Brett McGurk served as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL from Oct. 23, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2018. He was appointed to the post by former President Barack Obama, but the Donald Trump administration kept McGurk in the position until his resignation in the wake of Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria. McGurk has worked in diplomacy for the past 15 years, including a stint from October 2014 to January 2016 as deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran. He is currently a lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute.
The Daily sat down to talk to McGurk about his career and his thoughts on the Middle East in the wake of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): Could you talk a little bit about your transition from working in the government to lecturing at Stanford?
Brett McGurk (BM): I had the unique experience of serving at fairly senior levels with President Bush, Obama and then two years of President Trump — three very different presidents. I resigned from the Trump administration at the end of last year following his decision to abruptly abandon Syria, which was very contrary to what our established policy was.
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