Oct 14 (1/1): What if there is no reason?


As predicted, the Kurds went to Assad, hat in hand.

YTF said:
From the earliest days of this administration when it appeared that Trump was more than willing to test long time allies while embracing traditional threats to our country I have expressed concern over how he, and more important how our country, would be viewed on the world stage. I think our reputation is repairable for sure, but not until Trump is out of office and his successor has earned the trust that we once held in the world community. Other countries still depend on our relationship for shared military intel and economic concerns, but the level of trust has no doubt been badly damaged. Trump has no issue tweeting sensitive information that can compromise the personnel of our military as well as that of our allies and their sources. He’s also constantly threatening the economies of other countries. Just as we have allowed other countries to reestablish and rebuild their relationship with us, we will be allowed to reestablish and rebuild our relationship with them, but it is going to take time and will happen at their pace and discretion. Their trust will need to be earned.

That may be, but we’ve had a thread here in the past pointing out that staunch US allies, like Germany, are now exploring ways to be as independent of the US as possible. One of the big takeaways is that our allies now must wrestle with a thought they shouldn’t have to: “Fine, they’ve elected someone that wants to maintain these relationships, but how long until they vote in another demagogue?” The best part is that thread ends with a sentence that turned out to be pretty darn prescient:

geoduck no quahog said:

As of now, no one is talking about breaking any of the commitments in the NATO Charter, but we have an administration that’s playing politics with world security[…]


Lots of people are looking for answers on why Trump shifted so precipitously. This article tells a story of repeated brinksmanship between Trump and Erdogan. In this context, if Erdogan told him last week that he was in fact going forward—credibly called Trump’s bluff—Trump would want to get out ahead of it to look like he was in control, driving the narrative. It’s the ultimate weak play, but totally Trump.

Average Reds

I would be shocked if the answer is anything other than this.

Trump has literally one move – he talks tough, tosses out multiple bluffs and then backs down and claims victory. That may be a recipe for success in the world of Manhattan real estate, but it is less effective when dealing with ruthless dictators. Which is why Trump gets played all the damn time.


This may not go far enough: There’s plenty of reason to believe that Trump collapsed after Erdogan called his bluff. But there’s also plenty of reason to believe that Erdogan himself was bluffing.

Firing on any NATO allied troops would give an already antagonistic NATO an out with respect to Turkey, to say nothing of they being US troops.

It’s like Trump doesn’t know that other people know about bluffing too. Heck, he doesn’t even appear to have known how strong his hand is and that NATO are actually good cards, even if he doesn’t like the artwork on them.

norm from cheers

Graham is meeting with Trump this afternoon. I won’t be surprised if Trump flips or Graham does…
Nancy Pelosi@SpeakerPelosi

Pleased to have a conversation with Senator @LindseyGrahamSC this morning. Our first order of business was to agree that we must have a bipartisan, bicameral joint resolution to overturn the President’s dangerous decision in Syria immediately.



Are there any memos of his conversations within Erdogan? It’s really not that farfetched to conclude that he provided Turkey with cover to fire on US troops and our allies—even if he’s now walking it back (which, again, is classic Trump). Depending on the facts, this is very close to going beyond “horrible foreign policy” and crossing over into treason.

Scott G

So, on top of everything else, Trump just admitted that he didn’t care about letting hundreds of ISIS members go because he felt other people should take care of it. I’m sure the same people who love him for “talking tough” will laud him for shrugging his shoulders.


Speak Loudly and Carry a Small Stick is indeed a strategy that resonates among The Base.

The Times article highlighted in the tweet is simply

Average Redsdevastating to Trump, as it makes the case that all of this is due to Trump’s impatience and unwillingness to plan.

He basically stumbled into this crisis by botching his conversation with Erdogan and now we’re faced with a rift within NATO and a loss of confidence in the U.S. around the world.

Not to beat a dead horse, but if a Democratic President ever made a mistake of this magnitude we’d have active duty Generals openly criticizing the President and accusing him/her of treason. But with Trump, we get James Mattis remaining silent in deference to his ego


Great article. This quote deserves attention:

“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.

Could anyone besides Donald Trump screw up this badly?


If Trump loses in November, or leaves office for whatever reason before that, I have to imagine some of these generals will come out of the woodwork shortly thereafter and retrospectively deliver their harsh criticisms to try and get on the right side of history. Cowardly, to be sure, but all of this really resembles what happened during the Red Scare and the height of McCarthyism: nobody wants to attack Trump in public, lest he (or she) have Trump and his minions and their admirers turn their fire on him (or her). Only when and if the dam breaches will everyone feel safe in taking the moral high ground.


I agree with your general point, but IIRC, there were a couple of generals that openly criticized Bill Clinton, and were promptly fired. Stanley McChrystal was relieved of his command for mocking Joe Biden. Generals open their mouths at risk to their careers and possibly their pensions.


Claiming that the Kurds are releasing ISIS prisoners to get the US back involved is fucked up.


The Kurds had already announced that they couldn’t defend the prisons. That’s very different from saying that they are purposely freeing them, which would obliterate the strategic and moral reasons for our presence there.

Like, on Twitter, there was a video going around that showed people leaving a prison under aerial attack. It was initially presented as ISIS inmates escaping with others fleeing the prison. Now it has a second life as allegedly showing the prisons releasing prisons for shits and giggles. It’s a shit show.

The most plausible reason for the Kurds to not want to release the ISIS prisoners is not because it supports the US but because ISIS wants to kill them. Like, a lot. Really, really kill them. And there are local militias they can join to do just that.

If anything, it’s notable that they didn’t execute them.


Yeah, remarkable and likely regrettable restraint. No one would bat an eye had they lined them up and shot them all.


It would have led to Turkey claiming that proved that they really are terrorists after all, reaffirming their alleged link to the PKK, which is Turkey’s large-scale political goal here, i.e. Kurd=PKK=terrorist.

There’s also the issue of their possible actual commitment to human rights and justice. But that’s crazy talk.


Turkey’s gonna claim that regardless, but, yes, the Kruds are either admirably committed to human rights or miscalculated that the prisoners would be a bargaining chip with the US government or the US soldiers stationed with them and now everyone is simply scrambling too much to reenact the end of Life is Beautiful.


Agree. Probably makes sense to take at face value their claim that they didn’t have a plan for this.

Watching them line up side-by-side with Assad should be… interesting.


Trump has promised economic sanctions on Turkey.


So we get our allies killed and then hurt domestic companies by nixing a trade deal? What was wrong with the status quo ante?


I think he thinks this is us washing our hands of the situation.

We’ll talk again when you all behave!


Well, this way Trump keeps his name on the hotel in Istanbul that Erdogan’s buddy owns and the $2 million in annual licensing fees keep flowing. So for Trump, Russia, Turkey (and ISIS,) it’s a win.


Meanwhile they drop out of the F-35 program and buy S-400 missiles from Russia. What’s the dollar tag on that?


Since there is no straightforward way to remove a country from NATO, Turkey’s incursion into Syria might have the effect of weakening, even splintering the alliance.


Rolling Stone has put out a very good, albeit with a strong position, account of what’s being going on and what just went down with respect to the key parties in all this:

RollingStone: Tired of Winning: Trump Surrenders Northern Syria to Turkish Jihadists
It’s unreal how much damage and death Trump can cause with the drop of a single tweet

As Darnell’s Son said elsewhere, there is a Clancy-esque level of over-wroughtness to a lot of this.

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