(RepublicanInformer.com)- There is growing concern that the United States’ decision to pull troops out of the Middle East will result in other world powers exerting their influence over the region.
Recently, Frank McKenzie, a Marine general who serves as the commander of the U.S. Central Command, believes China and Russia will look to expand the influence they have in the Middle East as the U.S. departs.
He told reporters:
“The Middle East writ broadly is an area of intense competition between the great powers. And I think that as we adjust our posture in the region, Russia and China will be looking very closely to see if a vacuum opens that they can exploit.
“I think they see the United States shifting posture to look at other parts of the world, and they sense there may be an opportunity there.”
In April, President Joe Biden announced that he ordered that all United States troops be withdrawn from Afghanistan. The full withdrawal is expected to be finished by September 11, which marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
Just last week, the Pentagon said that 20% of the withdrawal has been finished so far. While former President Donald Trump began the drawn down of troops from the region, he didn’t completely abandon the Middle East, as it seems apparent that Biden will do.
McKenzie said he recently met with officials from Saudi Arabia. They believe that an area that China and Russia could look to exploit with America gone is ramping up their arms sales.
The general said Russia would sell its air defense systems to any country. China also apparently has goals to establish some military bases in the Middle East as well.
The Associated Press reported that the Biden administration is primarily focusing on China’s influence expanding in the East Asian region as the main concern for the U.S. from a security standpoint. However, McKenzie and other military leaders believe that China doesn’t just have influence in that region.
As he told reporters:
“I agree completely that China needs to be the pacing threat we orient on. At the same time, we are a global power and we need to have a global outlook. And that means that you have the ability to consider the globe as a whole.”
Biden hasn’t had the support of every Democrat in his decision to fully withdrawal troops from the Middle East. In fact, Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State and failed presidential candidate, said there could be “huge consequences” to fully withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.
She said she’s afraid of the Taliban moving to take complete power in the region again. She added: “There will also be, I fear, a huge refugee outflow.”
An April poll conducted by Hill-HarrisX found that a majority of Americans supported the full withdraw of troops from Afghanistan. But, there are many in D.C. who are worried that bringing troops home now will result in tensions in future years that could send them right back.