Yesterday was a horrible day for the United States. Trump decided to withdraw troops from northern Syria, betraying our allies the Kurds. His decision was apparently made with no consultation from our military but instead at the urging of Turkish strong-man Erdogan, who Trump spoke to by phone. Erdogan and the Turks hate the Kurds, and Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds will allow the much stronger Turkish army to bomb and massacre the Kurds with impunity. It’s a humanitarian and genocidal disaster in the making. All because Erdogan somehow sold Trump on it. An intelligence official with knowledge of the call said Trump was “out-negotiated” and got “rolled” by Turkey and “has no spine.”
The Kurdish betrayal exposes a simple fact about Trump. He’s too weak to stand up for the United States and our allies. Instead, he grovels when dictators and authoritarians like Erdogan come calling. And they run circles around him.
Trump tried to cover his ass in a series of tweets, and would up saying this (with my emphasis):
…if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey…
Trump’s delusion of grandeur is fitting for a dictator or a king, but reeks here, especially combined with the near certain slaughter of a close ally because Trump betrayed them.
This decision will be a catastrophe for the Kurds. And it will poison our ability to recruit allies in the future. And it will damage our standing with current allies. And it plays into Putin’s constant refrain on the international stage about the United States–that we can’t be trusted. If there is any chance of this policy being reversed, it has to come from public outrage and protest. Please raise your voices if possible.
It was also announced yesterday that Trump is pulling us out of the Open Skies Treaty, which authorizes the USA and our European allies to monitor Russian military deployments, including watching troop movements in Ukraine. It will destabilize the transatlantic alliance and, again, reinforce Putin’s claim that we are not a reliable partner and can’t be trusted. The treaty withdrawal is another huge gift to Putin.
A disaster unfolding here at home is the economic disaster from Trump’s ridiculous and wrong-headed tariffs. Back in May Goldman Sachs reported that the cost of Trump’s tariffs fell entirely on American businesses and households. And every month we hear an increasingly loud scream from farmers about the damage the tariffs have done to their businesses. We have to elevate this issue to the center of our activism as we head into 2020. Even if Trump removes the tariffs tomorrow, the damage has already been done. Thousands of soy bean farmers have declared bankruptcy and lost their family’s heritage. Life savings lost. Homes lost. It’s a disgrace with real consequences to our fellow farmers, some of whom live in our district.
Here’s an informative video from an August broadcast of The Beat on MSNBC featuring a distraught and angry farmer whose livelihood has been hammered by Trump’s tariffs:
It’s depressing and dispiriting to be a progressive activist at this political moment. But we have to continue to resist Trump and work to “vote his ass out of office.”