In 2017, I gave a lecture at the Institute of World Politics about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s dreams for … More
In 2013, the Turks, a NATO partner, wanted access to U.S. Patriot missile defenses to protect against any spillover from the Syrian Civil War. The Obama Administration refused. Since that point, U.S.-Turkish relations have collapsed and NATO has quietly broken because of this. The recent Turkish invasion of Syria merely highlights this fact.
The Syrian Kurds worked with the US against ISIS. That alliance ended the moment the fight against ISIS did. As England’s Lord Palmerston said, “Nations have no permanent friends or allies; they only have permanent interests.”
Turkey’s return to a small strip of northern Syria is not historically new. And Turkey’s presence just might complicate Iranian ambitions for expanding beyond their territory into the Levant.
“I have firm faith that the Kurds will one day get their independence. The day for that is not now. The best solution for the benighted Kurds would be to hunker down in their enclaves and lie in wait until their host nations – particularly those in Syria, Iran, and Turkey – become weak and unable to prevent the call for Kurdish independence. President Trump has made the right decision to acquiesce to the brutal autocrats in Turkey on the matter of the Kurds, if only because the United States needs autocratic Turkey to balance against Russia, China, and Iran more than it needs the Kurds at present.”
“If Iran is the threat that many in the Trump Administration believe it to be, and if American military power is no longer as effective in the region as everyone previously thought, then why not step back, reserve the right to attack any foe that may arise in Syria at a later date, and seek to make nice with the weaker members of this new Russo-Iranian-Turkish alliance?”
“Fact is, the American mission in Syria is almost over. ISIS has been physically decimated there. Al-Nusra and other groups are weak and will likely soon be finished off by the Russo-Iranian-Assad-Turkey alliance. We have thus far lost nothing in Syria. Going for broke and allowing for mission creep to set in, converting the limited American mission in Syria into a limitless campaign against either Iran or Russia would mean committing the United States to a world war that will eventuate in a nuclear exchange. “
“If Trump does what Bolton and the others are warning, then America will look weak and it will become mired in another Iraq War. What’s more, threatening a world war with nuclear-armed Russia over humanitarian interests is a foolish endeavor of the sort usually reserved for navel-gazing academics, like former UN ambassador Samantha Powers, not a freewheeling businessman, like Donald Trump. “
“This is the endless treadmill that the civilised world is on: Libyans (and others like them) disturb the peace of the world. In turn, the West tries to kill those who would impose their will on others (because the others include us).
It is a recurrent police action and no more than that is needed; it is pointless to stay around to do some nation-building – the mistake of Afghanistan.”
“Syria’s proximity to Europe is also beneficial because the Chinese are seeking to not only tie together as much of Eurasia as possible through trade, but they want to do so in a way that a) undermines the influence of the United States and b) reduces the military threat the United States poses to Chinese interests.”