Trump does the dumbest thing ever

Well, it’s hard to pick the dumbest thing Trump ever did, but pulling US troops out of the way to allow the Turks to kill Kurds has got to be up there at the top. There is NOTHING about this reprehensible act that is good. Some consequences:

1.) Kurds, our allies in the fight against ISIS, are getting killed in droves. I have heard that Kurdish women are being raped, though I don’t know if it’s by Turkish soldiers.

2.) Erdogan, an odious authoritarian, is empowered.

3.) ISIS prisoners are escaping en masse.

4.) The US Army doesn’t like it but has been ordered to stand down or even leave.

5.) Even some Republicans think that Trump has screwed up big time with this one. (I suppose that’s good, as it erodes his support, as does #6.)

6.) I don’t know if there are any polls, but the American people probably oppose this—or would if they had it explained to them.

7.) Our European allies are not only opposing this, rightly, but both France and Germany have just suspended sales of arms to Turkey. We should do the same.

I’m sure we’ll get our allies back when Trump is out of office (and the sooner the better), but in the meantime good people are getting slaughtered, injured, and raped, and Turkey is engaged in ethnic cleansing.

Is there any rationale for what Trump did? I can’t see any. This makes me about as mad as anything he’s done, and I’m going to write my representative and both Senators when I finish this post. Not that Congress can do anything, but having a narcissistic moron as Command in Chief guarantees stuff like this will happen.

I’m blowing off steam here, and I doubt that many readers will disagree with me, but if you do (or agree) vent below.

It’s time for Trump to say “enough” to Turkey. Then he should resign.

168 Comments

  1. Posted October 13, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Somebody, or somebodies[?], has something on the Vulgarian.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      It could be. One thing that Jerry hasn’t included in his list is that this is good for Russia. It may be that Putin has been pressuring Trump to pull out of Syria. Trump has tried to get out once already, and it was Republicans that made that impossible. It’s the reason James Mattis resigned, remember?

      Now the few adults that were in the room have gone. It’s up to Senate Republicans to stand up to Trump here, and they have shown time and time again that they don’t have the courage to do that.

      So Putin gets his way, and there is yet more evidence that Putin has Kompromat.

      • Posted October 13, 2019 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        Agreed.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        Years from now people will wonder about all this. What you’re describing is like the plot of a sci-fi novel or film.

      • Posted October 13, 2019 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        That was my very first thought when d’Rump announced the pulling out of U.S. troops. I totally agree with you.

        I see ‘the Chosen One’ lurching, flailing and thrashing about, much like a fish caught on a hook. Sadly, many lives are being ruined while he acts out his states of panic and madness.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted October 15, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        It is obvious. So obvious that one might think that Mr Putin thinks his Trump bounty is over, will not last after 2020, and throws in his trump cards (I can’t help, that’s how they’re called) now. I expect some more blatantly Putin-guided actions forced on Mr Trump before impeachment (or November 2020).

    • chrism
      Posted October 14, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      I’m glad I’m not the only one to reach this conclusion. It’s a decision that makes no sense for America or for what the west hopes to achieve in Syria. On the other hand, it’s good for Russia in the short term, and also in the long term when America’s ability to make allies and to be trusted are damaged, not to mention the disruption to NATO when a member state goes rogue.
      I can find only one small consolation in all this. Just as Enigma-derived intelligence was used sparingly so as to not expose the fact we had it, one would expect Putin not to make Trump do anything so crazy as to reveal that he is pulling Trump’s strings. Well, he just did exactly that, and that must mean he thinks his puppet is nearing the end of his usefulness. A consummation devoutly to be wished, as they say in Elsinore.

  2. Mike Anderson
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I think this is the military blunder of the century (worse than the Iraq invasion and post-invasion mismanagement). It is a humanitarian disaster + ISIS reinvigoration + long-term degradation of our ability to build alliances.

    I don’t think trust in U.S. promises will return when Trump leaves office because potential allies can’t be sure another Trumpian backstabber won’t acquire the presidency in the future.

    • Gordon Anderson
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Business as usual. Recall the 1991 events in Iraq and I note one news source gives eight previous examples of the Kurds being betrayed by the US in the last 100 years.

    • Posted October 13, 2019 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

      Dumbest comment by far. The Iraq intervention destabilized the whole region and can be seen as the root cause for many negative developments in that region.

      By the way, the US is well-known for being an unreliable/uncompromising towards its allies with the exception of Israel and the UK; they rarely do anything that is not immediately to their advantage.

      Trumps maneuver is certainly stupid but it is nothing compared to Bush’s Iraq or Obama’s Syria. The intervention to topple Assad gave us Europeans the immigration crisis. And it is this immigration crisis that allows Erdogan to exert power of Europe by controlling the immigration influx.

      On the one hand I hope that the US withdraws peu a peu from the Middle East so that Russian and Chinese influence takes hold there. At least their foreign policy is guided by realpolitik not by some misguided dreams of bringing democracy and other liberal crack pot ideas of the likes of Samantha Power. On the other hand, the US has an obligation to sacrifice American lives overseas for the rebuilding of countries that they needlessly destroyed.

      • Posted October 14, 2019 at 4:18 am | Permalink

        Have you read the Roolz? We don’t insult other readers by saying “dumbest comment so far”. Now apologize for that or you’ll never post here again.

        • Posted October 14, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

          True that. My choice of words was inappropriate and for that I apologise. I should have said that the statement I criticised does not withstand scrutiny when compared even superficially to the facts. In general, I suspect that a lot of Americans care more about meaningless gestures than substance when it comes to the actions of their presidents. Talking foreign policy only, Trump is not only far better than his reputation and Obama’s conversely far worse, I venture that so far Trump is easily besting the standards that his two predecessors set.

          Trump’s action towards the Kurds are shortsighted and display a lack for loyalty, but where was the moral outrage when the US turned Syria into shit? Was it because Obama appeared so erudite and nice?

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted October 14, 2019 at 4:53 am | Permalink

        A German supporter of the far-right AFD party; interesting resume there frege. How utterly unsurprising that you would support Trump.

        • Posted October 14, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

          Lol, Saul, reading the NYT or Spiegel is not a good guide to European politics just as the NYT is not a good guide to American politics. Please do not spout sound bites about German politics if you know nothing about it. And if you could read German properly, you would have gathered that my blog posts about the AfD are not entirely positive. You would not have said the same thing about the CDU twenty years ago, although this party was pretty much the same thing as the AfD is now, including the personal. Interestingly, quite a lot of the same people you and me hold in disdain for their antisemitic views held high positions in the CDU.

