Still apparently feeling down about the criticism he has been receiving for his irresponsible decision to unilaterally withdraw troops from the fight against ISIS, Donald Trump took to twitter to explain that everything will work out okay…because the dictator of Turkey promised:
President @RT_Erdogan of Turkey has very strongly informed me that he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS in Syria….and he is a man who can do it plus, Turkey is right “next door.” Our troops are coming home!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2018
Evidently, Donald Trump has not learned yet that dictators cannot be trusted. You would think his experience with North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un would have taught him a lesson:
North Korea is expanding an important missile base that would be one of the most likely sites for deploying intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, two experts on the North’s missile programs said Thursday, citing new research based on satellite imagery.
The activities at the Yeongjeo-dong missile base near North Korea’s border with China and the expansion of a new suspected missile facility seven miles away are the latest indications that North Korea is continuing to improve its missile capabilities, said Jeffrey Lewis and David Schmerler of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California. And they come despite President Trump’s repeated claims of progress in efforts to denuclearize the North.
Following his June summit meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, Mr. Trump claimed that there was “no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.” His administration has also repeatedly claimed progress in talks with North Korea, citing the lack of nuclear and ballistic missile tests since the country launched its Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile in November of last year.
No lesson has been learned, apparently. Trump’s predilection for trusting the words of a dictator seem to constantly outweigh the reality of how these dictators operate, and, outweigh the opinions of experienced United States intelligence, defense, and foreign policy advisors.
Most recently, Trump refused to believe that the Saudi Crown Prince had been involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi:
Donald Trump has expressed his unstinting support for Saudi Arabia and claimed there was “nothing definitive” linking Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
In the extraordinary statement issued on Tuesday – which begins with the words “The world is a very dangerous place!” – Trump quotes Saudi officials as describing Khashoggi as an “enemy of the state”.
The 649-word statement appears to be a presidential act of defiance against the CIA, which has reportedly concluded that the Saudi prince ordered the killing, and the Senate, which is considering bipartisan legislation that would suspend weapons sales to Saudi Arabia among other punitive measures.
And, of course, Donald Trump has repeatedly defended Vladimir Putin against U.S. intelligence assessments that Putin interfered with the 2016 election, most notably at the July 2018 summit in Helsinki:
US President Donald Trump, in a stunning rebuke of the US intelligence community, declined on Monday to endorse the US government’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, saying he doesn’t “see any reason why” Russia would be responsible.
Instead, Trump — standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin — touted Putin’s vigorous denial and pivoted to complaining about the Democratic National Committee’s server and missing emails from Hillary Clinton’s personal account.
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said during a joint news conference after he spent about two hours in a room alone with Putin, save for a pair of interpreters.
With regards to Turkey, Donald Trump doesn’t even have to rely on reports from U.S. intelligence officials to realize that Turkey is not to be trusted in the fight against ISIS. Turkey has made their real intentions quite clear. They want to fight the Kurds, not ISIS. All Trump would need to do is read a newspaper to find that out:
Turkey’s defense minister said Thursday that Kurdish forces in Syria would be “buried” in their trenches in any Turkish operation to rout the fighters from the border, just one day after President Trump announced a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
Speaking from the Qatari capital, Doha, Hulusi Akar said Turkey was preparing “intensely” for a military offensive east of the Euphrates River in Syria, where Kurdish-led forces have battled the Islamic State militant group.
The fighters have dug trenches and tunnels in the area in anticipation of the operation, Akar said, according to Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency.
The insanity of Trump’s willingness to trust Turkey to fight ISIS is illustrated by the fact that the group Turkey actually wants to fight, the Kurds, have actually been the most stalwart ally of the United States against ISIS. So, Trump is trusting a dictator’s promise to fight ISIS, when that dictator’s country has already publicly stated that they will attack the people who are actually fighting ISIS:
Hundreds of Kurdish fighters have arrived in eastern Syria to help a US-backed alliance fight ISIS after a major setback last week, a monitor said Tuesday.
