Trump’s “They Didn’t Help Us During the Second World War.” Comment is an Embarrassment to America.
On October 9th, 2019, I have added yet another moment to the list of moments that have left me face palming in response to a presidential comment. In this circumstance, this was President Trump grasping at metaphorical straws to justify abandoning the U.S.’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria. This spat of Trump’s foolish attempts to defend his policy decision to pull back troops from the northern Syrian border to allow the Turkish military to attack the Kurds comes in the wake of swaths of bipartisan condemnation. One of the many different justifications that Trump has given was to downplay the alliance the U.S. has with the Kurds stating, “ They didn’t help us in the second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy for example,”.
I am just going to begin with this article of condemnation towards Trump and just rip that statement. First off, I shouldn’t even have to justify how stupid of an argument this is, or even have to fact check this statement. However, since this seems to be the state of politics that we exist in today, here we go. There wasn’t a state, nation, organization, institution, etc. for the Kurds to even organize through to even say that they helped against the Axis powers in WWII. Secondly, parts of Kurdish lands were under control of the French and British at the time so contrary to what Trump says, their possibly could have been Kurds serving as colonial or commonwealth soldiers in the war. Apart from this potential role, there wasn’t exactly a role in which the Kurds could play a role in that war. But this example of Trump using historical and outdated reasoning isn’t unusual. Look at the example of justifying laying aluminum and steel tariffs on Canada citing the War of 1812 as a national security concern.
Now what is known for certain is that the Kurds were extremely important allies in the fight against ISIS. Especially when you compare their role versus Turkey’s role in the fight against ISIS. In Syria at least, the Kurds have been the our strongest ally in Syria in the fight against ISIS losing around 11,000 men when hardly any other power besides Iraq (due to ISIS becoming a quintessential existential crisis for them), is barely willing to do anything to fight against the ISIS Caliphate. The Kurds have even gone further then just fighting and are now acting to some extent as the peacekeepers in formerly IS occupied areas running the prison camps where thousands of former IS fighters await trial.
Let’s look at Turkey’s role in the ISIS conflict as an ally. Throughout the war, Turkey has been admirable in the fact that they have been patient and willing enough to absorb a significant portion of the humanitarian cost of the conflict by hosting refugee camps within it’s borders. I will certainly give them credit in that regard, however let’s look at what Turkey has utterly failed at during the conflict. Turkey was the greatest trade route for ISIS during the terrorist group’s rise. Turkey’s border was infamously known internationally as having one of the most porous borders with flows of supplies and recruits flowing into Iraq and Syria, and black market goods, oil, and cash flowing out. Turkey’s actual engagement with ISIS fighters has been limited at most. In this regard, they have utterly failed in comparison to the YPG.
America has gone to war before over interests that weren’t our own. We’ve been to war for people that we weren’t allies with before. President needs to quit playing 18th century politics of isolationism and be honest with the facts of the modern world. What should happen if god forbid that that the United Kingdom were attacked? Would Trump not hold up our commitments to our British allies because they fought us in War of 1812 or they fought up in the Revolutionary War? Would he abandon Germany because they fought against us at Normandy? This president has been a complete failure and an embarrassment in this regard.
50 U.S. soldiers may not make a difference if war breaks out between Turkey and the Kurds, but everyone could know for a fact that Turkey would not move a finger towards the Kurds while we were there. There is something that President Trump should know about the different tools that area available to governments in foreign policy. One of those tools is the use of deterrence and those 50 U.S. soldiers were the deterrence in this case. The mere presence of a small group of soldiers can be enough to prevent a larger conflict. For example, the U.S. keeps a sizable deterrent force(but still smaller then would be necessary in actual war) in South Korea, because that token force keeps conflict at bay. President Trump, please pay attention to successful strategies that the U.S. has already enacted.
Now the results of this are going to be what? It’s unlikely that the YPG is ever going to work with the U.S. again. This is the third time they have been betrayed by the U.S. when they needed us the most. The biggest power fighting ISIS in Syria is now being taken out of the conflict and will probably join with Assad and Russia. There’s a potential for thousands of ISIS prisoners to be released and quite possibly rearm and then have that conflict flare again. Erdogan, a terrible and brutal autocrat, is going to receive a publicity boost that his party has been desperately needing and will help to entrench his power. For what? 50 U.S. soldiers and because Trump can’t admit he has messed up. This was a strategic blunder plainly. Shame on Trump for failing to admit his mistake and to attempt to slander our allies for his ego.