          Interestingly, a solid case can be made that the AfD is all in all to the left of the Democrats: In favour of a generous wellfare state, no military interventions, especially not those that solely serve the purposes. To smear them as far-right is as sound as calling Democrats cultural Marxists.

          Now there is indeed an alarming number of antisemites in the AfD but that does not mean that other parties actually funding terrorists constitute an alternative. Furthermore, the AfD is the only party in Germany at least pretending to care about the threat of Islamisation, something I care about.

          As for Trump. I know liberals get angry but for us Europeans Trump has been better. He blocked the TTP trade agreement, and he is a dove compared to much of the Washington establishment. I don’t care that Trump is unrefined and not particularly intelligent. As opposed to his predecessor who took the advice of Clinton to needlessly attack Syria, Trump was wise enough to involve the Russians in that matter. The biggest crisis facing Europe is a result of both the Iraq war and the Syrian intervention.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted October 14, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            “As for Trump. I know liberals get angry but for us Europeans Trump has been better.”

            I am a European, and no, he has not. Not in any way at all.

            Of course if you’re anti-immigration, and a fan of right-wing populism, and you like the cathartic sensation of tribal politics, then you’ll rationalise everything Trump’s done.

            You’ll downplay or dismiss all the damage he’s done to the political systems of various European countries, including my own, and the rancid influence he’s had on the tenor of European politics(never mind the contribution he’s made to the recrudescence of extremist white identity politics, eg. the recent killings in Halle).

            It’s called ‘Trumpsplaining’ and it only works on idiots who already believe Trump is essentially infallible.

            • Posted October 14, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

              Lol again, unfortunately I am a bit skeptic about the influence Trump is having on the political systems in Europe. His influence is a marker, a symbol that things are changing. He neither had any influence on the elections of Orban, the referendum in your country (if you do not believe that the future can influence the past) nor the election of the AfD in Germany. To reiterate, he is a symbol not a cause. Your fear of him strikes me as irrational if you attribute so much power to him. He is not the president of any European country. If you are not happy with certain results of European elections try blaming Europeans. And for my taste “Trumpsplaining” bears too much an resemblance to “mansplaining” or “Islamophobia”, both of them are crude mischaracerisations of the real phenomena.

              Where do you get your news from? Apart from the fact that he was an antisemite nothing is clear about the political leanings of the Halle murderer. The trope that Jewish billionaires are all in cahoots for their agenda is not something that signifies only right-wing antisemites.

              Did you know that in Berlin only two days before Halle a Syrian “refugee” attacked a Jew with a knife screaming “Allahu Akbar” or that an Arab threw stones at an Israeli woman? You won’t read much about that in shit papers like Spiegel, especially not after this most recent attack by an autochthonous German. But it gets better, the knife attacker immediately walked. Given the fact that the indeed far left Berlin Senate tolerates the immensely antisemitic Al-Quds demonstration that takes place in Berlin every year, one could come to the conclusion that more than just obliviousness is at work here.

              I appreciate your interest in German politics but if you don’t know the language and cannot read it, you are bound to rely on selected translations. You are better off to stay silent on these matters if you rely on one or two heavily politicised outlets. I would not dare to comment on British politics if I only read some German articles about it. The inaccuracies one inadvertently accepts are so obvious even if you have only one other British outlet to compare to.

              Sorry, I don’t know what to say as you obviously did not read my comment you replied to. I am not a big fan of Trump but he is not that bad when compared to the low standards of American foreign policy. Please do not respond to me anymore, if your reply consists only of what you think I said instead of what I actually said.

              • Posted October 14, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

                Stop chastising the readers for not knowing as much as you claim you do. It’s impolite and arrogant. You can have civil discourse, or you can write like you did. And please make your comments shorter.

                If you make one more claim that another reader should “stay silent”, I’ll ban you.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted October 14, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

                It’s not up to you whether I reply or not. If I think you’re distorting things I’ll say so.

                And if your skin is so thin that you react like this after a couple of straightforward comments then that really is your problem not mine.

              • rickflick
                Posted October 14, 2019 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

                These attitudes are quite consistent with the absence of culture and humanity of much of the internet. Not enough scientific objectivity. Something from which WEIT has given us refuge. Who needs the stress?

      • Posted October 14, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        I agree with you with one big exception. Once we’ve put ourselves in this situation you describe so well, isn’t abandoning the Kurds still a bad move? Unwinding all our bad moves in the ME is not an option. Protecting an ally was until last week.

        • Posted October 14, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          I agree. It is a bad move, especially when viewed through a moral lense. And I suspect that it is also bad realpolitik. I just think that the inevitable blunders of American foreign policy are not as pronounced with Trump as so many claim, certainly not from a German point of view.

        • Posted October 14, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

          By the way, Trump’s decision to ditch the Kurds could have massive repercussions for Europe if Europeans try to exert pressure on Erdogan. Erdogan could walk away from the immigration deal he made with the EU, thereby exacerbating our immigration crisis.

          • Posted October 14, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

            The latest news this morning is that we’re pulling our nukes out of Turkey. This makes it even more important to find out what kind of “deal” Trump has just made with Erdogan.

            • GBJames
              Posted October 14, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

              It is, no doubt, a deal suggested by Vladimir.

            • Posted October 17, 2019 at 5:43 am | Permalink

              Looks like Trumo is really really trying to one up his predecessors. He has the potential to fuck things up even more. Goes to show that big empires always destroy themselves. Not looking forward to a Chinese dominated world but somehow their system of inner-party cabals and intrigues manages to get better politicians into power, and not just since Trump. The US needs to change its political system, abandon the two-party oligopoly, open the door for more political participation of non-billionaires and get rid of identity politics. No more hyphenated identities, no more months devoted entirely to the history of a minority, no more positive discrimination but strict meritocracy and more direct democracy.
              In 20 years Japan and the far East will have closer ties to Beijing than to Washington and the Chinese will have influence all over the world without waging one hot war.

              • Posted October 17, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

                All empires end. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of the US “empire”.

                I doubt we will have the ability to move to a multi-party system. Although the US Constitution is fairly flexible as such things go, every empire has its ossified parts that it can’t seem to escape.

                Looking at it more practically, how could we move away from a two-party system? We’ve had 3rd-party presidential runs in the past but even if one succeeded, it would likely be an anomaly rather than the start of a trend.

