“We learned when America retreats, chaos often follows.” This assertion was made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his recent speech in Cairo. But the remark did little to resolve the uncertainty among Washington’s friends and allies in the region. Are US troops in Syria staying or going? If staying, for how long? And if going, when?
Mr Pompeo’s speech was a broader attempt to re-set US policy in the region and to give some sort of coherence after days of mixed messages.
But taking a leaf from his boss in the White House, Mr Pompeo spent a good deal of his time castigating the Obama administration’s approach and contrasting it with the apparent progress made on Mr Trump’s watch.