The Kurds' conundrum

The Democrats and NeverTrumps are denouncing President Trump's policy on the Kurds in Syria.  Their narrative can be believed only by those ignorant of history.  In today's America, that is a whole lot of people.  Education is a lost art.

Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952.  President Trump has been accused of subverting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but he is the only world leader taking it seriously.  The Turks' alliance with the United States is not chopped liver.  Turks fought alongside American troops in some of the most savage fighting in Korea.  They sweated out the Cold War on our side, refusing to accommodate the Soviet Union, which was much closer to them, with a demonstrated track record of viciousness.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is no friend of America or liberty, but Erdoğan is not immortal.  Nor is Erdoğan Turkey.  The recent municipal elections in Turkey suggest that his latest Syrian incursion is a last-ditch political ploy — a ploy that is not likely to save him politically.  The United States owes a degree of loyalty to the Turks at least equal to our loyalty to the Kurds.  We owe Erdoğan nothing.

No Democrat or NeverTrump has revealed any treaty between the United States and the Kurds.  There isn't any.  They expend a lot of hot air claiming that President Trump's foreign policy is rash and inchoate.  But they are fulminating because Trump is not attacking an ally to whom we are bound by treaties and traditions.  Trump is the one subscribing to international norms, not his detractors.

The news media claim that Trump's neutrality puts the Kurds in a bad spot.  Not so.  The Kurds have a a quality military force in Syria, which has been hardened and sharpened by years of warfare.  They are well supplied, and their recent agreement with the Syrian government will assure continued supplies.  The Russians have also become involved against the Turks, but they have no treaty with the Turks.  Putin just laid waste to his efforts to curry favor with the Turks.  This will have repercussions in the years to come.  Putin has screwed up, and the United States can benefit from his crude perfidy.

Erdoğan has purged his best generals over the last 15 years and replaced them with political sycophants.  This mismanagement worked well for Joe Stalin on the eve of World War II.  Stalin survived the Nazi onslaught only because America and England propped him up until he could regenerate the Red Army and its command structure.

No one is going to help Erdoğan regenerate the Turkish army and its command structure.  Turkish air power will rule open territory, but the Kurds will dominate the Turks in every city and village.  ISIS tore up Turkish armored units in 2016 with far less military aptitude.  The Kurds defeated ISIS.  The Kurds will fight the Turks to a bloody draw.  The Turkish military is going to be bled white.  It is only a shadow of its past self.  This will not help Erdoğan politically.  He will be gone soon.

The major problem the Kurds face is geographic.  Their territories have no deep-water ports or navigable rivers.  Their territories are islands among territories controlled by other ethnic groups.  They cannot create a viable nation-state, even if they unite (and they are riven with dissension).  President Trump cannot give them a maritime outlet.  The Kurds have to unite and strike a solid deal with someone who can provide them with one.  That is not the United States.  Without unity and a maritime outlet, any Kurdish state will be at the mercy of its neighbors.  And their part of the world is short on mercy.

The best possible outcome of the current mess is the Kurds striking a solid deal with one or more neighbors: Syria, Iraq, or post-Erdoğan Turkey.  The status quo ante was a frozen war that served no one well.  Trump's actions offer the possibility of bringing this mess to a relatively quick conclusion without abrogating international treaties.  The previous frozen war served no one's interests and would have resulted in far greater loss of life than the current conflict.

President Trump is the only adult on today's world stage.

The Democrats and NeverTrumps are denouncing President Trump's policy on the Kurds in Syria.  Their narrative can be believed only by those ignorant of history.  In today's America, that is a whole lot of people.  Education is a lost art.

Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952.  President Trump has been accused of subverting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but he is the only world leader taking it seriously.  The Turks' alliance with the United States is not chopped liver.  Turks fought alongside American troops in some of the most savage fighting in Korea.  They sweated out the Cold War on our side, refusing to accommodate the Soviet Union, which was much closer to them, with a demonstrated track record of viciousness.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is no friend of America or liberty, but Erdoğan is not immortal.  Nor is Erdoğan Turkey.  The recent municipal elections in Turkey suggest that his latest Syrian incursion is a last-ditch political ploy — a ploy that is not likely to save him politically.  The United States owes a degree of loyalty to the Turks at least equal to our loyalty to the Kurds.  We owe Erdoğan nothing.

No Democrat or NeverTrump has revealed any treaty between the United States and the Kurds.  There isn't any.  They expend a lot of hot air claiming that President Trump's foreign policy is rash and inchoate.  But they are fulminating because Trump is not attacking an ally to whom we are bound by treaties and traditions.  Trump is the one subscribing to international norms, not his detractors.

The news media claim that Trump's neutrality puts the Kurds in a bad spot.  Not so.  The Kurds have a a quality military force in Syria, which has been hardened and sharpened by years of warfare.  They are well supplied, and their recent agreement with the Syrian government will assure continued supplies.  The Russians have also become involved against the Turks, but they have no treaty with the Turks.  Putin just laid waste to his efforts to curry favor with the Turks.  This will have repercussions in the years to come.  Putin has screwed up, and the United States can benefit from his crude perfidy.

Erdoğan has purged his best generals over the last 15 years and replaced them with political sycophants.  This mismanagement worked well for Joe Stalin on the eve of World War II.  Stalin survived the Nazi onslaught only because America and England propped him up until he could regenerate the Red Army and its command structure.

No one is going to help Erdoğan regenerate the Turkish army and its command structure.  Turkish air power will rule open territory, but the Kurds will dominate the Turks in every city and village.  ISIS tore up Turkish armored units in 2016 with far less military aptitude.  The Kurds defeated ISIS.  The Kurds will fight the Turks to a bloody draw.  The Turkish military is going to be bled white.  It is only a shadow of its past self.  This will not help Erdoğan politically.  He will be gone soon.

The major problem the Kurds face is geographic.  Their territories have no deep-water ports or navigable rivers.  Their territories are islands among territories controlled by other ethnic groups.  They cannot create a viable nation-state, even if they unite (and they are riven with dissension).  President Trump cannot give them a maritime outlet.  The Kurds have to unite and strike a solid deal with someone who can provide them with one.  That is not the United States.  Without unity and a maritime outlet, any Kurdish state will be at the mercy of its neighbors.  And their part of the world is short on mercy.

The best possible outcome of the current mess is the Kurds striking a solid deal with one or more neighbors: Syria, Iraq, or post-Erdoğan Turkey.  The status quo ante was a frozen war that served no one well.  Trump's actions offer the possibility of bringing this mess to a relatively quick conclusion without abrogating international treaties.  The previous frozen war served no one's interests and would have resulted in far greater loss of life than the current conflict.

President Trump is the only adult on today's world stage.