              • Posted October 17, 2019 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

                Therein lies the problem. You vote for a president not a party. If you had a system that allowed small parties to consistently partake in the legislative process, say, by electing a parliament, it would broaden the political discourse and allow for more nuanced positions. I do not fancy the Republicans as such, but they are at least entertaining the thought that unmitigated mass immigration is not beneficial. I for one take demographics and therefore immigration of utmost importance. Everything else dwindles in comparison. But I am also very sympathetic to a welfare state and free college tuition (although access to college should be based on strict cognitive measures, too many people go to university. But there won’t be any of it, if mass immigration continues and since the consensus inside the Democratic party is that curtailing immigration comes close to fascism…
                Same reason why I have some sympathy for the German AfD.

              • Posted October 17, 2019 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

                I live in an area with lots of immigrants and don’t see it as a problem like you do. Dems aren’t for “unmitigated mass immigration” anyway, so that’s a big fat red herring. The GOP had lots of opportunities in the last two decades to do something about immigration and they chose not too mostly because they bent the knee toward the xenophobic elements of their base.

                Sure, some Dem candidates say crazy things about immigration but that’s not policy that is going to be passed anytime soon and they know it. They are position themselves with primary voters.

                When it comes to supporting reasonable legislation and action, the Dems will do the right thing. I hope the GOP helps but I won’t hold my breath. Trump has got them seeing taco trucks at every corner and being very, very afraid.

              • Posted October 18, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

                Agree with you that the GOP is equally culpable regarding immigration. In fact, Obama did more to deport illegal immigrants than Bush before him. As opposed to Democrats, the unwillingness on part of the Republicans to do something has a more sinister cause: They just like the cheap labour. At least with some Democrats one can believe that they do not want to close the borders because of a misguided belief that it would better the situation and help the country.

                As for immigration in general, I am in favour of “slow and low”. Slow enough that assimilition can take place, no ghettoisation is possible. And I would differentiate between certain types of immigrant. East Asian immigrants? No problem, even if they have no formal education. Somali or Muslim immigrants? If at all, very few at a time.

              • Posted October 18, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

                “As for immigration in general, I am in favour of “slow and low”.”

                That is a good start for a discussion on how to deal with immigration. We might disagree on the ideal immigration rate but we could resolve that by a simple average. When the two sides get to this point, it is just a matter of negotiation and compromise.

                As you say, some politicians aren’t motivated to find a real solution. Trump certainly isn’t. He doesn’t care that his wall will be ineffective.

  3. merilee
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Just got this from The Atlantic:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/11/military-officers-trump/598360/

    Well the Kurds didn’t help us at Normandy…🙀 The guy is unbelievably stupid and vile.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      Good Atlantic article Merilee, tyvm

  4. dogugotw
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    JC: …Dumbest thing ever.

    Trump: Here…Hold my beer.

  5. GBJames
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    The tRump horror show continues. Please, Congress, do your job and rid the nation of this man!

  6. Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Everything that Trump does is dumb since he doesn’t even know how to be the president of a country……should have stayed a business men instead of pursuing this since he is not really “making america great again” instead of causing people to be extremely racist with each other.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      For what it’s worth, Trump was utterly useless as a businessman too. The only times he ‘succeeded’ at anything was when he conned people.

      cr

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Reality TV character is his forte.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        I wonder if his corrupt leanings was learned from his dad, or he developed it on his own.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 13, 2019 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

          Probably a little if both.

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted October 13, 2019 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

            Don’t forget Roy Cohn!

            And don’t forget to see the new documentary, “Where’s My Roy Cohn,” which should be in theaters now or coming real soon. A must-see.

            “Where’s my Roy Cohn” should really be on a double bill with “Get me Roger Stone” — and they rhyme aurally, too.

            • rickflick
              Posted October 13, 2019 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

              So much pleasantness. I can hardly breath.

          • loren russell
            Posted October 13, 2019 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

            More from Roy Cohn than from his father, by most accounts.

            • rickflick
              Posted October 13, 2019 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

              I’m kind of glad to think that. Try to imagine a saintly Donald Trump. It’s not easy is it?

  7. Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    It is detestable and short-sighted to forsake an ally who fought alongside us. Let’s see how well Trump can find allies the next time he needs them. As for Normandy, Trump would have said “Britain, you’re on your own. Oh, and if you win we’ll talk about a great free trade deal.”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      What, you don’t remember that, when Churchill called Roosevelt about the Lend-Lease Program, FDR stopped him and said, “First you do me a favor by digging up some dirt on Wendell Willkie”?

  8. Jenny Haniver
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Your list and more; here are just two:

    1) The Washington Post reports that US Special Forces troops were “deliberately bracketed” by Turkish troops not attacked by mistake as is being widely reported. What will Trump do about this? Didn’t he threaten hellfire and brimstone if Erdogan attacked our troops — the ones that are pulling out so he can have free reign for rapine and slaughter?

    2) Kurds may be the main target but I read (mainly in Christian news websites) that Erdogan’s troops have already started attacking Christians and other minorities in Syria. Trump also threatened to unleash hellfire and brimstone if Erdogan didn’t protect Christians. Kill the Kurds, okay, not the Christians.

    He’s full of BS as usual and is issuing this hollow threat about protecting Christians to appease his Christian base.

    What’s he going to do about either of these violations that he threatened swift retribution for? I say nothing. Head down, butt up.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Re PCC(E)’s point 3.), Richard Painter https://twitter.com/RWPUSA/status/1183414792024928256 has this to say,

      “Trump Tower Istanbul is raking in the emoluments, so why worry about a few ISIS fighters on the loose? And who needs the Kurds anyway?”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Trump said he’s going to impose economic sanctions on Turkey, maybe. And if that doesn’t work, a stern talking to is sure to follow.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, If Erdogan won’t behave, Trump’s gonna start talking turkey.

        • merilee
          Posted October 14, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

          You’re on a roll, Jenny🤓

      • merilee
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

        Then the comfy chairs…

  9. mike cracraft
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    This could be a backdoor gift to Putin who will move Russia’s influence in the middle east even further.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Every otherwise-inexplicable international move Trump makes can be explained by that old French phrase “cherchez la femme the Putin.”

      This move with Turkey strengthens the hand of Putin’s butt-buddy Bashar al-Assad. And the lunatic-fringe fever-swamp “Crowdstrike” theory Trump was pursuing in his dealings with Ukrainian president Zelensky is all about casting doubt on Russia’s interference in our 2016 election so that the crippling economic sanctions against Russia can be lifted.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        En français it’s “cherchez la Poutine.”

