared to only 34% of independents and 14% of Democrats. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans said he'd been about right on handling Syria and a quarter thought he hadn't been tough enough. A plurality of Democrats (37%) agreed that Trump should be tougher.

In the same Fox News poll, 3-in-5approved of the US using military airstrikes -- which are likely to cease due to the withdrawal -- to punish Syria for using chemical weapons. Even 45% of Democrats agreed with the practice (45% disagreed). Republicans were in total support (83%).

The support for the President's handling of Syria had drooped from April 2017, when a Fox poll taken around the time of a Trump-ordered strike on the Assad regime in response to a chemical weapons attack found 48% approved of his Syria policy.

In announcing the US withdrawal from Syria on Wednesday, Trump also declared ISIS to be defeated in the country, a statement at odds with the view of many analysts, administration officials and experts. The terror group also operates in Iraq, where the US continues to maintain forces.

The view of the US military effort against ISIS has improved since Trump took office. In October 2017, 55% told Pew Research they thought the effort was going very or fairly well, the highest number to say so since Pew began tracking the question in October 2014. In October 2016, only 31% thought it was going well.

Americans have consistently stated a belief that the terror group threatens the US.

In a CNN poll from May, 59% said that ISIS still represents a very serious threat to the US. Even though that number is a huge majority, it's the lowest number who said that ISIS is a very serious threat to the US since CNN started tracking the question in April 2015. The highest was in May 2016 after President Barack Obama deployed additional special operation forces to fight ISIS in Syria.

In a CNN poll taken in January, less than half (46%) of respondents said they thought it was likely Trump would defeat ISIS during his tenure as president, while half said they thought it was unlikely.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
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Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
Wilcox168839
Bullock151644
Perry138840
Sumter133038
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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