Turkey

Ceasefire In Syria

Featured image I don’t pretend to understand what has been going on in northern Syria in the last week or so. My understanding is that Turkey has limited objectives in the area that are not entirely illegitimate, that the handful of troops that we had in the area couldn’t have stopped the Turkish advance, and that President Trump pulled our troops out of harm’s way in recognition of the inevitable. But that »

More bad argument by Trump in defense of the Syria pullback

Featured image There are respectable arguments in favor of the pullback of U.S. troops in northeastern Syria. I don’t find them persuasive, but they are serious. Unfortunately, President Trump persists in making ludicrous arguments. One of them, the fact that the Kurds didn’t help us with the Normandy invasion, I discussed here. I hoped that this argument was a throwaway — a one-off. No such luck. Now, Trump is claiming that the »

Trump to increase steel tariffs on Turkey

Featured image President Trump says he will raise tariffs on Turkish steel due to Turkey’s invasion of Syria. He will also halt negotiations on a trade deal. In addition, certain Turkish ministers associated with the invasion will be sanctioned. Trump notes that “Turkey’s military offensive is endangering civilians and threatens peace, security and stability in the region.” The result, he adds, is a “humanitarian crisis” that “Turkey does not seem to be »

Adverse consequences of Syrian pullback mount

Featured image Yesterday, I noted that as a result of President Trump’s decision to pull back U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, raids against ISIS in other parts of Syria have been curtailed. Today comes word of other adverse consequences. One is Turkish atrocities and, perhaps, war crimes. Allahpundit at Hot Air has the relevant links for those with the stomach to check them out. In the age of “America First,” we’re no »

Let’s be clear-eyed about Turkey

Featured image Two things can be true: (1) President Trump’s decision to pull back U.S. forces in northwestern Syria was a good decision; (2) Turkey is an ally in name only and no friend of America. I don’t believe the first statement is true. However, the pullback is a done deal. We can argue about its merit, and I expect to keep doing so, but arguing won’t change the outcome. By contrast, »

Trump abandons Kurdish allies

Featured image Late yesterday, the White House announced that U.S. forces in northeastern Syria will stand down. This clears the way for Turkey to attack the Kurdish forces who fought alongside American troops in defeating ISIS (for the moment). Turkish President Erdogan, no friend of the U.S. and certainly no reliable partner, says that American troops have already started moving out of the area. Approximately 1,000 of them have been stationed there. »

Pompeo’s thankless visit to the Middle East

Featured image Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the Middle East trying to assure friends, allies, and non-adversaries that the U.S. isn’t walking away from the region. He claimed that progress has been made in addressing Turkey’s objections to Kurdish militants in northeastern Syria and that Turkey has provided “commitments” that Kurds who fought with U.S. forces against ISIS will be protected when the U.S. leaves Syria. The only public commitment »

Erdogan snubs Bolton, then denounces him on TV

Featured image On Monday, John Bolton declared that the Trump administration’s plan to pull U.S. forces out of Syria is conditioned on protecting the Kurdish warriors who bore the brunt of our fight to defeat ISIS. This condition seemed to preclude a complete withdrawal in the foreseeable future. As I explained: I don’t see how a complete U.S. withdrawal can be accomplished without putting the Kurds in serious jeopardy at the hands »

How serious is Trump about withdrawing from Syria?

Featured image The U.S. withdrawal from Syrian might not be as precipitous as it was originally described by President Trump. It also may not be as complete. Yesterday, during a visit to Israel where he met with Prime Minister Netanyahu, John Bolton outlined objectives that must be met before the U.S. withdraws from Syria. “The timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement,” he explained. One objective, of course, »

The Hypocrisy of Nike

Featured image We were surprised when Nike launched a major advertising campaign featuring former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and even more surprised when it seemed to work. Nike’s sales went up, and the company attributed the increase in part to Kaepernick chic. The tag line of Nike’s Kaepernick ad was, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Of course, Colin Kaepernick didn’t sacrifice everything by taking an anti-American stance–only, at most, »

The Cost of Betraying Syria’s Kurds

Featured image Tommy Meyerson, a former Marine who served in Syria, has written an op-ed for Wall Street Journal called “The Cost of Betraying Syria’s Kurds.” He argues that withdrawing from Syria will likely produce catastrophic humanitarian consequences and cause harm to U.S. interests. Meyerson begins by noting the immense contribution the Kurds have made in the war against ISIS: The U.S. and the West have quietly relied on the Syrian Kurds »

Khashoggi, Erdogan, and the Washington Post

Featured image I understand why the Post wants to keep banging the drum over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. He’s one of their own. Trying to cause the U.S. to reverse its foreign policy in the Middle East over one more killing in the region, however heinous, seems rather ambitious and, from the point of view of U.S. interests, misguided. But the Post has every right to try. However, the Post crosses »

Turkey’s hypocrisy, and Jamal Khashoggi’s

Featured image “Under Erdogan, journalists in peril.” That’s a headline (paper edition) of an article in today’s Washington Post. Correspondent Chico Harlan provides plenty of evidence to support the headline. The most compelling piece comes from the Committee to Protect Journalists. It found that Turkey jails more journalists than any other nation. Indeed, it jails more than China, Russia, and Egypt combined. The U.S. under President Trump jails approximately zero journalists. Whining »

Loose Ends (41)

Featured image Got a whole bunch of short items to get off my spindle this morning. • So Elon Musk says the Saudis are interested in financing Tesla to go private. Why would the Saudis want to become the major financial player in an electric car company? I simply can’t imagine. I guess Musk is too young to remember an old Johnny Carson Tonight Show line about an idea being as bad »

Can We Have Constantinople Back?

Featured image Turkey, sometimes an unsteady ally during the Cold War and in Middle Eastern affairs but an ally nonetheless, is showing increasing signs under Erdogan of tilting toward Islamism and away from the West. And that’s leaving aside the appalling scene from Erdogan’s recent visit to Washington, which featured his security goons beating up on protestors in the streets of Washington outside the Turkish embassy. Today the Wall Street Journal reports »

Mr. Erdogan goes to Washington

Featured image A little bit of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime came to Washington for Erdogan’s visit with President Trump earlier this week. In this case, a little bit is way too much, although it may be a representative sample. Tom Rogan notes that on Tuesday the Turkish Presidential Protection Department attacked peaceful protesters on American soil (video below). Making themselves feel right at home in Washington, TPPD officers launched a coordinated attack »

Should Trump have called Erdogan?

Featured image Andy McCarthy sees the constitutional changes in Turkey as having “hammered the final nail in the coffin of [that] country’s democracy.” He castigates President Trump for calling to congratulate strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan on this accomplishment. Lee Smith sees the situation differently. He contends that the closeness of the referendum on Erdogan’s changes represents “a warning that he had better address Turkish voters’ key concerns—the economy, political stability, terrorism—or else »