When the House of Representatives and Europe issue a joint statement condemning Donald Trump and the world’s dark forces, you know something is terribly wrong in America.
Donald Trump’s decision to betray the Kurds is the worst decision ever made by an American president. While one can fault other presidents for components of their foreign policy, none is as despicable as turning our backs on allies as crudely as Trump did.
Erdogan made Turkey’s intentions abundantly clear – not only that Sunday night phone call with Trump but in the years prior. In fact, granting Erdogan’s wish for an ethnic “peace barrier” was an item on Putin’s to-do list when he and Trump met in Helsinki.
Trump’s ongoing alliance with Vladimir Putin is a series of stabs at the heart of the world order that served humanity fairly well since after World War II. Instead of a world where might is right and some humans are more human than others, the new order fashioned by America and our allies sought more equity and more justice. It was a world order that mirrored the best traits of our political system.
Trump turned away from this world order, as he said he would do. Nothing said it louder than the joint statement by European capitals, the EU and the House Foreign Relations Committee condemning Turkey’s act of aggression on Syria – an act that Donald Trump endorsed.
It is a statement that would have come from a responsible President if we had one. It reads in part:
“We, the Chairs of the Foreign Affairs Committees of the Parliaments of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the European Parliament and the House of Representatives of the United States of America, jointly condemn in the strongest terms the Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria. We consider the intrusion as military aggression and a violation of international law. The Turkish offensive is causing suffering for the local people who are forced to flee and further instability in Syria and the neighboring region.”
Earlier on Monday, as American troops were departing, the Kurds they fought alongside hurled rotten vegetables at them – and urged them to tell their children that they were leaving Kurdish children to die.
One can only imagine the pain felt by every one of those men and women who knew their honor was stained by Donald Trump, who spent Monday lashing out because he can’t grift from the G7 summit. He even said the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution is phony and compared himself to George Washington.
If you can imagine Trump ranting in a split-screen, you see the contrast between Trump’s America and the one he’s trying to destroy.
Screen one shows an America whose word meant something, who protected and fought alongside allies. It was an America that condemned wars of conquest – and kid you not, that’s really what we’re talking about with Turkey’s invasion of Syria. In that screen you see the troops honored to serve an honorable country.
Screen two shows the dystopian alternate reality of Donald Trump, where conferences have an admittance fee to be paid to the president of the host country and our troops protect Syria’s oil wells because, heaven forbid, protecting people is “forever war”.
The America in Screen Two plays well with the pariahs of the world – rewarding their aggression and deciding which ethnic groups get to live in freedom and dignity, which live in servitude and which don’t get to live at all. That screen shows the world order that saw two world wars in a matter of decades. That alone should suggest it’s not a world order that we should aspire to.
Syria is a small country and one can wonder why all the fuss over such a small country? Why care about the Kurds, who are a small proportion of the world’s population?
We should care because this represents the tip of a poisonous dagger. We’re already seeing the ripple effect as European nations align against Trump’s foreign policy, which is aligned with Turkey and Russia.
Put another way, the two biggest member states of NATO are in direct opposition to the remaining NATO members. There was never a time since NATO’s inception that such a stark chasm existed. Certainly, there was never a time that any member aligned with Russia to defend an act of aggression.
For all the spin that we may hear, NATO is weaker now than it was before Putin installed Donald Trump in our White House. It’s too soon to say if this chasm will result in a change in NATO’s membership or its destruction. But, those are possibilities that were unthinkable before Donald Trump.
Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria is bound to have a ripple effect throughout the Middle East. As noted by numerous experts, Israel is as much a loser in this dynamic as we are. Israel is supposedly an ally and is going through its own turmoil – with Benjamin Netanyahu unable to form a coalition government. Israel is in greater danger with an empowered Turkey and an empowered Iran. Iran gains otherwise as well, in that its stature rises along with the stature of the Assad/Russia axis. Iran also has less of a barrier than before to do to its Kurds what Turkey is doing to Syria’s.
The world is always changing, but instead of moving forward as a reflection of the things we’re learned from our mistakes, Trump is trying to drag us back in time to make certain we repeat some of the most barbaric events known to humanity.
Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.