<strong>Trump’s Disregard for America’s Allies Has Many Worried</strong>

Trump’s Disregard for America’s Allies Has Many Worried

© David Burton 2020

Trump Abandons Allies

     Following the abrupt announcement from Donald Trump that the U.S. was pulling troops from northern Syria, it was reported that Turkey was planning a long-term genocidal campaign against the Kurds, who believe President Trump gave the plan a "green light".

     Events rapidly unfolded after the surprise declaration. On Sunday, 5 October 2019, Trump announced that the United States would be pulling troops from northern Syria, an area occupied by the Kurds, who are American allies. Just three days later, Turkey announced they would be invading the region, while eyewitness reports said bombings had started the day before. On Friday, it was announced that Turkey had bombed an area near U.S. Special Forces in spite of the fact that the Turkish government knew full well the locations of all U.S. troops in the area.[1]

     “Several years ago, the United States hired Kurdish fighters to be our mercenaries in Syria. This month we decided we don’t need them anymore, and abandoned them to their fate. Turkey, which considers Kurdish militancy a mortal threat, quickly began bombing them.  . . . The United States deserves condemnation for abandoning its promise to the Kurds. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “. . . The country that Syrian Kurds wanted to carve out for themselves {in northern Syria}, which they called ‘Rojava,’ did not have nearly the size, population, or military strength to survive in the unforgiving Middle East. Kurdish leaders understood this, but believed they would thrive anyway because their American friends would defend them. That was a pitifully naive miscalculation. The United States has repeatedly made lavish promises to the Kurds and then betrayed them — most notably in the 1970s, when we encouraged Iraqi Kurds to rebel against Saddam Hussein’s government and then abandoned them when Saddam made an accommodation with our ally, the Shah of Iran. . .
     “Although the Kurds did not foresee this betrayal, Assad did. ‘We say to those groups who are betting on the Americans, the Americans will not protect you,’ [Emphasis mine] he warned . . . The Kurds should have listened. In fact, seeking Assad’s protection was always their Plan B. Now, very late in the game and after taking thousands of casualties fighting for their alluring but unfaithful American ‘friends,’ they are doing it. They have effectively surrendered to the Syrian army and asked for its help in defense against Turkey, which thought it had a chance to crush them and establish itself as the de facto ruler of ‘Rojava.’ The Kurds’ alliance with the United States was doomed from the start. Alliance with Assad makes more sense. He may not be the world’s most reliable ally, but he is more trustworthy than the feckless United States. [Emphasis mine]
     “With the signing of this week’s temporary cease-fire, which only seems to clear the way for Turkish-sponsored ethnic cleansing of the Rojava region, Kurds urgently need a new protector. Facing an array of unpalatable options, they have concluded that Assad is the least bad choice.” (Ref. 2)

     Trump’s abandonment of America's ally, the Kurds, sent immediate shock waves throughout the region, as well as in the United States and elsewhere. However, it really should not have surprised anyone that Trump had given the green light to Turkey for a military incursion aimed at sweeping Kurdish forces out of northern Syria. Trump’s America First philosophy was obvious and he had shown that he wanted to cut and run from the conflict in Syria once the ISIS terrorists that he had vowed to defeat were beaten. Moreover, he campaigned for the presidency by promising to end U.S. involvement in the wars of the Middle East. On top of all that, he demonstrated little sympathy for the plight of small nations and peoples who were threatened by their larger neighbors.[3] The records show that Donald Trump has never demonstrated any empathy for anyone but himself.

     As the nations of the Middle East assessed the long-term implications of the tragedy in northern Syria, the question being bandied about was whether this would leave Israel and the regional Arab states at the tender mercies of the Islamic Clerics of Tehran in the same way Trump betrayed the Kurds after they proved to be courageous and invaluable allies in the struggle against ISIS.[3]

     “Letting Turkey have its way in Syria at the expense of the Kurds isn’t just an atrocity in the making, but a huge gift to one of the worst actors in the region: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan and his Islamist party are working to destroy the last vestiges of Turkish democracy, rendering the country unfit for continued membership in the NATO alliance. He’s also a virulent anti-Semite and enemy of Israel, who would—if he is allowed more influence in the region—inflame the conflict with the Palestinians and undermine efforts to create an alliance between the Jewish State and the Arab regimes that are threatened by Iran. Nor is it possible to believe that this American favor to Turkey will cause Ankara to help isolate Iran.
     “Moreover, the betrayal of the Kurds isn’t just immoral. It strips the United States of any credibility for those nations that look to America as a counterweight to the influence of Iran and Russia’s efforts to recreate the old Soviet sphere of influence.
     “Trump’s promise that he will stop Turkey from abusing the Kurds is disingenuous. If he pulls out U.S. troops from the region, how {would} he keep his word? The answer is that he {could not}, and his comments about Syria not being America’s fight {gave} the lie to his assurances.
      - - -
     “{By} following the isolationist logic of ‘America First,’ he seems to be . . . appeasing Iran. That is a tragedy for the Kurds, for American honor and certainly for the rest of the Middle East. ” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 3)

