It is a strange experience witnessing The Donald fumble his way through foreign policy, which he knows almost nothing about. In the awkward press conference below, Trump stumbles his way through history. His explanation for abandoning the Kurds? They didn’t help “us” win the Second World War.
Undoubtedly, there were Kurds fighting during that completely avoidable carnage that killed more than 70 million people, 25 million of that debated number in Russia alone. Trump does not know if soldiers of Kurdish ancestry died at Normandy. The stable ignoramus is famous for not doing his homework and talking off the top of his coiffured head.
Moreover, the United States did not single-handedly “win” the Second World War—that achievement should be credited to Stalin and the Soviet Union. Ditto Syria. It was Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah that beat back the CIA and Saudi Arabia’s murderous jihadi proxies, not Trump and his neocons.
Abel Cohen writes:
America shouldn’t mythologize a war against the Nazis we didn’t wage until the last minute. Like Truman said: “If Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; if Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible.” America waited as long as it could to join the war—and ended it by firing the first shots of the next one.
Truman’s final homicidal act was to drop two atomic bombs on Japan, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and traumatizing millions of others. He then inaugurated the Cold War, founded the national security state, and set the stage for the military-industrial complex which, incidentally, Trump mentioned during his press conference. Since taking office, Trump has acted as salesman-of-the-month for the MIC, selling death merchandise far and wide. This is just about the only growth industry in a crumbling America.
The Kurds probably knew Trump would betray and leave them at the mercy—and, if news reports are accurate, mercy is in short supply—of Turkey with its resurgent form of Sunni Islam exploited by President Tayyip Erdogan.
“Uniting around our common Islamic identity is the only way to solve the Kurdish problem,” a leader of Justice and Development party told The Economist. “Islam bound us in Ottoman times and during the war of independence, why not today?”
Left out of the discussion is the fact two-thirds of Kurds follow the Shafi‘i madhhab, which distinguishes them from Arabs and Turks in the region who are primarily Hanafi. In Islam, like any religion, divergent sects rarely make peace. For example, consider the death count attributed to the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Europe (instrumentally, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, responsible for more than 30,000 dead in France).
Erdogan’s solution to the “Kurdish problem” is to invade Syria and Iraq and kill as many Kurds as possible.
Trump’s response is to move US troops—illegally in Syria in violation of its national sovereignty—out of harm’s way, which is, of course, the sensible thing to do, never mind the ranting criticism of neocons and their Republican and Democrat fellow travelers.
However, it is impossible to hold this president to anything. He changes with the wind, following the weathervane of his outsized ego.