When President Donald Trump pulled American troops out of northern Syria, virtually giving Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the green light to attack the region’s Kurds, he likely didn’t anticipate a key factor that might get caught in the crossfire: control of U.S. nuclear weapons.
Erdogan’s forces have been raining down terror on the Kurds, long considered to be key U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS, exactly the horrifying scenario that critics of Trump’s move predicted. Turkey even fired on an outpost of U.S. special operation forces. It’s a fraught scenario for the United States to find itself in, made all the more dangerous by the fact that Turkey, itself a NATO ally, is home to an estimated 50 American nuclear weapons. The New York Times reported:
And over the weekend, State and Energy Department officials were quietly reviewing plans for evacuating roughly 50 tactical nuclear weapons that the United States had long stored, under American control, at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 250 miles from the Syrian border, according to two American officials.
Those weapons, one senior official said, were now essentially Erdogan’s hostages. To fly them out of Incirlik would be to mark the de facto end of the Turkish-American alliance. To keep them there, though, is to perpetuate a nuclear vulnerability that should have been eliminated years ago.
“I think this is a first — a country with U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in it literally firing artillery at US forces,” Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies wrote last week.
The fact that American nuclear weapons have been housed in a country with an increasingly authoritarian leader like Erdogan would be concerning enough. The calamity now playing out before the world shows exactly why this state of affairs can suddenly veer toward disaster and should have been ended years ago.
The Times noted, too, that Erdogan recently expressed the desire for his regime to obtain nuclear weapons of its own, despite international rule limiting proliferation.
But the current mess was triggered, in part, by a phone call Trump had with Erdogan just over a week ago, leading to his announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Trump has claimed that this decision was in line with his promise to avoid and cease the United States’ “endless wars,” but it seems to have triggered a new terrifying conflict of its own. And at the same time, Trump has authorized sending thousands of troops to protect Saudi Arabia, far outnumbering the minimal force that had been held in northern Syria.
Paul Krugman issues dire warning about next four months under Trump
In his column for the New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman expressed dismay that -- even with coronavirus infection rates going through the roof across the country --Donald Trump is still acting like the health crisis is over and Americans should return to their normal lives.
Noting that Vice President Mike Pence recently penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal proclaiming, “There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave',” the columnist was gobsmacked by the Trump administration's "delusions and magical thinking that have marked every step of the Trump administration’s response to Covid-19."
‘Gaslighting on a massive scale’: Doctor warns Trump is lying us into a COVID disaster
On CNN Friday, Dr. Celine Grounder tore into President Donald Trump's ongoing falsehoods about the coronavirus pandemic.
"No matter how many times public health officials, especially like Anthony Fauci, speak the truth, what does it do, Doctor, when the president continues to lie to the public in face of a public health crisis?" asked anchor Kate Bolduan.
"This is gaslighting on an enormous scale, and means until people eventually get sick or their family members get sick, the communities hit hard, they won't believe it, and then it will be too late," said Grounder. "The problem is there's a lag period from the time that somebody's infected and starts to develop symptoms a couple days later. We don't see people get severely sick and need to be hospitalized and in ICUs until a week into disease, and talking about probably one to two weeks of lag time from the time somebody's exposed at least before you start to see hospitalizations and then another couple weeks before you start to see deaths."
Republicans ‘anxious’ as campaign aides observe ‘a sudden alertness’ in Trump that he is losing: report
Republican are growing increasingly worried about President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, according to a new report in Politico.
“I’d say Republicans are feeling anxious, and there’s a real sense of urgency for the president to precisely define his second term agenda. What are we running on? His answers on that have been lacking and he needs to show people why he wants four more years,” Scott Jennings, a top political adviser in the George W. Bush White House, told the publication.