The editors of the Washington Post, who never met a war they didn’t like, are distraught that President Trump, without consulting his advisors, allies, or the military, has ordered that U. S. troops be withdrawn from Syria:
Betrayed by the United States and forced to fight a potentially bloody conflict with Turkey, the Kurdish-led forces could quickly abandon any further effort to control the Islamic State. They might well set free the tens of thousands of former militants and family members held in SDF-controlled camps. The 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria could be forced to withdraw entirely, which would be a major victory for Russia and open the way for Iran to entrench its forces along Israel’s northern border. U.S. allies around the world meanwhile will have reason to question whether they should cooperate with a government that so casually abandons military partners.
Just for the record, I think that President Trump’s remarks about retaliation against Turkey were Turkey to overreach and “great and unmatched wisdom” are overblown and border on the unhinged. They will, no doubt, be trumpeted by the media.
I wonder what the editors think the legal pretext for the U. S.’s maintaining troops in Syria might be? It certainly isn’t Security Council authorization. None has been forthcoming. In fact we are in violation of our obligations with respect to the United Nations already.
It also can no longer be that Syria is “unwilling or unable” to to defend itself, the explanation on which the Obama Administration relied heavily.
I also note that the editors of the WaPo never complained about our supplying Al Qaeda in Syria which we have in fact done.
I wonder what the editors not to mention the Kurds expected? Did they expect the U. S. to occupy Syria permanently? That was never going to happen and it has always been obvious that it wouldn’t happen.
Removing our troops peremptorily from Syria is another case of a typically Trumpian approach to policy—doing the right thing in the wrong way for the wrong reason. Given only the choices between that and doing the wrong thing in the right way for the right reason, I think I prefer the former.
I would much rather be doing the right thing in the right way for the right reason but if there is one thing I have learned it is that I don’t get what I want.
Meanwhile, what about Erdogan’s Turkey? Kemalist Turkey was admitted to NATO not Islamist Turkey. Is there really a role for an Islamist Turkey in NATO? Rather than pieties about the fate of the Kurds we should be concerning ourselves with addressing that.