This Is Not What This Is…

Trump wants you to think letting Turkey invade Northern Syria is about U.S. taxpayers not having to foot the bill for captured ISIS fighters…

When what it’s really about abandoning the troops who fought hardest with the U.S. against ISIS. Kurdish forces were defending parts of Syria they believe they should govern if things were as they should be. Both Syria (backed by Russia) and ISIS didn’t agree. Neither does Turkey, which wants to cut its own swath into the country, partially to give it a place to relocate refugees. As we mentioned recently in our story about Trump slashing the number of refugees allowed into the U.S., Turkey right now likely has the highest percentage of refugees of any country based on percentage of overall population. Most of them refugees from ISIS in Syria. So now it wants someplace to send them back to. And because in that context, the Kurdish forces are a nuisance, Turkey’s President calls them terrorists and wants them wiped out. Now Trump apparently just gave him the green light to do just that. The Turkish government is already reporting U.S. troops are clearing out, leaving their allies the Kurds to prepare alone for Turkey’s upcoming military incursion. Trump explains himself more in detail later, in Tweets, in which he insists:

The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.

(That doesn’t make them bulletproof) And really, he also insists, the whole thing comes down to not being the “sucker” the rest of the world (especially Europe) expects the U.S. to be.

Map showing Turkey’s proximity to Syria

Never mind again, that those same Kurdish forces, fighting alongside the U.S. were crucially important to wiping out ISIS as a land-holding force.

Trump’s been wanting to say goodbye for a while, at one point even appearing to catch Turkish President Erdogan off-guard with his quick willingness to accede to Erdogan’s demands. (Which was partly, you’ll remember, why Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned).

At the same time, the U.S. is supposed to be punishing Turkey for buying a missile defense system from the Russians. There’s been a lot of hot air blown over that. But stories we found from the past few days in Turkish media indicate Turkey will be allowed to buy the F-35 fighter jets it wanted after all. Maybe just wishful thinking? But it wouldn’t surprise us, because selling more and more U.S. military equipment to virtually all comers is critical to Trump keeping the U.S. economy humming and adding jobs. Defense contractors never outsourced a lot of jobs overseas, because for security reasons they can’t, so any deal in that area adds American jobs.

Anyway, Trump isn’t likely to be hurt politically, domestically by any of these moves. But it absolutely raises the level of distrust of the U.S. as a reliable partner among our allies, which Trump doesn’t seem to care about at all. In fact, the White House “release”, which is really more of a giant talking point, preemptively blames “France, Germany, and other European nations” for any havoc that may ensue.

As a side note, it may very well help Erdogan. The authoritarian-leaning leader of Turkey, once thought to have pretty firmly ensconced himself as “President for Life” has been stumbling recently, mainly due to a horrible economy and a botched mayoral election in Istanbul in which his hand-picked candidate lost twice, after a re-do when the first result wasn’t to his liking. But a strong-arm move into Syria should help him find his footing and support. Just like Erdogan helped out by attending the dedication of the Trump Towers in the ritzy Sisli section of Istanbul (Trump didn’t develop and doesn’t own, but licensed his name, which we always feel is the biggest scam of all.)