Trump Reaction to Iraq Attacks Shows His 'Bipolar Foreign Policy,' Fox News Guest Says

Recent anti-American activity in Iraq has shone a light on President Donald Trump's "bipolar foreign policy" and will present the commander in chief with fresh challenges in 2020, according to the National Journal's Politics Editor Josh Kraushaar.

The U.S. has been tangling with Iranian-backed militias in Iraq over the past week. The current bout of violence began last week when one American civilian defense contractor was killed and four soldiers wounded in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base, believed to have been conducted by an Iranian-backed militia.

In response, the U.S. conducted airstrikes against fighters belonging to Kataib Hezbollah—an Iranian-backed Shiite militia and part of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces. Crowds supportive of the group—plus members of the organization and its allies—then responded by storming the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, prompting the evacuation of diplomatic staff there.

Speaking on Fox News on Wednesday, Kraushaar said there is a disconnect between the president's rhetoric on foreign policy and the reality. "The president certainly has campaigned and talked about getting us out of the Middle East, trying to withdraw troops, avoiding the notion of endless wars," he explained.

Kraushaar continued, "But the reality of what is happening in Iraq—where you have Iranian-backed militias attacking Americans and our interests—certainly has given the hawkish wing of the Republican Party and the president's hawkish side a little more momentum heading into the new year."

US embassy, Iraq, Donald Trump, bipolar, Iran
This photo provided by the U.S. Embassy in Iraq on December 31, 2019, shows American soldiers taking position around the embassy in the capital Baghdad, after protesters breached the outer wall of the diplomatic mission. -/US EMBASSY IN IRAQ/AFP via Getty Images/Getty

Trump campaigned on a vow to end American involvement in long-running foreign wars. But geopolitical realities have prevented the president from bringing troops home from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, even though he clearly wishes to do so.

Indeed, recent tensions with Iran have prompted Trump to commit thousands more U.S. troops to Middle East postings.

"The president sort of has a bipolar foreign policy," Kraushaar argued. "His rhetoric doesn't necessarily match what's going on the ground."

"And I think the new year is going to offer some challenges because Iran isn't going to stop attacking," he added.

"There's going to be newfound challenges, and likely new attacks, and Trump is going to have to decide how aggressively, how many more military troops are going to be positioned in the region to respond."

Iranian-backed militias—and their handlers in Iran—want American troops out of Iraq entirely. Those who stormed and vandalized the embassy this week chanted "America is the Great Satan" and "Death to America" as they did so, echoing the famous refrains of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

The U.S. dispatched 100 Marines and two Apache helicopters to the embassy to reinforce the on-site security team.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper later announced that some 750 more soldiers—drawn from an "immediate response force"—would be sent to the region "in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today."

Correction: The headline of this article has been updated to say that Josh Kraushaar is a Fox News guest. The original headline said that Kraushaar is a Fox News contributor.