One way to look at Future Ex-President Trump’s removal of troops from Syria is that the cabal involving Russia, Syria and Iran convinced him that it was “time” to get out. This point of view treats him merely like a fool, and it is by all accounts the most charitable view.
The Kurds were stifling ISIS. Within a day, the Turks moved on the Kurd territory, driving them out and opening a lane for ISIS to move. His response was that ISIS won’t bother us – they’ll go to Europe. Evidently, when Al Qaeda knocked down the Twin Towers, it inadvertently forgot to retake the Alhambra. Not going to make that mistake again!
There are other, more sinister ways of looking at Trump’s decision to set free the turkeys but that would be the stuff of conspiracy and who needs a stuffed Turkey in October? Let’s give Trump the benefit of the doubt for the moment- that he is merely a fool.
Then this is the moment we’ve been waiting for! The moment when the consequences of Trump’s impulsive ignorance are recognizable immediately. The signal that US troops were going home triggered an instant shift in the Middle East, with Iran, his bete-noir, the most likely beneficiary of the move. More than ever, the appropriate question is: what was he thinking? We don’t know, possibly will not know for many years, with his thoughts squirreled away in that private server we think of as the Stable Genius Stable.
I wonder if there was input from the CIA – if it was involved in the decision. Or the Defense Department; if we still have a Defense Department. Or Mike Pompeo, that one-man band at State. The question for Pompeo is whether he can walk, chew gum, eaves-drop on a call with Volodymyr Zelenskyy and analyze the complexities of Asia Minor and the Middle East at the same time. The presumptive answer is, “Are you kidding?”
Everybody else has left the building. Mattis, McMaster, Kelly, Bolton. I’ve never had high praise for John Bolton – Dr. Strangelove without the disabilities – but within the Trump bunch, he may have been principled – a radical hawk, but a principled one – if there is such a thing.
When Trump cleared out the State Department, then the National Security Council, and let all the advisers go, that leaves no watchdogs, nobody to tell the president that all the screws are now loose, and the engine is starting to vibrate off its mounts.
When that engine, the American nation, drops from the chassis and screeches hot metal against asphalt until the entire vehicle stops dead, that’s the time when we will miss our national apparatus; our redundancies – at State and Defense, NSA, ambassadors and spies, domestic investigators. And for good measure, WHISTLEBLOWERS. Trump calls it the Deep State and deplores it, but the federal government, massive by necessity and preferably rich in information and experience, prevents the kind of disasters that an ignorant despot can cause at will. And he will.