Trump may have declared “Mission Accomplished!” on Saturday, drawing cringes from anyone old enough to remember the Iraq War, but his larger vision for Syria remains mostly unstated, much less accomplished. Sources familiar with administration planning say the president himself seems unsure of what he believes, torn between the satisfaction of bold action and fears of a Middle East quagmire—between his party’s Reaganite intervention wing and the more isolationist views of Republicans like his former confidante Steve Bannon and the libertarian Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
“We do not have a coherent strategy. We just haven’t thought through all of this,” said Jack Keane, a retired four-star Army general who remains close to U.S. military officials.
That view is shared even by some of Trump’s close foreign allies, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who reportedly had a “tense” phone call with Trump earlier this month about the president’s uncertain plans.