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 13, 2019 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

          As long as it’s not a canard. 🦆

        • merilee
          Posted October 13, 2019 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

          😂

        • Posted October 14, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

          My schoolboy (Canadian) French tells me that’s “Look for the chips with cheese & gravy”. Oh, I see!

  10. Rhett Rothberg
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Free your mind, professor… (Please listen to the below. It’s short. Might not change your mind, but some additional context never hurts).

    PS – isn’t it interesting how the far left has become increasingly pro war and puritanical? What’s that all about?

    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-tom-woods-show/id716825890?i=1000452939999

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      PS – isn’t it interesting how the far left has become increasingly pro war and puritanical? What’s that all about?

      Americans are disgusted that Trump greenlighted this new war.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Trump green-lighted this massacre by pulling out 50 US Special Forces advisers. Meanwhile, he’s committed thousands of US troops to Saudi Arabia to look after the interests of MBS and the royal family.

        • Mike Anderson
          Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          All Trump had to do was tell Erdogan, “no, you can’t go into that territory” to avert this disaster.

        • Harrison
          Posted October 14, 2019 at 4:26 am | Permalink

          Yeah, I was hoping someone would mention that.

          Gotta love all the concern trolling libertarian boobs who defended Trump’s actions of removing a few dozen troops from Syria only to go completely silent when 48 hours later Trump’s announcing that we are now the Saud’s mercenary force.

          They pay cash, y’know.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Tom Woods: Paleocatholic, paleoconservative, paleolibertarian, paleolithic, anarcho-capatilist. The dude has gone full-bore paleo with a slather of anarcho.

        • Murali
          Posted October 13, 2019 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

          Never heard of the chap, but you make him sound like a museum exhibit.

  11. stuartcoyle
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    PCC asks “Is there any rationale for what Trump did?”. The most obvious one that I can see is called Trump Tower Istanbul. Trump has partnerships with Turkish billionaires and he has shown his desire to emulate the authoritarian style of his pal Ergodan.

    • Joe Dickinson
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I think the second thing (affinity for autocrats) may be even more important than the first (greed). Dare one hope that this is the low that will inspire Republicans in Congress to find a backbone?

      • Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        I’ve been hoping that for so long now. Perhaps this will change some voters’ minds though.

        Apparently the Kurds, out of necessity, are already turning to Syria, and therefore to Russia, for help.

      • Posted October 13, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Maybe on the Republicans. I have been thinking they would notice he is enabling a war crime, but I’m so mad I am not sure if I can think straight about it.

        Besides the motivation of gifting Erdogan and Putin, to his monetary gain, I suppose Trump thinks that he is fulfilling his promise to get us out of the perpetual war business in the Middle East. Another motivation is that by giving us this big distraction we are paying less attention to the Ukraine matter. He does have a pattern of doing that sort of thing.

  12. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I am past ranting about this excuse for a president in this country. Every republican in congress should be made to pay for this mess and we had better get him out soon or there will be nothing left to save. Ashamed to be an American, we all should be. Just because you didn’t vote for him does not let you off the hook. If all you ever did for the country was vote, obviously it was not enough. That there are still people in the country who would not impeach him and his VP, well, they are just in denial. Pelosi and crew need to get on with articles of impeachment and stop screwing around waiting on some right moment. Turkey should be ejected from NATO now. To hell with sanctions kick them out as well. They can get into bed with Russia and Trump and rot.

  13. Bob
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    RE PCCE’s comment: “Is there any rationale for what Trump did? I can’t see any.”

    Five reasons for The Drump’s action come to mind, without giving it much thought:

    1. The Drumph admires Erdogan as the idiot dictator that the Drumph aspires to be.

    2. There are hotels in Turkey with The Drumph’s name on them, and The Drumph wants to do more deals in Turkey.

    3. This action serves Putin’s ambitions, as it creates more chaos in the region.

    4. The Russians and the Saudis have documents, photographs and video to compel The Drumph to do whatever they want him to do.

    5. The Drumph is pure evil and this fits the profile of a pathological evil-doer.

    • Jon Gallant
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Let me suggest #6. The American alliance with the Syrian Kurds was forged in 2014-15, during the defense of Kobani against the Islamic State, under the administration of Barack Obama. Drumph displays a manic obsession to blow up everything connected with Obama’s administration. [This psychiatric factor does not, of course, exclude the other 5 listed motivations.]

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        That seems to be Trump’s only motivation for withdrawing from the multinational nuclear agreement with Iran. There was no good reason to do so inasmuch as (whatever one might think of the merits of that agreement) Iran was in compliance with it, and all its other signatories (including some of our staunchest allies) were in favor of maintaining it. Much worse, Trump had no plan at all for going forward after withdrawing. Plus, by doing so, he empowered the Iranian hardliners who had warned at the time the agreement was forged that the US couldn’t be trusted to abide by it.

        This calamity with Turkey and the Kurds has taken attention off it for the time being, but the situation between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US is still a disaster waiting to unfold.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Good point.

        Drumph has already managed to destroy almost every shred of international goodwill that Obama ever managed to forge. It may take a long time for the US to recover. Even if ‘the world’ cautiously trusts whichever-president-follows-tRump, can they trust the American voters not to follow that person with yet another raving backstabbing lunatic?

        cr

  14. Kevin
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Idiocy seems to be catching. Our own esteemed? Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, is Trump’s lapdog and seems to be infected with Trump Fleas.

    • tjeales
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Morrison is in many ways worse because with him it seems intentional whereas Trump honestly doesn’t seem to know any better. Of course Morrison has very little power worldwide so it’s really only us he’s hurting.

      • Kevin
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

        You are right but I would posit that Morrison’s support of Trump reflects very badly worldwide on our reliability, sense of social justice, and the calibre of our leaders.

  15. JezGrove
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    And now the USA’s former Kurdish ally is having to rely on Syria and Russia for support against Turkey. Great move by Trump…

  16. Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I’d say that this extraordinary betrayal of an ally and capitulation before a vastly inferior military is not in the US’s interests, but maybe it is.

    Maybe we just need to realise that the US has re-evaluated its interests and decided that an alliance with Russia, a free pass to Turkey, and surrender of vast swathes of the Middle East to Iran is what the US now wants.

    The US just holds and represents very different values from the rest of the democratic world. At least that is becoming clearer now.

