The withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan is one of the most controversial issues in the contemporary history of the US. The decision concerning the troop withdrawal has raised the heat debate in the public because, on the one hand, proponents of the decision insist on benefits of the troop withdrawal in terms of saving life and health of American soldiers and saving costs on the maintenance of the US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, whereas, on the other hand, opponents of this decision argue that the troop withdrawal will undermine the situation in the Middle East and the world, increase external threats to the national interests of the US, and the rise of costs on the maintenance of the US military in the US, including soldiers, officers and their families after their withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. In spite of the heat debate, it is still obvious that, in a long-run perspective, the withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan may have a devastating financial impact on the US economy.
First of all, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan is likely to undermine stability in the Middle East region. At any rate, today, it is possible to trace the growth of the clandestine terrorist activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. The withdrawal the US troops will wreak havoc in both Iraq and Afghanistan. At this point, the US policy-makers should be aware of the geopolitical and economic significance of Afghanistan and Iraq. Iraq has a substantial potential as the supplier of oil to the US and other countries of the world. Afghanistan has a considerable impact on the political and socioeconomic situation in the Middle East.
The destabilization of the situation in either country is likely to provoke financial crisis because of skyrocketing oil prices. This trend could be clearly traced in the time of the Gulf War in 1990 and the US military operation in Iraq in the early 2000s, which carries on till now.
In case of Afghanistan, the economic effects may be not so obvious but still the withdrawal from Afghanistan will enhance the position of Iran in the Middle East and terrorist organizations in the region as well as other parts of the world. Hence, the US is likely to increase the funding of its military and law enforcement agencies to enhance the protection of the US citizens and national interests of the US. The devastating impact of terror attacks have been clearly seen since 9/11. The US troops withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan is likely to increase the risk of new terror attacks.
Moreover, as the US officers and soldiers return to the US, the government will need to increase spending on the US military because they should provide soldiers and officers and their families with residential areas and compensations, in case of retirement, as well as maintenance of soldiers and officers and their families, if they stay in service. In other words, the US will have to increase spending on the US army after the return of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, whereas soldiers and officers, who retire from the US army. Therefore, the refusal from the troop withdrawal would be reasonable and the proposal of Pentagon to “pull out only 5,000 troops this year to an aggressive plan to withdraw within 12 months all 30,000 of the additional troops that the United States deployed to Afghanistan”¯ (Landler & Cooper, 2) can be a reasonable compromise.
Glenger, V. (2011). “Obama’s Withdrawal Timing May Ease Impact of Afghanistan Troop Cutback.”¯ Bloomberg.
Hale, W. (2007). Turkey, the US and Iraq. Interlink Publishing Group.
Hamblen, J. (2003). What Are the Traumatic Stress Effects of Terrorism? New York: New Publishers.
Fisk, R. (2005). The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East. New York: Knopf.
Khalaji, M. (2006). The Last Marja: Sistani and the End of Traditional Religious Authority in Shiism. Washington, D.C.: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Landler, M. & H. Cooper. (2011). “Obama to Announce Plans for Afghan Surge Pullout.”¯ New York Times.