FILE – In this July 17, 2017 file photo, Smoke rises from a coalition airstrike which attacked an Islamic State position, on the front line on the western side of Raqqa, northeast Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

On Saturday evening, Donald Trump received a grave warning from The Washington Post in the form of an editorial.

That in and of itself isn’t surprising – newspapers write editorials urging people in power of doing this or that all the time. What is surprising, however, is that the Post is warning the President to not repeat the mistakes of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

In an editorial headlined Trump shouldn’t repeat Obama’s mistake in Iraq and Syria, the Post tells Trump not to abandon key allies in the Middle East, which is far and away the biggest failure of the Obama Administration’s policies in that region.

Mr. Trump may believe he can extract the United States from Iraq and Syria without harming strategic interests. If so, he is repeating the mistake of President Barack Obama. A failure by the United States to defend its allies or promote new political arrangements for the two Arab states will lead only to more war, the rise of new terrorist threats and, ultimately, the necessity of more U.S. intervention.

For a media outlet that does have a noticeable leftward trend to admit that Obama made a mistake in this region is a pretty big deal in and of itself. Obama’s policies in the Middle East were a complete and utter failure from start to finish, and he did little other than embolden terrorists and hostile regimes to take a public and violent stand against the United States and its interests.

The Post is correct in not only labeling this a failure on Obama’s part, but identifying that, as of right now, Trump does not seem poised to reverse those policies. The editorial points out that Russia and its allies, Iran and Syria, are taking advantage of the instability, seizing oil fields and prime territory as the fight against ISIS continues.

The U.S.-backed forces appear to be on the chopping block, as it appears the Trump administration wants to get rid of U.S. entanglement in the region. Letting Russia extend its influence in the region? Letting Iran gain a lot more influence in the region? That is the exact opposite of what the U.S. should want, but it appears we’re letting that happen.

There is another, even more surprising excerpt I want to draw your attention to…

Left out of this emerging new order is Israel, whose strong objections to what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls Iran’s incipient “military entrenchment” in Syria have been brushed aside by Russia. Israel recently stepped up its own military action to stop an Iranian buildup, bombing sites deep inside Syria. Yet while Mr. Trump’s disavowal of the Iranian nuclear accord pleased Mr. Netanyahu, there is no sign of U.S. intent to arrest the more imminent Iranian threat to Israel in Syria.

 

…because that is the first time I can remember a major media outlet urging a U.S. president to fight for and protect Israel. Which is something we should totally be doing, by the way.

Trump definitely needs to take this to heart and make some changes to his Middle East policy. It doesn’t matter how much he wants to be Putin’s friend. The fact is that Russia gaining influence in the region is bad for U.S. interests, and it needs to be countered.