Marine Corps commandant wants service to ‘pull back’ from Middle East as Russian, Asian threats arise

The commandant of the Marine Corps said after nearly 20 years’ worth of combat fighting low intensity wars in the Middle East, his service is looking forward to refocusing on other parts of the world where new, more serious threats are emerging.

Gen. Robert Neller held a town hall forum and took questions from a handful of Marines during a brief visit to the new Marine Corps rotational force in Norway.

In addressing a question as to where he believed the USMC would be fighting in the future, Neller was clear and plainspoken.

“I think probably the focus, the intended focus is not on the Middle East,” Neller said. “The focus is more on the Pacific and Russia.”

He added, though, that often U.S. security concerns were not dictated by preference.

“The problem is, we may not be interested in the Middle East, but they seem to be fascinated with us,” he said. “And as long as there are groups there that threaten the United States, there will have to be some presence.”

The Marine who asked the question said he was eight on Sept. 11, 2001.

“If you look at the security situation in that part of the world, is it any better than it was at 9/11?” Neller said. “We’ve been there for 17 years next September. So we keep doing the same thing, getting the same result, and we’re still unhappy. Maybe we need to change something.” [source]

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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