Trump’s boneheaded move of withdrawing American troops from Syria, and abandoning our Kurdish allies to ethnic cleansing, with the consequence of incarcerated ISIS fighters going free, has now engendered the predictable reaction: Trump, after allowing this all of this to take place, has announced new sanctions on Turkey! As the New York Times reports:
Faced with a fast-unraveling situation, Mr. Trump’s policy toward the region continued to fishtail. Having essentially greenlighted the Turkish incursion a week ago, then threatening ruin to Turkey’s economy, on Monday Mr. Trump announced sanctions on Turkey, raising tariffs on steel and suspending negotiations on a $100 billion trade deal with Ankara.
And of course Syrian troops are pouring into the vacuum left by the U.S., while Turks kill and rape Kurds and ISIS fighters break out of prison, intent on further terrorism.
Syrian government forces streamed into the country’s northeast on Monday, seizing towns where they had not set foot in years and filling a vacuum opened up by President Trump’s decision to abandon the United States’ Syrian Kurdish allies.
Less than a week after Turkey launched an incursion into northern Syria with Mr. Trump’s assent, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, considered a war criminal by the United States, has benefited handsomely, striking a deal with the United States’ former allies to take the northern border and rapidly gaining territory without a fight.
In addition to Mr. al-Assad, Mr. Trump’s decision to pull American forces out of the way has also quickly redounded to the gain of Russia and Iran, as well as the Islamic State, as the retreat reconfigures battle lines and alliances in the eight-year war.
. . . Mr. Trump’s decision has turned a relatively stable corner of Syria into its most dynamic battleground. As Turkey and Syrian fighters it supports push in from the north to root out the Kurdish-led militia that was allied with the United States, Mr. al-Assad’s forces have moved in from the south, gobbling up territory.
Trump has asked Erdogan to stop the Turkish invasion, but it’s too late. And now all 28 member states of the EU have agreed to stop selling arms to Turkey, making us even more of an international black sheep than we are already. The 10.000 ISIS fighters estimated to be in Kurdish custody in Syria could not only be freed, but given to the odious al-Assad to wreak more havoc.
Trump couldn’t have made a worse decision, and hundreds of thousands will suffer for it. Will he admit that he was wrong? The request that Turkey pull back is a tacit admission of failure, but I can hear the Head Moron now, “We made a wonderful decision; we just have to ask President Erdogan (a wonderful man and a good friend) to restrain himself a little more.”
Trump has to go. Now. But I despair that even if there’s an impeachment vote in the House, the Senate will not convict. And so Trump will be able to wreak havoc for another year. (God forbid that he’s re-elected!) And there’s nothing we can do about it.