This should prove interesting. Now that Turkey is in the middle of an invasion of Syria and trying to wipe out the Kurds, President Trump is saying that he’s preparing to hit them with sanctions. Meanwhile, our troops are scrambling to safely get out of the affected areas and the Kurds have signed on to cooperate with Assad’s Syrian army. But we’re definitely going to start making steel more expensive… or something. (NY Post)
President Trump on Monday said he would “soon” be issuing an executive order to impose sanctions on Turkey for invading Syria — which happened days after he announced the US was clearing the way by pulling its troops from northern Syria.
The US, he said, would hike sanctions on Turkish steel and “immediately stop negotiations” with Turkey over what he called a $100 billion trade deal.
“Turkey’s military offensive is endangering civilians and threatens peace, security and stability in the region,” he said in a statement he posted on Twitter.
Sorry to say, but this simply doesn’t make any sense. The number of mixed signals coming from the White House on this issue must be leaving both our allies and our adversaries scratching their heads.
Let’s start with the assumption that the President’s primary goal here is, as he says, to put a stop to the “endless wars” and get the United States out of Syria. Fair enough. He promised that on the campaign trail. But if that’s the case, he clearly knew that Turkey was going to move in and try to clear the Kurds (and everyone else) out of the buffer zone across the Syrian border. In fact, he essentially gave them the green light to do so during his last call with Erdogan. (Whether he truly believed they would do it is another matter.)
But if we’re just going to pull up stakes and “let them fight” (as he previously tweeted) then what is the justification for the sanctions? Trump’s latest official statement explains this by claiming that “Turkey’s action is precipitating a humanitarian crisis and setting conditions for possible war crimes.” It goes on to accuse Erdogan of “not mitigating the humanitarian effects of its invasion.”
Turkey brought their military over the border and began bombing the Kurds. It’s an invasion. As my dad used to say, bad things happen in war. This sounds like the President wants to impose sanctions on Turkey for doing precisely what Erdogan told him he was going to do. How do you invade a country and start fighting without precipitating a humanitarian crisis? People who are being invaded by a foreign army are pretty much facing a humanitarian crisis by definition.
On top of that, the Kurds are now suddenly allied with Assad and the Syrian army. For those with short memories, those are the folks who kicked off this disaster in the first place. (Okay… ISIS helped quite a bit, but Assad is a war criminal.) How the heck did that happen?
I do my best to be supportive of the President when he sticks to conservative values and promotes sensible policies, which he does on a regular basis. That’s particularly true on immigration, taxes, border security and other critical issues. But this situation in Syria just seems to be a huge blunder. The place was already a disaster in progress, but now it’s really going to be going to hell in a handbasket. This was not handled well.