  17. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    It is sadly ironic that US as a superpower did not go out with a bang but with a wimp.

    Erdogan, an odious authoritarian is empowered.

    That is yesterday’s news, now he has gone full dictatorial: imprisoning dissenters and possibly killing other party leaders. Turkish troupes may have killed Havrin Khalaf, traveling in Syria, from a pro-Kurdish party [ https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-turkey-kurdish-deaths-civilians-female-politician-hevrin-khalaf-future-syria-party-a9153796.html ].

  18. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I’ve grown tired of saying it (even to myself), but every day Donald Trump does something (and, most days, several somethings) that, had they been done by Barack Obama, would have had Republicans screaming for his impeachment, and that would have been the lead story for the squawkers on Fox News every night for the next millennium. (Even just boning Stormy Daniels at a Lake Tahoe golf outing while Michelle was home nursing one of their daughters, for one thing, especially if he’d’ve then had some thug from Chicago pay her hush money on the eve of his election).

    But this thing of cutting-and-running on our loyal allies the Kurds and giving Erdoğan the green light to massacre them — this thing is beyond the pale. Hell, the Republicans are still pissing’n’moaning about the damnable sins of Obama’s ephemeral Syrian “red line” and his hot-mic comment to Russian president Medvedev about having “more flexibility” after the 2012 election. Imagine how they’d’ve reacted had this happened on his watch.

    • Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Had Obama done a fraction of the despicable things Trump has done, they’d have impeached and convicted him, perhaps with Democrat help. The Republicans have lost all semblance of decent conservatism.

  19. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I had to laugh at Fareed Zakaria. Big announcement on his show this morning, he is finally in favor of impeachment. That’s great sir, but where have you been for the past 18 months or so? Are you so conservative in your TV position that you need the building to fall on you before you do something. Just a gutless announcement.

    • Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      Hey, the more the merrier.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted October 14, 2019 at 4:47 am | Permalink

      Yes, that was annoying. So Zakaria agrees that the guy’s a lunatic and needs to go? Well whoop-dy-doo. How long did that take him to figure out?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 14, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        It’s at least an indication that one possible prediction is coming true – people more come on board with impeachment as more and more abandon their loyalty to Trump. Rats leaving a sinking ship.

        • rickflick
          Posted October 14, 2019 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          I hope you’re right. But polls show no change in public support for tRump. Only support for an inquiry is up.

      • Posted October 14, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        That’s an unfair characterization of Zakaria’s position. He has been against Trump’s policies since before the election. He has been against impeachment for reasons similar to those of Pelosi, Biden, and many others: that it would be divisive and, assuming it failed in the Senate, it might help Trump’s reelection. Perhaps you can say his opinion doesn’t matter but that would be just nastiness.

        • merilee
          Posted October 14, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          +1
          I have a lot of respect for both Pelosi’s and Zakaria’s opinions.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted October 14, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          Pelosi, Biden, et al are a different matter; they’re Democratic politicians who have to take into account the minutiae of electoral politics and whether the impeachment argument is strong enough to warrant jeopardising the 2020 election by stirring up Trump’s base, etc. There are a huge number of pragmatic questions that need facing if you’re a politician working to actually get this guy out of office.

          OTOH, if you’re a media anchor(and you’re going to come out and talk about whether you support impeachment) then the motivation needn’t be as pragmatic as Pelosi and Biden et al. Zakaria isn’t spinning a thousand electoral plates like Democrats are: he’s on TV, he can afford to say what he thinks from a purely moral standpoint, watching Trump behave this way day in day out. In that case it surprises me that it took him this long to come out in favour of it.

          I also like Zakaria. I agree with him on most things and I think he’s extremely intelligent. But I think this was an underwhelming revelation.

          • Posted October 14, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

            I think you are trying to split a hair that can’t be split. My own opinion as to whether the Dems should seek impeachment is based on the same kind of considerations that likely concern Pelosi. I suspect the same for Zakaria. I certainly don’t answer the question as if it was “If you could personally force Trump from office, would you at this point?”

  20. Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    This is the act of a traitor, both to our allies and all US citizens. The actions of a madman whose insanity is ignored by his supporters!

  21. Historian
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Trump has destroyed the belief by its allies that the United States can be trusted. This helps Russia. I wonder if Trump decided to withdraw the troops after consultation with Putin. But, alas, Republican politicians are afraid to buck him in any meaningful way and his cult doesn’t care. The latter only cares that he nurses their grievances; they are totally oblivious to the world he is bequeathing to their children and grandchildren.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      …they [the cult] are totally oblivious to the world he is bequeathing to their children and grandchildren.

      The cult are totally oblivious to the world they inhabit here and now. How can a populace in such a delusional state imagine the fate of their offspring? They can’t, so they don’t.

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted October 14, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        “How can a populace in such a delusional state imagine the fate of their offspring?”

        Well, they go to Unreality School every week, where they learn that they and their children will live forever with Jesus and his pet T-Rex.

  22. Rick Bannister
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Another incredibly dumb Trump action that I just learned about from David Brin is that he is pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty.

    http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2019/10/space-marvels-and-possibilities.html

    Whatever Putin wants he gets.

  23. rickflick
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    All I can say it, this tRump behavior is consistent. It makes you wonder how so many folks could have voted for a known ass.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      What makes me wonder more is how the fuck do millions of Americans still worship this wreck of a human being? I can somewhat forgive the voters back then, but those who still support him? No way. And last I checked, my folks are in that camp. Makes me nauseous.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Perplexing to say the least. It has to be partly that they committed to him and are afraid to say they were wrong. The initial vote in 2016 must have a lot to do with the level of the public’s ignorance of tRump. They probably just thought of him as an entertaining reality show guy. They probably know nothing about his business career and personal life.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        It worked for Hitler.

        One of the less attractive streaks of the human psyche is a respect for ‘authority’, which is confused with a respect for ‘strong leadership’. Which translates into, the bigger and more aggressive an asshole some maniac is, the more some people adulate him.

        I suspect it requires a certain level of IQ to distinguish between aggression and principled strength, but maybe that’s just me being elitist.

        cr

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted October 14, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          “I suspect it requires a certain level of IQ to distinguish between aggression and principled strength, but maybe that’s just me being elitist.”

          Yes, you should know by now – it’s ‘elitist’ to be humane and morally decent.

