President Donald Trump’s endlessly belligerent behavior is essentially not helping anyone anywhere. This week, the situation in northern Syria has been intensifying, with Turkish forces continuing their onslaught against local Kurds, even according to some reports, after a cease fire agreement was struck with Turkish President Recip Tayip Erdogan by a U.S. delegation. Now, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has literally laughed off Trump’s suggestions that he’d hold the country accountable for his actions, noting how — in Newsweek‘s description — “in the space of “five minutes” Trump sends multiple tweets on various issues—including Turkey.”
‘Different voices, different positions are coming from the United States, because of the differences between the administration, the State Department, Pentagon, and this and that.’
It’s true — Trump’s own personal stance in relation to the issue has repeatedly proven at odds with some of his closest advisers and allies. While even Republicans in Congress have been clamoring against an abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria by Trump, and even while Trump himself has been claiming that he’s ready and able to completely cripple the Turkish economy at a moment’s notice, Trump has also consistently been spouting off about how the U.S. supposedly has no interest in the situation. Cavusoglu dismissed sanctions that Trump has already authorized as having no demonstrable and substantive effect on the U.S. economy.
Trump, meanwhile, has even been downplaying the severity of the situation itself, asserting that the Kurds themselves are “not angels” and ripping into ABC News for mistakenly showing footage during coverage of the fighting that wasn’t actually from Syria, which doesn’t erase the atrocities that have happened!
This Friday morning on Twitter, Trump went so far that he expressed explicit support for the Turkish campaign, although it’s unclear if he was aware of the implications of what he was doing. He praised Erdogan’s efforts to “defeat terrorism” — but to be clear, Erdogan considers the Kurds themselves to be terrorists. He’s directly singling out the same Kurdish forces that fought against ISIS alongside the U.S. when he speaks of terrorism.
In response to a Trump tweet discussing a U.S. delegation’s summit with Erdogan this week, the Turkish president himself wrote:
‘Mr. President, many more lives will be saved when we defeat terrorism, which is humanity’s arch enemy. I am confident that this joint effort will promote peace and stability in our region.’
This is the level that international diplomacy has sunk to thanks to Donald Trump. It’s become a mission of petty, all-caps, two-word Twitter messages.
The day before, Trump seemed to belligerently stumble into an explicit endorsement of the concept of ethnic cleansing itself, which the Turkish operation underway in Syria has been denounced as. Referring to the region near the Turkish border where the Kurds live, Trump insisted that “they had to have it cleaned out.”
Making a fool of himself to give an authoritarian regime free license to engage in ethnic cleansing & then encouraging that ethnic cleansing may be the worst thing Trump has ever done as president. People will die & already have died because of his actions https://t.co/GIideUddLA
— Stephen Wolf (@PoliticsWolf) October 18, 2019
As the Syria conflict continues, Kurds are suffering. Hundreds have already died and many, many tens of thousands have already been displaced. Turkey is attempting to remove Kurds from close proximity to their border.