President Donald Trump is continuing to face intense pushback for his abrupt decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, where they left local Kurdish allies to be attacked by Turkish forces. Trump has insisted throughout this whole process, however, that there’s nothing to be concerned about, even as casualty totals and the number of displaced grow dramatically. He continued this stance on Wednesday, when at the White House he announced a supposedly “permanent” ceasefire in the northern Syria conflict. Even in this instance, he flippantly dismissed the significance of the whole situation.
Trump again resorted to his racist stereotypes of the region, claiming that the situation is not as immediately pressing for U.S. interests because it’s just “ancient sectarian and tribal conflicts.” No, Trump, we’re in the 21st century, and in this century, Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, who Trump thinks is such a pal, has decided that Kurdish forces are terrorists who should be violently attacked. Trump rambled about how much that president “loves his country.”
In his rambling remarks, Trump also announced that previously announced sanctions that had little to no real effect on the Turkish economy would be lifted. Trump told reporters:
‘You would also define the word permanent in that part of the word as somewhat questionable — we all understand that.. This was an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else. No other nation. It’s very simple. We’re willing to take blame, and we’re also willing to take credit. This is something they’ve been trying to do for many, many decades… We have done them a great service, and now we’re getting out… Let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand… By getting that cease-fire to stick, we’ve done something very special.’
What, is the cease-fire a Christmas television special or something? Why is it relevant that this is supposedly Trump’s own personal doing?
He’s blatantly wrong about how secure the previous temporary ceasefire was — the Turkish side kept up their shelling throughout the whole thing, and despite his repeated claims that his own administration had helped save Kurdish lives — he is the one who put them in harm’s way in the first place, and again, many have already died!
The opposition that Trump has faced over his Syria withdrawal decision has even stretched into bipartisan territory. The Democratic majority House passed a measure condemning Trump’s withdrawal with the support of a full 129 Republicans, although when that resolution reached the Senate more recently, Kentucky Republican Rand Paul blocked the measure from proceeding two times and counting under the rules allowing for one senator to request an abrupt vote on any measure only if every other senator agrees.
Besides, Trump is unlikely to take Congressional concerns seriously anyway. Twice already, both chambers of Congress have approved a resolution condemning and overturning his national emergency declaration over the situation at the southern border, but Trump vetoed both incarnations of that measure, keeping his power grab intact. Trump has also vetoed a Congressional measure demanding an end to U.S. support for the Saudi-led side of the Yemen civil war.