Turkey Ignores Trump’s “Unmatched Wisdom”
Turkey Ignores Trump’s “Unmatched Wisdom”
In news that surprises nobody but Trump, the primarily Kurdish SDF in northern Syria are being attacked by Turkey. If only Trump had advisors who could offer insight into the importance of supporting allies…. Oh wait, he “fired” Mattis for telling him the drawdown was a terrible idea. Good thing Trump sent out a Twitter warning to Turkey. I’m sure they will listen….Meanwhile, prepare for the ISIS fighters to escape prison and wreak havoc.
“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”
~Donald Trump, POTUS 10/07/19 via Twitter
At what point will your great, and unmatched, wisdom allow you to admit this is a bad idea? Will it be after Turkey annihilates the SDF, and any collateral civilians in the border towns? Maybe when the ISIS prisoners are running free because their guards are now forced to defend their towns and families? Perhaps it will be when one of the thousands of prisoners kills over 3,000 people and yet again changes the American landscape? Is your statement, “Well, they’re going to be escaping to Europe”, a legitimate rationale in your brain? We have allies in Europe. We also have these things called airplanes. You may have heard of them…? They fly into NYC, and Washington DC daily. Europe at risk, is America at risk. Our security is tied, our economies are intertwined.
Mr. President, you done messed up. Your predecessor never should have gotten the US into Syria, but you should have recognized that relocating the remaining small forces put a target on the SDF. US administrations have an abysmal history of supporting the goals of bad regimes in the Middle East. Unfortunately, your “great wisdom” led you down the same path as your predecessor. What should have been an opportunity to negotiate a resolution between two opposing US allies, instead became a green light for the regional Goliath to attack David. From the NYT,
“Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” the White House said in a statement released just before 11 p.m. in Washington. “The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area.”
Sir, you can pound your chest and boast about how you got the US out of the Syrian swamp, but at what cost? And how far down the road are we going to suffer from the fallout?
A steadfast opponent to the original US forces drawback, former SecDef James Mattis, resigned after it was announced last year that the US troops were leaving Syria.
My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in the issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conductive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solitary of our alliances.”
Resignation, SecDef James Mattis
If one of the most respected military leaders, with decades of experience in the combat theater, suggests that something is a bad idea… He’s probably well founded in his assertion. A wise leader exercises a bit of intellectual curiosity, and seeks knowledge in dissenting opinion. The wise leader doesn’t dismiss the dissenter, and mar his reputation. Let me rephrase, a wise leader would not do that…. a petty leader, capricious in action and bereft of character absolutely does this.
The Jerusalem Post states it best,
Never before in history has the US worked with a group and then opened the skies to have another US ally bomb and destroy it. On October 9, the Syrian Democratic Forces, a group of mostly Kurdish fighters who fought ISIS for five years and helped create a peaceful and stable area in northeast Syria, were bombed and bombarded by Turkey as US forces withdrew and watched.”
Alliances are hard to forge and, for some, easy to break. Undermining this alliance may garner you temporary political gains at home, but it’s at a cost to our reputation with allies across the world. We need allies, Mr. President. China, Russia, Iran, ISIS, etc all relish our demise. Their reasons and methods are diverse, but we cannot hold them off without allies. You want security from insane Islamists, help the people with skin in the game who are focused on eradicating them. Alliances are necessary for securing our position. Breaking those bonds weakens our reputation with future allies.
Tweets like this certainly don’t encourage future alliances. Note the date. This tweet makes it look like the SDF was set up as an easy target.
But Erdogan's threats are aimed to change the security mechanism into a mechanism of death, displace our people & change the stable & secure region into a zone of conflict and permanent war.
— Coordination & Military Ops Center – SDF (@cmoc_sdf) October 7, 2019
You both will forever be remembered for breaking up the “Beatles”! Sadly, her action has greater impact and consequence than yours. Though your Tweet implies otherwise. BTW, Sir, it’s not “Beetles”…. those are insects. Though I suspect you will play off the mistake as intentional when it’s pointed out…
“In case the Kurds or Turkey lose control, the United States has already taken the 2 ISIS militants tied to beheadings in Syria, known as the Beetles, out of that country and into a secure location controlled by the U.S. They are the worst of the worst!”
Worst of the worst… You mean the others are bad too? Then why are we abandoning the ally who is maintaining the jail? Worse, we are abandoning them to a country without a plan to secure these “worst” people. At least that’s what the Lead IG reported to congress this year,
The Kurds, part of the U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces, control facilities holding about 11,000 ISIS detainees across northern Syria. They also run a camp for internally displaced persons known as al-Hol, in northeastern Syria, that holds nearly 70,000 people. Among them are thousands of ISIS family members”
From the Washington Examiner,
“I think it’s nearly impossible for an orderly transfer of these ISIS detention facilities from the SDF to Turkey,” Aykan Erdemir, a former Turkish lawmaker told the Washington Examiner. “Some of these detention centers are deep south, so it wouldn’t be possible for Turkish forces to reach there. Second, the more the fighting between SDF and Turkish troops and proxies intensifies, the less these detention facilities will be a priority for either of the actors involved.”
Last December I took some heat for a post I wrote about the initial withdrawal, and potential complications. I cited Defense One, and other legitimate “think tank” policy wonk sources. None of the information we have today is particularly new or surprising. Mr. President, please put down your smart phone, holding the device doesn’t impart intelligence. Pull your thumbs off Twitter and out of your ass. Read a threat analysis. If you don’t want to read, hire a voice actor to record a “brief on tape”! Trust me, they make everything sound interesting.
Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons License: Public Domain Image Cropped: 400×400