On Monday, The New York Times editorial board posted a scathing piece attacking President Donald Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and leave the Kurdish resistance fighters to their fate.
"Mr. Trump appears once again to have acted impulsively, in this case after a phone call with [Turkish President Recep] Erdogan," wrote the board. "He blindsided officials at the Pentagon and the State Department and kept Congress and the allies in the dark. Administration national security officials have argued forcefully for maintaining a small troop presence in northeast Syria to continue pursuing the Islamic State and as a counterweight to Turkey and Syria’s Russian and Iranian allies. Mr. Trump’s determination to withdraw those remaining troops led to the resignations of former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the special envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS, Brett McGurk, last December."
Paradoxically, the board warned, the move not only decimates our alliances in the Middle East, but likely puts America at greater risk of conflict with the very strongman despot Trump caved to.
"Whether Turkey will go forward with a full invasion is unclear," wrote the board. "On Mr. Trump’s orders, a couple hundred American troops have been removed from two military outposts. At the same time, the Kurds have stopped dismantling their fortifications and the joint American-Turkish patrols have been ended, officials say. Congress is threatening sanctions on Turkey."
"It may seem paradoxical, but in caving in to one of the strongmen he so admires, Mr. Trump may have set the United States on a collision course with Turkey," concluded the board. "He’s also put himself into conflict with the Pentagon and his own Republican allies. He may walk his own decision back once again, in part or in whole. But what ally could look at the United States now and see a stalwart partner — and what foe could look at it and fear a determined adversary?"