June 14, 2024
The strategic incoherence of Trump's Syria critics
What metrics should we use to evaluate whether it's [Syrian intervention] really benefiting the country, or is working, or has worked? No one wants to say because no one has an answer that makes sense.
What metrics should we use to evaluate whether it’s [Syrian intervention] really benefiting the country, or is working, or has worked? No one wants to say because no one has an answer that makes sense.

It’s always foolish to put your faith in Donald Trump. He’s incapable of thinking strategically about anything besides advancing his own material interests.

So it makes perfect sense to presume that Trump’s apparent decision to permit Turkey to conduct military operations against (until now) American-backed Kurdish forces near the Turkish border in Syria has nothing to do with geopolitical strategy or any process of foreign policymaking beyond his personal and business relationship with Turkey’s quasi-authoritarian president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

But that doesn’t mean that the bipartisan freak-out against Trump’s policy shift is founded in a coherent strategic vision. It isn’t. Instead it grows out of a combination of inertia, hubris, pusillanimity, and moralism — all of them traits that have been on the ascent since the end of the Cold War, and especially since the September 11 attacks.

The one positive thing to come out of Trump’s flailing foreign policy is that it has exposed the incapacity of the country’s leading thinkers in international affairs to offer a compelling reason to resist the president’s mischief-making and revert to the status quo. That doesn’t give us much to work with now. But it just might set America up for an eventual reckoning with our foolishness and mistakes over the past few decades.

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See Also:

(1) Shells Fired Into Turkey as Syria Offensive Continues for 2nd Day

(2) Tens of thousands of civilians flee Turkish offensive in Syria

(3) Trump channels George McGovern with decision to abandon Syria

(4) ‘It’s a bad idea’: Donald Trump blasts Turkish assault on Syrian Kurds

(5) Stalin Had Gulags, Turkey Has Courts

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