Of course, Donald Trump does not like to read, so he probably would need to rely on the words of U.S. intelligence, defense, and foreign policy officials to learn what Turkey is actually up to. However, Donald Trump has once again chosen to ignore the counsel of U.S. officials:
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in August that U.S. troops would stay until progress was made on the political track. National security adviser John Bolton said in September: “We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders and that includes Iranian proxies and militias.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an October speech that the goal of defeating the Islamic State was “now joined by two other mutually reinforcing objectives”: a peaceful resolution to the conflict and “the removal of all Iranian and Iranian-backed forces from Syria.”
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. said earlier this month that the U.S. military still had “a long way to go” in its mission to train local forces in Syria to keep the Islamic State at bay.
In addition, Trump admitted that he does not even know the top U.S. diplomat in charge of the fight against ISIS, Brett McGurk, who has now resigned in protest over Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the fight against ISIS:
So, which is it? Has ISIS been defeated, or do they still need to be fought by other countries? Donald Trump doesn’t seem to know.
And now, Donald Trump has kindly explained to everyone part of the reason why he doesn’t know what is going on with ISIS: he doesn’t even know who the top U.S. diplomat assigned to the fight against ISIS even is, a man who just resigned in protest over Donald Trump’s irresponsible actions in the fight against ISIS:
Brett McGurk was, of course, not the only top U.S. official to resign over Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the fight against ISIS. Secretary of Defense James Mattis also resigned, while issuing a stinging rebuke of Donald Trump’s foreign policy philosophy:
Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned on Thursday, writing in an unsparing letter that he was stepping down because the president had “the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours.”
Mattis’s resignation comes a day after President Donald Trump made the abrupt decision to withdraw 2,000 troops from Syria, and his resignation letter notes the differences in Mattis’s worldview compared to Trump’s.
In the letter, Mattis reiterates his “core belief” in America’s alliance and partnerships, specifically NATO, and America’s need to be “resolute and unambiguous” in challenging countries such as China and Russia.
“My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion on these issues,” Mattis wrote. “We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.”
Donald Trump’s trusting of a promise of the Turkish dictator, over the counsel of pretty much every U.S. intelligence, defense, and foreign policy advisor, is a perfect example of what James Mattis was referring to when he stated in his resignation letter that we must be “clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors.”
The pattern that has come into view is increasingly worrisome. A United States President keeps siding with foreign dictators over the counsel of his own country’s most qualified officials. Why does this keep happening? Is Donald Trump compromised in some manner by these dictators?
With regards to Russia, the theory that Donald Trump is compromised by Vladimir Putin has of course been a subject of public discourse for the last 3 years. And with regards to Saudi Arabia, the business entanglements of both Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have also led to questions regarding what has been behind their motivations. Now, with Turkey, others are asking if Donald Trump is also compromised by them:
Wesley Clark, the former commander of NATO’s forces, on Monday questioned whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blackmailed President Trump into his decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria.
“There doesn’t seem to be any strategic rationale for the decision. And if there’s no strategic rationale for the decision then you have to ask, why was the decision made?” the retired U.S. Army general and former NATO commander said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“People around the world are asking this and some of our friends and our allies in the Middle East are asking, did Erdoğan blackmail the president? Was there a payoff or something? Why would a guy make a decision like this? Because all the recommendations were against it,” he added.
The Trump administration continues to spiral downward. An average of four White House employees per month have quit or resigned since Trump took office. Almost every important cabinet official has been pushed out either due to a dispute with Donald Trump or due to scandal. Every organization that has been led by Donald Trump is under criminal investigation. Donald Trump has repeatedly shown himself to be completely unfit for the position he currently holds, both in temperament and in competence.
The chaos that has whirled around Donald Trump has now reached a real breaking point: our national security. There is a genuine concern that the President of the United States may be compromised by multiple foreign dictators. Even if he somehow isn’t compromised, he is still repeatedly choosing to side with foreign dictators over the counsel of his own country’s most qualified officials.
It is well past time that Republicans in the Senate and House sober up to what is happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and start putting our country before their political party. It is well past time that Donald Trump be impeached.