Archive for October, 2019

The Virtue of Not Keeping Campaign Promises

Thursday, October 17th, 2019


The crisis resulting from the U.S. military pullout from northern Syria was not worth keeping the campaign promise to end American involvement abroad


This page has been silent to date about the surreal presidency of Donald Trump.

For every step backwards there are one-and-a-half steps forward made by this chaotic president. So to get caught up in the moment is futile and ultimately exhausting.

But Mr. Trump’s pullout of 1,000 troops from northern Syria was an epoch blunder with huge downside and no benefit.

Image result for trump mocking challenged kid on campaign trail

It’s one thing to be spazztic on the campaign trail but completely another when occupying the Oval Office


For starters, he has abandoned the Kurds who were an ally against the barbaric Islamic State. They are now subject to the un-tender mercies of Turkey that deems the Kurds a bigger threat than Islamic State. Unless the invasion by Turkey of northern Syria ends soon, this will turn into a bloodbath tantamount to a mini-genocide, the blood of which will be on Mr. Trump’s hands.

Thereafter, the rest of the world, Russian president Vladimir Putin in particular, senses a chaos and weakness in this president that can be exploited and Mr. Putin never wastes such opportunities. Russia will fill the vacuum caused by the U.S. pullout.

China, too, will also feel more ambitious in its dealings with and foothold in the African continent as it can be easily assumed that Mr. Trump would never bother to waste U.S. resources on any inappropriate Chinese presence in Africa, even if they planted 10 army divisions right in the middle of the continent.

And now Islamic State is given the chance to re-group and spread a new reign of terror that the U.S. will have to fight again. Mr. Trump doesn’t realize it’s far better to keep boots on the ground than leave a battlefield and re-enter it. In that, he will have cost U.S. lives though he’ll never admit to it.

Trump defended the withdrawal, saying “endless wars must end.”

That’s nice jingoism but the truth is asymmetrical wars like that of terror don’t have delineated beginnings and ends. Some have never stopped, others end and pop up with new players. But the result is the same: wanton slaughter that must be fought and defeated. Islamic State came only after Al-Qaeda was rolled back so it is a virtually new moniker but others will follow under different names yet same modus operandi.

One of Mr. Trump’s calling cards has been that he’s different from the usual politician and he used that along with a promise to shake up the status quo (“drain the swamp”) to get into office. Hence his belief that he’s merely fulfilling a promise that he made on the campaign trail, unlike politicians when they get into office.

But there is a huge difference in perspective from the campaign trail and the Oval Office. An aspiring presidential candidate does not have the information that a president does which would indicate the consequences of their proposed actions. And taking any position on the campaign trail has no effect unlike taking such action as president where lives are on the line, in this case both American when we re-enter northern Syria and Kurdish right now.

And with this move Mr.Trump has done what was thought impossible: create broad congressional bi-partisanship. In this case, against the withdrawal.

Yesterday the House voted on a resolution opposing President Trump’s withdrawal from northern Syria and noting the mayhem that has resulted. The House voted 354 to 60 for the resolution. Lopsided votes like that don’t come around often in this heated partisan era.

While Democrats voted 225-0, which was no surprise, Republicans also voted in favor of the rebuke, 129-60, and they included Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whip Steve Scalise and Conference Chair Liz Cheney. National security experts Mac Thornberry, former Chairman of the Armed Services Committee; top Foreign Affairs Republican Michael McCaul ; and rising star and Marine veteran Michael Gallagher also opposed the President. The magnitude of the vote suggests comparable majorities when the resolution hits the Senate floor.

There are no good political nor military options for the president and as this is written, Secretary of State Pompeo and Vice-President Pence have been dispatched to Turkey to try to convince it to end its invasion. Good luck.

Up until now, Republicans (and this page) have generally stayed allied to this president as the potential alternatives are not alternatives.

But this Syrian blunder leads even the most staunch Trump supporter to ask whether Mr. Trump is up to the task of Commander-in-Chief.

-I.M. Windee