I do not like Donald Trump. I honestly don’t. He is a painfully inarticulate narcissist and I find both of those aspects seriously unappealing. Still, he is the duly elected President of the Unites States. His administration just brokered a peace between Turkey and the Kurds. Donald Trump made the announcement on the 23rd of October.
We should all be happy, but I cannot shake off the memory of the reactions to the withdrawal of US troops a week prior.
The venom, the contempt, the hatred was incredible. As if he just unleashed the apocalypse or a genocide worse than Hitler’s.
The New York Times, CNN and Jacobin magazine were brutal. The Economist put the issue on the cover of this week’s issue. It was being printed when Trump made the announcement of the permanent cease-fire. Social media also exploded with emotions. What was missing is some knowledge and perspective.
There are many things we don’t know.
We have no idea what happened during the negotiations. Was Erdogan offered a carrot or a stick? Probably both.
We’ll never know what it took to make Erdogan bend the knee, it is enough to know that it happened.
We’ll never know how much thought was put into the original withdrawal order, but it does not matter, because the final outcome seems to serve every participant’s interest best.
We’ll never know what exactly was promised to the Kurds and we cannot even try to guess how long this peace will hold, but for now, it is a solution to a problem.
There is, however, a whole lot of things we do know.
We do know that Trump was simply fulfilling an election promise by winding down US military involvement in the Middle-East. Could it have been done better? Probably, if we take the advice of all the armchair quarterbacks. It was done the ‘Trump way’ but the end-result is better than any of them predicted.
We do know that the Kurds, who live in four countries, want independence, or at least full autonomy ever since the fall of the Ottoman empire.
We do know that the PKK is a terrorist organization. It has always been so. It was founded by Abdullah Öcalan, A KGB trained and financed communist agent. The Syrian off-shoot of the organization, PYD is also communist. Just look at their flags:
The first place I ever learned about the PKK was in Clair Sterling’s book “The Terror Network” in the early 80s. They were part of the vast Soviet sponsored third world network of terrorism. After the fall of communism, their financing went away for a while but some of it was reestablished in the late 90s to maintain some regional influence. They also get material support from neighbouring countries in the form of safe-havens in return for spying.
With the dwindling of state sponsorship, they branched out from extortion into drug trafficking and production, making hundreds of millions per year. They are no angels or idealist guerrillas fighting for national independence.
We also know that the claim that the PKK saved the US from ISIS is highly questionable. ISIS is an ideological enemy of communism. The PKK was facing the prospect of annihilation by the Islamists. It is far more reasonable to suggest that the US saved them by providing the weapons to fight their mortal enemies with.
We know far more than this, but it does not seem to matter. Amidst all of the outrage over the withdrawal, The Nation, of all places, was the one pointing out that:
This armed American invasion [Obama’s deployment of American soldiers to Syria] of a sovereign nation was and is without legal sanction. Syria posed no threat to the United States and did not invite US troops in. The Obama administration had no resolution from the United Nations or any mandate from Congress. Military coordination with the Kurds outraged Turkey, our NATO ally, which considers them terrorist separatists. After ISIS was largely defeated, token US forces remained to deter Syria from reclaiming its territory and Turkey from invading. But the implicit position of the foreign policy establishment—that US forces should stay indefinitely in a sovereign nation without permission—was never tenable.
Bipartisan outrage over Trump’s folly has erased all this from the public discourse. [emphasis mine]
(Note the expression ‘Trump’s folly’ in this context. It does not matter, what Trump does, how moral, how smart, how successful it is, it MUST be described in negative terms. Even if you basically agree with him.)
And it does not end there. We know more. It is said that the curse of aging is that you remember history. I remember watching George W. Bush stating that the war in Iraq will cost about two billion dollars. The cost by now stands at about two trillion.
Barak Obama inherited the Bush mess, but he immediately set out to make it much worse.
- Barak Hussein Obama’s presidency was the first in American history without a single day of peace.
- Obama’s withdrawal CREATED ISIS. The organization existed since 1999, but only came to prominence when Obama handed to them billions in equipment, ammunition and good old American cash during his 2014 withdrawal from Iraq.
- Obama’s speech in Cairo lit the fuse of the ‘Arab spring’ creating mayhem in the Middle East and North Africa.
- Even the rebellion against Assad can easily be seen and interpreted as a logical consequence of his policies in the region. He wanted a Spring, managed to get the Winter of anarchy instead.
- He had a heavy hand in the destruction of Libya, for Qaddafi’s daring to challenge the hegemony of the petro-dollar.
And for all that, he received the Nobel Peace prize. IN ADVANCE!!!
What Trump is getting for trying to undo the harm done by Bush and Obama is ‘bipartisan’ condemnation, scorn and ridicule.
What he is getting is pure venom, regardless of what he is doing. What he achieved now is a truce for the Kurds, but I wouldn’t bet on who is going to break it. The odds, however, are on the Kurds.
What the left is unable to understand is that the hysterical vehemence of the attacks on Trump make him far more likable than he otherwise would be.
It definitely works on me. As I see the disgusting, unreasonable and unjust abuse he is subjected to, I find myself more sympathetic toward him every day.
As I am looking at all the hate and derision, I keep wondering what these ‘critics’ of Trump have in mind as a solution. What could or should have been done?
All of those smart people can leave their suggestions in the comments below.