It is good to keep promises. But it is bad – very bad – to keep promises at a time and under conditions when doing to would result in massively negative consequences.
This brings us to President Trump’s abrupt decision to shut down our military presence on Turkey’s southern border with Syria….which is where you will find the Kurdish population; our allies and Turkey’s enemies…
…and where you will now find Turkish forces, immediately taking advantage of this decision to attck Kurdish villages with air and ground power far beyond what Kurds have to defend themselves.
Yes, President Trump has spent years railing against our ongoing presence in this area and its enormous costs. But there are times when the cost of ending a bad policy far exceeds the cost of continuing that policy in some form.
What kind of hornet’s nest has Mr. Trump opened with his decision?
Here is an accurate, and disturbing, assessment from two Trump-haters at the Washington Post – Philup Rucker and Robert Costa – who, this time, have a very valid point:
The past few days have tested the bounds of Trump’s Republican support at an unusually frenzied political crossroads that has brought uncertainty for elected officials. While GOP lawmakers have been skittish about directly engaging the subject at the heart of the impeachment debate — the president’s conduct with his Ukrainian counterpart — many have felt free to loudly condemn Trump’s Syria decision, underscoring the fluidity within GOP ranks.
Consider Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), one of Trump’s most loyal defenders, whose Twitter feed has neatly illustrated this dynamic this week. In the span of 15 hours, he parroted Trump’s points by accusing House Democrats of “destroying” the Constitution with their impeachment proceedings and condemned the Trump administration for having “shamelessly abandoned” Kurdish allies. “This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS,” Graham added.
Or consider Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a member of her party’s leadership, who backed up the president last week by tweeting that the impeachment probe was “starting to seem like a political set up.” On Wednesday, she issued a scorching statement: “President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria is having sickening and predictable consequences.”
The verdict of these Republican allies is that President Trump has made a terribly bad mistake, which might have hugely negative consequences for our allies and ourselves…and has done so at a remarkably inopportune moment for his political situation as well.
I doubt I have to tell you what Democrats think about it.
Trump, for his part, is claiming he did not give Turkey any go-ahead for this military action. But what does that even mean, given that a) Turkey will do whatever it wants to regardless of Trump’s dictates and b) Turkey’s head of state, recep tayyip erdogan, has about as much regard for the West as Trump has for adam schiff?
Is there a quick about-face in our future….with President Trump then having to explain, if he can, why such a bad decision was made in the first place? Or will this decision hold – and leave us with little other than what appears to be only a remote possibility it might work out in our favor?
We’ll see. But I’m not at all confident.