Secretary Of Defense Suffers ‘Fox News Sunday’ Humiliation Over Turkey


Under President Donald Trump, the foreign policy of the United States has proven as erratic (at best) as his personal behavior. He abruptly ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria recently, leaving local Kurdish allies at the mercy (or more accurately, lack thereof) of hostile Turkish forces who have abruptly moved into the void the U.S. has left and been attacking civilians. This weekend on Fox News Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper veered all over the place while trying to defend the Trump administration’s decisions, at one point even praising Turkey as an ally and denouncing the “arc” of their behavior within the same sixty seconds or so. In other words, as Kurds who have fought alongside the U.S. face lethal violence, the Trump team’s got nothing.

Initially, Esper asserted to host Chris Wallace that his team had warned Turkey that if they carry out this military campaign, results could range from escapes of hundreds of detained ISIS fighters to an outright “humanitarian catastrophe.” Esper completely glossed over the fact that at this point, these points might as well be acknowledged as Turkey’s explicit goals.

Wallace pressed Esper:

‘So, the Turks and their militias are committing atrocities against the Kurds, who are our allies. The Kurds are asking us for help, but we’re going to pull out and allow the Kurds to go to the Russians and the Syrians? That doesn’t seem to make much sense.’

After asserting that the U.S. simply didn’t have the available forces to fight a supposedly 15,000 fighter strong Turkish presence, the Defense Secretary replied in a desperate attempt at deflection:

‘As you know Chris, this conflict has its roots that go back 200 years, and in the last few years, since we began this relationship with the Kurds to take on ISIS, the Turks protested it from the beginning.’

Wallace continued on, playing a clip of Esper insisting the U.S. wasn’t “abandoning” the Kurds and then asking:

‘The U.S. had 50 Special Operations forces along the border, acting as a tripwire, if you will, to keep the Turks from coming across the border. We were the protection for the Kurds. After President Trump talked to President Erdogan last Sunday, President Trump decided to pull those troops out, and the Turks invaded. Isn’t that the definition of abandoning the Kurds?’

Esper again resorted to explaining away the situation as simply out of our control, although the U.S. is flatly the one who left the void now filled by Turkish fighters.

Esper insisted:

‘We are not going to go to war, another war in the Middle East, against Turkey, which is a longstanding U.S. ally that has fought alongside us in Korea all the way through Afghanistan. That’s not what we signed up for.’

Wallace retorted:

‘Well do they seem like much of an ally now?’

Esper admitted in response:

‘No, I think Turkey, the arc of their behavior over the past several years has been terrible. They are spinning out of the Western orbit. We see them purchasing Russian arms, cuddling up to President Putin — we see them doing all these things that frankly concern us with regard to the direction they are heading.’

Yet, despite this, the U.S. is doing nothing. Not even any sanctions have been rolled out against Turkey as of early Sunday.

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