Lastly, Carafano pointed to the supposed Russian menace: “Putin would interpret an American withdrawal as a green light for additional Russian meddling—the type that Moscow has brought to the Syrian civil war.” However, this is just more threat inflation as Moscow never demonstrated any interest in joining the war in Yemen. The situation is not comparable to Syria, with whom Russia has long been an ally. In general, Moscow’s influence in the Middle East remains minor compared to that of Washington and so doesn’t require U.S. involvement in Yemen.
Candidate Donald Trump criticized President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, but President Trump is doubling down on Obama’s unnecessary Middle Eastern war. There is no good reason to do so on behalf of an authoritarian regime guilty of promoting Islamic radicalism. The U.S. is subordinating fundamental American interests and values to those of a royal dictatorship and entangling the U.S. in another distant, unnecessary, and unwinnable conflict. Ultimately, a political settlement is necessary, putting the interests of the Yemeni people before that of either the Saudi royals or Iranian mullahs.
Carafano argued that, “The U.S. cannot be a bystander.” But, of course the U.S. can and, in this case, it should. American policy has created chaos, spread radicalism, underwritten tyranny, and aided aggression. Washington has done all of these in tragic Yemen and has yet to learn from the Hippocratic Oath: First do no harm. The first step towards that should be President Trump choosing to end America’s disastrous meddling in Yemen.
Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.