          Ghandi; an elitist NPC cuck. Martin Luther King: politically-correct globalist. Jesus Christ: Epstein-affiliated socialist SJW. Clark Kent: faggy antifa beta-male. Etc.

  24. Lee
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    The Constitution carefully defined “treason” so that only giving aid and comfort to an officially declared enemy of the US would qualify. Congress would have to declare war with Turkey, or Russia, before Trump could be tried on treason.

    In retrospect this seems unfortunate, as all Trump does seems most aptly described as giving help and comfort to foreign dictators in return for money and help undermining US elections. A traitor in deed, if not under the law.

  25. Martin Levin
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    This is heart-breaking. The Kurds took the lead in ending (for now) the ISIS “caliphate”, losing 12,000 fighters, many of them women in the process. They are largely Muslim, but open and tolerant, have been a very reliable and courageous ally. And the US has done nothing but betray them, beginning with the first Gulf War. To the vast litany of Trump’s character flaws and malfeasances, now add: co-conspirator in mass murder.

    • dallos
      Posted October 14, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      “It is not generally discussed in the US press, but the Kurds Erdogan is attacking are organized by the Democratic Union Party, which upholds the ideology of Brooklyn leftist anarchist and environmentalist, Murray Bookchin.These Kurds are in the main Sunni Muslims by heritage, but have adopted a secular, collectivist form of post-communist socialism.”

      https://www.juancole.com/2019/10/ethnicity-political-secular.html

  26. Posted October 13, 2019 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I think you missed the worst thing in your list since what this (and several actions of Trump) is telling allies and potential allies is that we can’t be trusted. Although to be fair Kissinger threw the Kurds under the bus back in 1975 and we’ve done this before to them and many others.

  27. Posted October 13, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    I think many high-ranking Republicans that are not Senators are coming out against this move. Trump is going to pay a price for it. My guess is that it will be reflected in the polls after everyone has time to see the full ramifications of it.

    We really need to know what was said on Trump’s call with Erdogan as Trump’s decision came very soon after. None of the insiders have any idea what motivated Trump to make this move (or aren’t saying). Trump got something in return and we need to know what it was.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      We all need to see what is hidden on his top-secret, special-Trump-telephone-conversation-with-dictators server. I’m sure everyone who wanted Hilary’s email sever revealed will feel the same. Oh wait, there’s that damned double-standard…and the corruption of those who are also guilty. Wasn’t it Chomsky who recently said that the Republican party is no longer a political party, it’s a mafiaesque criminal enterprise? Whoever said it, I can’t disagree.

  28. Posted October 13, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    My operating assumption is that Trump is dumb like a fox. He has some deep depraved reason for everything he does. This one stumps me a bit. I don’t buy the Ankara Trump hotel explanation because right now Trump has one thing on his mind. Avoiding impeachment and getting re-elected. But how does this abject betrayal of allies and American values do that? Still stumped. One thought—he plans on campaigning on getting the US out of endless wars.

    • Posted October 14, 2019 at 3:26 am | Permalink

      I think it’s just personal weakness — Erdogan has a stronger personality than Trump and has everything to gain, where for Trump nothing at all is at stake (or was at stake — he now realises that it was bad PR move, but apart from that nothing).

      The media always forgets that Trump doesn’t understand that the position he occupies actually gives him more power than Erdogan. For Trump, he’s just talking to a friend who he knows he wants something from (but has probably forgotten exactly what), and his cool friend who has great ideas told him everything would be fine if he’d just move those troops from here to there.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 14, 2019 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        I’d agree with that analysis.

        tRump might have more power than Erdogan, but in order for power to be used effectively it has to be directed intelligently. Otherwise it’s like putting a three-year-old at the controls of a bulldozer.

        cr

        • rickflick
          Posted October 14, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

          like putting a three-year-old at the controls of a bulldozer.

          I hope whoever wins the Democratic nomination uses that line.

  29. Bruce Cochrane
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Two comments. First, Jerry, I am not as optimistic as you that we will get our allies back once Trump is gone. He has done so much to violate their trust that I don’t think even the best intentioned successor can restore it quickly. Second, a point David Frum (former Bush speechwriter and ardent never-Trumper) raised – what are Trump’s business dealings with Turkey? Could it be that he has a financial relationship with Turkey that is behind all of this? We need the tax returns. But bottom line – this betrayal of allies depresses me beyond belief.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Donald Trump has the most complex foreign financial entanglements of any president in US history. And we US citizens have the least information about his finances of any president in US history. He is also the only modern president to refuse to place his financial holdings in a blind trust while serving in office.

      Which is to say, we have no idea regarding what may be his real and present personal and financial international conflicts of interest. What we do know is that Trump is a stone-cold narcissist who is incapable of putting any interests ahead of his own.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        “Trump is a stone-cold narcissist who is incapable of putting any interests ahead of his own.”

        It’s unfortunate that that isn’t against the law. I think one step to take is to make all presidential candidates provide back tax filings available to public scrutiny. I’m expecting that will happen in the next congress.

  30. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I hope everyone here has read the opening statement that former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch released from her testimony before a closed-door session of the congressional intelligence committees on Friday.

    I expect it will find its way to take a place, alongside other great speeches from American history, into the next edition of the Norton Anthology of American Political Thought. it’s what an American patriot — one who has spent her life in the US Foreign Service, under six US presidents (four of them Republicans) — sounds like, an increasing rarity in this, the Age of Trump.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the link Ken. I’ve read and heard excerpts, but hadn’t read the entire statement. Her testimony is beyond damning. No wonder Trump et. al. tried to block her from speaking; and now that I understand her integrity, no wonder she ignored the traitorous bullies. So far, she is one of a handful of heroes in this Constitutional crisis; I believe as more people come forward, more people will come forward…is that considered some kind of positive political feed-back loop? (Positive for those who care about Democracy, I mean.)

    • Steve Gerrard
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      That statement, besides being a great summation of what the State Department is all about, is yet more education for me about the significance of Ukraine. Three weeks ago I knew next to nothing about the country. Now I see it as a lynchpin.

      Also maybe she should run for president sometime.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes, indeed. tRump has the headlines every day, but thousands of professionals are still working in the trenches to keep civilization together.

        • Mark R.
          Posted October 14, 2019 at 12:44 am | Permalink

          I think I’m happy he was a comedian, right? If anyone can handle strange bullshit, a comedian can. Or so it seems to me.

    • merilee
      Posted October 14, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Ken. Finally had time to read the whole statement (from that woman). Very impressive.

