After President Donald Trump’s disastrous decision to abandon the Kurds and withdraw our troops from northern Syria, Congress spent this past week trying to decide how best to respond. A resolution of denunciation? Tough sanctions on Turkey? Reconsider our relationship with Turkey? Convene the coalition against ISIS and consider how to recapture or even track the hundreds of escaped fighters?
I think we have an even bigger problem on our hands.
Until now, it was reasonable to debate whether Trump was simply an unconventional president, the first with no prior experience serving in either our military or government, or whether he was truly willing to work with foreign dictators to place his own political interests ahead of our nation’s. This week, we learned that this was a false choice—he’s both.
First, despite the temporary cease-fire that Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Thursday, the damage President Trump has caused cannot be undone. He betrayed our Kurdish allies, aided Russia and Iran, and gave ISIS a chance to reconstitute itself—all to serve his own perceived political interests.
Second, Trump’s abrupt order to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria was not a legitimate response to Americans who are tired of “forever wars.” An abrupt withdrawal from Syria that emboldened our enemies and has already led to the death of hundreds of innocent people was not what the American public had in mind. And just days after Trump announced the withdrawal from Syria, abandoning the Kurds and risking the revival of ISIS, he deployed another 3,000 troops to Saudi Arabia. The net impact is more American troops in the Middle East.