How can the United States draw back from endless costly foreign wars? President Trump campaigned on a promise to do just that. He presented himself as a Washington outsider who could push aside the foreign policy establishment, which has a habit of getting entrapped in Mideast quagmires.

Certainly, that policy goal remains popular across the political spectrum. There’s just one problem: Trump’s tactics could never achieve that objective. Altering American foreign policy while maintaining national security imperatives is never a matter of just pulling the plug. Ending armed conflicts actually requires a long-term strategy and disciplined execution at every step. Every action Trump has taken in the Middle East has been quite the opposite, and has made it even harder for the U.S to leave the region.

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This article was originally published by the Los Angeles Times.