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted October 14, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        So sad that the sitting president, by contrast, is incapable of stringing even a few coherent sentences together. Part of me wishes the democrats would nominate a prosecutor, who would then dominate any presidential debates by aggressively attacking Trump. I believe he would come unglued in the face of a sustained, go for the throat attack. Bully = coward.

        • Posted October 14, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          The only prosecutor is Harris, right? I don’t think she has what it takes. Her poll numbers are trending downwards so she’s not likely going to be the nominee. I would think a comedian would do the best against Trump. I’m thinking Al Franken or Eddie Murphy.

          • Mike Anderson
            Posted October 14, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

            Klobuchar was a prosecutor.

            • rickflick
              Posted October 14, 2019 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

              Here’s Klobuchar. A decent candidate, I think.

              • Nicolaas Stempels
                Posted October 15, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

                I think Ms Klobuchar is an outstanding candidate. She would wipe the floor with Mr Trump.
                But then the most likely candidate at present, Ms Warren, probably would too.
                Ms Klobuchar came over as quite reasonable, charismatic and lovable in this interview. I’d vote for her any day.

              • Mike Anderson
                Posted October 15, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

                Yes, Klobuchar is a fine candidate, but as a moderate Dem, she’s overshadowed by the more famous Joe Biden. I think Biden needs to stumble in order for Klobuchar to have a chance.

              • rickflick
                Posted October 15, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

                It is said by pundits (whoever they are) that she seems to lack a rational for wanting to be president. FWIW.

        • merilee
          Posted October 14, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          Stringing a few sentences together?? Try a few words…🙀

        • rickflick
          Posted October 14, 2019 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

          Excellent idea. Several are prosecutors, I believe.

  31. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ll say what I said when Trump got elected. When you treat your allies badly, they stop being your allies and the whole world goes it alone. At the same time, your enemies become emboldened and now they have easy pickings since everyone is in their own. The world becomes more unsafe.

    I mentioned this on FB and Americans told me, cynically, that other countries haven’t been able to trust the US for years. As a Canadian, and therefore the closest outsider to the US, I respectfully disagree. The US has never, until now, suggested that Canada could be an enemy of the US. We were always the biggest supporters, fighting next to one another in many wars. Our borders are undefended and were pretty open until recently. The US is a NATO leader, and I really wonder, will they honour their NATO obligations if Russia occupies the Canadian north or incurs into Europe? Or will the rest of NATO need to go it alone? And do you think any countries will cut a deal with the US again after the Iran deal, carefully negotiated by several western nations, fell apart because of the US?

    • Posted October 13, 2019 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. I remember when Trump crapped on Canada, all of a sudden Canada was worse than Russia for the morons who support Trump. I thought, WTF, everything I thought was constant is no more. Scary.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      … I really wonder, will they honour their NATO obligations if Russia occupies the Canadian north or incurs into Europe?

      I think there is now much well-merited concern among our NATO allies in the Baltic states (and elsewhere, such as Montenegro) — upon whom yond Vladimir Putin is casting a lean and hungry look — about the Trump administration’s willingness to come to their defense by honoring the mutual-assistance obligations of NATO’s Article 5.

      If those nations have any sense, and if they’ve been watching what’s gone on with Ukraine, they’re busy digging up dirt on Trump’s political enemies to having something to swap for protection from the totally transactional Donald J. Trump.

      • Posted October 13, 2019 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        Trump, the political dirt market maker.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 13, 2019 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        “they’re busy digging up dirt on Trump’s political enemies…”

        Probably so, but, at the same time they may be looking for material that could help his dethroning. That’s the problem. Trump’s “friends” hate him.

      • Harrison
        Posted October 14, 2019 at 4:40 am | Permalink

        If they had any sense they’d know that trying to appease Trump is a sucker’s game.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted October 15, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the Baltic states must be in panic mode right now. I doubt whether digging up dirt on Mr Trump’s enemies is the best way to…. ag, I’m slow, (you could have added a /s)
        But yes, they should get hold of some ‘kompromat’, such as some of his financial dealings with eg. Russia

    • Posted October 14, 2019 at 3:19 am | Permalink

      I think US allies now consider themselves hostages more than allies.

  32. max blancke
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    I am not sure there can be much justification of the abrupt timeline, unless there is much more data that has not been released.

    But now that ISIS is essentially defeated in Syria, the YPG is looking with the PKK towards conflict with Turkey. Or that is my present understanding. I am not an Erdogon fan. But Turkey is at present a NATO member.
    Also, Al-Assad is a complicating factor.

    I know tar baby is a term that is no longer in favor, but I cannot think of an English term that fits better. Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Russia are already stuck to it.
    I would prefer to be back in the briar patch, so to speak.

    Syria has been conquered and lost more times than almost anywhere on earth.

    I hope the agreement between the Kurds and Syrians pans out, and some kind of peaceful equilibrium is reached.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted October 15, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      I douby whether the YPG is/was planning for a conflict withTurkey. Although they have obviously a lot of sympathy for the PKK, I think they have been careful not to give military help to the PKK. Precisely to avoid a situation that the despicable, contemptible, unconscionable, odious, and in the end unwise, decision by Mr Trump just encouraged.

  33. Michael Fisher
    Posted October 13, 2019 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Time for the US to remove the 50 or so B61 free-fall bombs at Inçirlik Air Base in Adana, Turkey. Should have been done at least a year ago – it would not be difficult for Erdoğan to gain possession of them [the Turks wouldn’t be able to arm them in the normal way]. The US loss of face alone would be disastrous.

    Putin has gone to great lengths to disrupt NATO & he’s all over Turkey like a rash – selling them non-NATO military kit & now Erdoğan is speaking of nuclear weapons development, for which he needs a partner.

    Sorting out this shit needs a professional, dedicated US diplomatic corps [known as the United States Foreign Service], but the brightest youngsters are giving it a wide berth at the mo & the old timers are leaving in droves. And a Statesperson at the helm…

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

      PS – the B61 is a 15 x Hiroshima thermonuclear bomb with a “dial-a-yield” capability i.e. a selectable yield of 0.3 to 340 kilotons approx.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 14, 2019 at 12:01 am | Permalink

        Those don’t scare me. It’s the little things…

    • rickflick
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

      Night-time mare scenario. Let’s hope he’s gone before all this has a chance to unfold. I imagine there are similar scenarios that could unfold in other theaters of conflict. Europe or Asia. Four more years of The Orange One could result in doomsday. I’m thinking there are a lot of careerists in the agencies who are patiently waiting the departure of the ruddy horror so they can set things right.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted October 14, 2019 at 12:18 am | Permalink

        Yes indeed. Tracker: Current U.S. Ambassadors HERE lists around 30 VACANT positions & a similar number of NOMINATED positions, due to the Trumpian chain of administrative incompetence in the main.

