Fred Kaplan at Slate has a fairly decent summary of the problems facing the current U.S. administration's conduct of the legacy wars in the Middle East and southwest Asia. The tl:dr is that 1) for all his bluster about "dealmaking" Trump has no geopolitical knowledge or understanding, and 2) the flag officers that comprise his geopolitical team are deeply sunk in the sunk-cost views of those wars.
The black hole at the center of this mess is that the U.S. policy- and decision-making apparatus has been and remains exceptionally poor at analyzing strategic situations, teasing out what the U.S.'s actual "vital interests" are in them, and then formulating approaches to those situations that have a genuine potential for succeeding in advancing those vital interests.
Instead, that apparatus seems to latch onto whatever short-term enthusiasm dominates the U.S. domestic political scene. In the Middle East it started with enthusiasm for Israel in the Forties, graduated to suppression of what looked like local "Communist" impulses in the Fifties and Sixties (that led to steps like the Iran coup in 1953), then to support of local dictators like Saddam in the Seventies and Eighties to counter the "Iranian menace", then to a fixation on Saddam's Iraq in the 90's and Oughts. Since then, of course, it has been the "War on Terror" with the sort of nonsensical geopolitical decisions that a conflict based on "fighting" a tactic implies.
One thing I should note from the Kaplan piece is that when he asks "...one wonders what happened to the Donald Trump who decried the former war as a “total disaster” and bellowed over and over “It’s time to come home”—and who pledged to do nothing in the latter war but “bomb the shit out of ISIS.” Kaplan, like an unfortunately large group of other citizens, is taking the Tangerine Toddler's mouth noises seriously, which is always a mistake.
Remember, Trump remains what he always was; a real estate grifter and Ponzi schemer whose "brand" depended on distracting the rubes while he mulcted his cut out of whatever enterprise he was running into the ground. I mean, the guy went bankrupt running a fucking casino, a "business" where people give you their money. It takes a special breed of schmuck to do that.
So Trump's blather about "coming home" and those wars being "total disasters" were the distraction, simply his usual bullying towards his Democratic opponents and especially Obama and Clinton whom he loathed personally. He had no particular geopolitical conviction on the subject; he just wanted to mulct domestic political advantage by convincing the rubes he did. How could he? He barely knew enough to find the places on a map. He believed that thousands of Muslims had danced on rooftops as the Twin Towers fell. He hated and feared all foreigners outside of nice white Norwegians as he is supposed to hate and fear sharks and germs. He was, and remains, a bloviating fool.
So on the subject of Middle Eastern wars he is a toddler, being fed and diapered by the same sort of people who ran with the Bushies when they went into Iraq thinking that they could create their own reality. Trump, for all his bluster, is monstrously ignorant of the world outside his Twitter feed. His mind, as we have seen over the past year, is rutted into a handful of vindictive, white-nationalist, egotistical tracks that make it nearly impossible for him to gain the sort of knowledge, let alone the wisdom, that would allow him to climb out of those tracks and assist in remaking the U.S. foreign policy apparatus into something less shortsighted.
How can a blind man teach blind men to see?
These mess-o-potamias are not of Trump's making. But it is long past the time to abandon the idea that somehow Trump will "tell it like it is", will "shake things up".
He can no more see his way out of these disasters than a child blind since birth. In this sting he's not just the con man; he's the mark. He's conning us as he's getting conned by both his generals and his enemies. He's hustling us while he's being hustled, by the East and by his own people.
So, nope. Unless We the People stop kidding ourselves about electing these sorts of people - and by that I mean not just Trump but the sorts of people who think that fighting a "war on terror" is an actual good idea - we will remain as we are now; so, so, so, SO fucked.