President Donald Trump has finally managed to do something so egregious that some key Republican colleagues have taken the near-unprecedented step of… criticizing him.
What possibly could have caused them to discover their spines and publicly, forcefully — and, it must be said, laudably — break their lockstep with the President and call him out? A foreign policy blunder by the President that exposes a key, ISIS-fighting ally to significant peril. But for these Republicans who have stepped forward to decry his move, there is likely a depressing political calculation at work here as well.
To begin, the President has thrown American foreign policy into chaos once again — impulsively and recklessly, this time in Syria. After a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump announced on Sunday that he would pull troops from the Turkish border with northern Syria. Turkey has made clear it will invade and obliterate the Syrian Kurds, America’s allies, who Turkey views as terrorists.
This means Trump has effectively abandoned the Kurds to their fate — the Kurds, the ones who have fought valiantly and effectively alongside American interests, helping to break up ISIS power. This action opens the door for other nefarious actors in the region, too, from Russia to Iran to Assadist fighters to ISIS.