Turkey has launched a military campaign against the Kurds in Syria, as critics on both sides of America’s political divide warned would happen when President Donald Trump announced a troop withdrawal from the country, but Trump seemed unconcerned during a Wednesday news conference. The Kurds have been stalwart American allies in a long fight against the Islamic State, and before that during America’s long occupation of Iraq, but Trump was little concerned with their fate. After all, Trump pointed out, the Kurds “didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us at Normandy.”
Trump added “With all of that being said, we like the Kurds,” and said it would be “easy” to find new allies if needed, but some countries will surely be more reluctant to trust in America’s promises of friendship. Given how shabbily Trump has treated the leaders of Australia and Canada, countries that did fight and die with America on D-Day and have pitched in on all of America’s recent Middle Eastern wars, merely maintaining old friendships will be more difficult.
As a real estate and casino mogul Trump well known for not honoring contracts and leaving business partners deep in debt as he emerged from seven corporate bankruptcies unscathed, and he seems intent on giving America the same bad reputation. We weren’t fans of the Paris Climate Accord or the Iranian nuclear deal or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but when Trump unilaterally withdrew from all three he made clear that America is no longer bound by its word, and so far the great dealmaker hasn’t negotiated anything better. Some of Trump’s immigration policies also flout international treaty obligations regarding asylum-seekers, and he’s tried to turn the NATO and SEATO alliances that been the bulwark of post-war American security into protection rackets.
Trump demands complete loyalty from everyone, but he’s been disloyal to all three of his wives and has defenestrated an unprecedented number of administration officials as well as a currently imprisoned personal lawyer. So long as he’s president America’s current and potential allies shouldn’t expect any better.
— Bud Norman