        Getting rid of Trump isn’t enough to sort out this & other problems, the isolationists all need to go which requires a new administration & twenty? years of rebuilding human resources & international person-to-person relationships in all branches of government. At the moment no foreign power can trust any US promise & US representatives abroad [ambassadors, military, economic etc] can’t trust what’s coming down to them as supposedly reliable & truthful.

        • Posted October 14, 2019 at 3:13 am | Permalink

          I don’t think that’s incompetence, tbh. If he doesn’t suitably unqualified sycophants, why bother filling such positions?

        • merilee
          Posted October 14, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

          I can hear my (Republican, but generally reasonable) father rolling in his ashes. Long-time career Foreign Service Officer (Vienna, Martinique, London, Vienna again, Nigeria, Sierra Leone) who finished his career as an Ambassador. His mostly-beloved institution virtually gutted by this orange ignoranus(pun intended).

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted October 15, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            Virtually, but not completely, I heard that about 55% of ambassadors are still professionals, not ‘rich donator nominees’.

            • merilee
              Posted October 15, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

              Good to hear. Still seem to be a lot of postings unfilled.

        • rickflick
          Posted October 14, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          Well, I would hope we can solve this in much less than 20 years. 🙏🏻

  34. Jon Gallant
    Posted October 14, 2019 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Ken Kukec for the link to former ambassador Yovanovitch’s strong statement. It has one assertion—“Corrupt leaders are inherently less trustworthy”—which explains exactly why President Trump had to get rid of her. Trump’ own untrustworthiness, displayed in every day’s news, has soared into the pathological realm with his latest telephonic exploit.

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted October 14, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Just after, she added: “Corruption is a security issue as well, because corrupt officials are vulnerable to Moscow.”
      Clearly, she’s talking about Ukrainian leaders but she’s pointing US also.

  35. Posted October 14, 2019 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    Does anyone else remember how the NYT published that huge pseudo-scoop about the group of White House aides who are The Resistance and are saving the world from Trump? I hope anyone who fell for it is feeling embarrassed at having their and everyone else’s time.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted October 14, 2019 at 4:45 am | Permalink

      I was just thinking about that the other day. Those utter poodles obviously thought they could claim plausible deniability once this presidency is over, and emerge from behind a tree saying ‘it would’ve been worse if not for us’.

      Ha.

    • Posted October 14, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      I thought they were still on the job. After all, where are all these leaks coming from? They never promised to stop Trump from doing all bad stuff. Elections matter!

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted October 14, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        What have they stopped him from doing? We can’t know of course. But since they released that statement Trump has gotten worse, not better.

        • Posted October 14, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

          On that we agree. I hate to think what other bad shit he can get into before he leaves office.

  36. Posted October 14, 2019 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    What I still don’t understand is why everybody is out to get the Kurds. What’s the big deal if they lose a little territory? They’d gain in esteem. My wife claims the problem is water, that the sources of the Tigirs, the Euphrates and other rivers would be in Kurdistan, were one created with any logical borders. Can that be so?

    • Posted October 14, 2019 at 3:16 am | Permalink

      Uh, Tigris.

      • max blancke
        Posted October 14, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        The Kurds are a people who want some sort of autonomy in the region where they have historically lived.
        Right now, that area is part of Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Iraq.
        Unlike the “pagan” Yazidis, the Kurds practice primarily Shia Islam, which make them unpopular among the Sunni Turks and Syrians.
        They consider themselves an offshoot of the Persians, where their dialect has it’s roots.

        But the basic issue is that the area which they consider theirs is already within the borders of other countries. Many Kurds support the PKK, which is a Kurdish Marxist/Leninist revolutionary organization. They have engaged in what could reasonably be called terrorism against the Turks. Of course the Turks have tried to give them the same treatment they gave the Armenians.

    • dallos
      Posted October 14, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Of course, it’s not the oil.

  37. Dan Dollison
    Posted October 14, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I completely agree. This troop withdrawal is just part of Trump’s “Big Grift”. #ITMFA

  38. Chukar
    Posted October 14, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    “Is there any rationale for what Trump did?”

    The rationale is the same rationale Trump uses for everything: Attack and Distract.

    Attack: Slander your enemies. Call them liars, fake news, traitors, crooks, murderers, rapists, whatever. This forces them to redirect some of their energy towards refuting baseless claims. It also gives you an advantage when you ascribe to your enemies the exact crimes you yourself commit.

    Distract: “It’s not me, it’s you!” “Well, what about you?” “It’s not me, it’s that fellow behind the tree.” “My lawyer went rogue. I fired him. He wasn’t any good anyway. He’s lying, I never authorized him to ______ (fill in the blank.”

    It’s worked for this con-man and bully for 50 years. Why would he change his ways now?

    • Posted October 16, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Let’s not forget the personal gain angle. This is likely a huge part of Trump’s motivation and one we know little about.

  39. Robert Van Orden
    Posted October 14, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s incompetence, and that’s what I believe it to be, has lead to the sickening situation in Syria.

    I refuse to address Trump’s post hoc lies. All experts predicted this outcome.

    With that…

    The stakes have been raised. Bill Barr gave a disgusting speech against secularism at Notre Dame. Pompeo has decorated the State Department’s website with so-called Christian leadership nonsense.

    I’m very worried about where this is going.

    I still think there is a good chance that the Republicans dump Trump in an impeachment trial. He’s incompetent and they know it.

    I also believe impeachment, if it fails in removal, is the right tactical move. He could be made to look terrible.

    But in the chance that Trump wins re-election, it’s very bad news. There is no bottom with this guy. He’ll attempt consolidation of power, under the guise of theocracy.

    He’s to stupid to pull it off, himself. But he has a lot of enablers, some of whom have an eye on the grift, some of whom have an eye on religion and some who are motivated by both grift and religion.

    The good news is, most Trump’s loyalists view him the way the fans of WWF wrestling view that sport. They are ham & eggers, cheering on their favorite villain. Boot him from office and close down his Twitter account, and he goes away like yesterday’s news cycle.

    Like I said, high stakes.


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