     “After an eight-year war against Syria and ISIS, the Kurds, who for years were America’s main ally on the ground in Syria, have rightfully expressed that President Trump’s decision to pull forces out of the way was a ‘stab in the back.’ [Emphasis mine]
     “The Kurds have played a leading role in capturing territory from the Islamic State, and they {held} the largest swathe of Syria outside of Bashar al-Assad’s government’s hands.
     “But because of Trump’s double-cross, {they were} forced to call on Assad to send in Syrian government troops. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “The Kurdish people are the largest stateless ethnicity in the world, estimated at 30-45 million worldwide, with the majority residing in historic Kurdistan. The area the Kurds consider Kurdistan include, parts of south-eastern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan), northern Syria (Western Kurdistan), northern Iraq (Southern Kurdistan), and north-western Iran (Eastern Kurdistan). The Turks, Syrians, Iraqis, and Iranians have all oppressed their Kurdish populations.
     “The Kurds . . . are a real historic, indigenous people – not a late-20th-century invention to deceive the world. . .
      - - -
     “It appears {that America} blew it in 2003. {We} should have carved Iraq into three areas . . . a Kurdish north, Sunni center, and Shiite south. {We} should have offered the Kurds independence almost immediately. Then {we} would have had a strong regional ally and bulwark against Iran . . .
     “{We} seem to be missing the boat of opportunity again, with regards to the Kurds.
     “Trump is wrong on this one . . . !” (Ref. 4)

     Here in the United States, the abrupt abandonment of the Kurds to the tender mercies of the Erdogan led Turks by President Trump led to vociferous and justified denunciation by politicians of both major parties.

     “Republicans and Democrats in the House, bitterly divided over the Trump impeachment inquiry, banded together for an overwhelming 354-60 denunciation of the U.S. troop withdrawal. [Emphasis mine]
     “Many lawmakers expressed worry that the withdrawal {would} lead to revival of ISIS as well as Russian presence and influence in the area — in addition to the slaughter of many Kurds.
     “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., publicly broke with Trump [Emphasis mine] . . . {With friends like Donald Trump, who needs enemies?}
      - - -
     “The withdrawal is the worst decision of Trump’s presidency, said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who meets often with the president and is one of his strongest and most important supporters in Congress.
     “ ‘To those who think the Mideast doesn’t matter to America, remember 9/11 — we had that same attitude on 9/10/2001,’ Graham said.
     “In public appearances, Trump said he was fulfilling a campaign promise to bring U.S. troops home from ‘endless wars’ in the Middle East — casting aside criticism that a sudden U.S. withdrawal from Syria betrays the Kurdish fighters, stains U.S. credibility around the world and opens an important region to Russia.(Ref. 5)

     “In retrospect, no one should {have been} shocked by the news that the United States {gave} the green light to Turkey for a military incursion aimed at sweeping Kurdish forces out of northern Syria. Trump {was} very clear about wanting to cut and run from the conflict in Syria once the ISIS terrorists that he had vowed to defeat were beaten.
     “But while this desire to avoid American involvement in wars like the intractable conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan {lay} at the heart of his ‘America First’ foreign policy, there have always been two exceptions to his neo-isolationist instincts: Israel and Iran. The question . . . as the region {assessed} the long-term implications of the tragedy that {unfolded} in northern Syria {was} whether this {would} leave Israel, as well as the regional Arab states, to the tender mercies of Tehran and its allies the same way he . . . betrayed the Kurds after they proved to be courageous and invaluable allies in the struggle against ISIS.
     “Trump {inadvisably thinks} that the plight of the Kurds is simply not his problem.  . . .
      - - -
     “{For instance, the} Gulf states, {are} scared stiff that Trump will leave them on their own to face Iran.
     “Trump is a volatile and inconsistent foreign-policy player . . . By following the isolationist logic of ‘America First,’ he seems to be repeating his predecessor’s mistake in bugging out of Iraq and once again appeasing Iran. That is a tragedy for the Kurds, for American honor and certainly for the rest of the Middle East.” (Ref. 6)

     Donald Trump’s abandonment of our Kurdish allies in northern Syria was rash and, most importantly, simply wrong! Immediately upon Trumps’ giving Turkey’s undeclared dictator Tayyip Erdogan the green light, Turkey started bombing Kurdish military and civilian areas in Syria. Within a few days, Erdogan claimed to have killed hundreds of people and he’s undoubtably undercounting the civilian deaths. It immediately became apparent that America urgently needed to stop Turkey’s massacre in Syria and protect the Kurds. Trump issued meaningless words and threats but refrained from any effective action. Trump should have never allowed Turkey to use its massive military power to attack the Kurds in northern Syria in what could turn out to be a repeat of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
     Was it important that we — America — protect the Kurds?
     The most important reason is that it’s simply wrong - morally and ethically. Turkey wants to kill thousands of people whose “crime” is that they frighten a dictator. America is supposed to be morally opposed to mass murder.
     The Kurds have been critical American allies. We provided aid and air support, but the Kurds defeated ISIS on the ground. Tens of thousands of Kurds died fighting ISIS, but only six Americans. They died fighting on America’s behalf. We owe them better than to cut and run and leave them virtually defenseless.
     Because of the Trump pull back, the value of being an American ally drops to zero. If we betray our allies at one person’s whim, why should anybody join with us in the future?
     The Turkish invasion . . . in Syria, coupled with a retreat of America from the region will further destabilize the Middle-East which is already a tinderbox. Iran will be further emboldened to seek supremacy in the region. Turkey and Syria continue moving further into the Russian sphere, Russian influence will surge at the expense of American and Western European interests.[7]

     The ongoing attempts at ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by the Turkish regime now in power resurrects memories of the Armenian Genocide committed by the Turks a little over a century ago. This was the Ottoman Turk government's systematic extermination of 700,000 to 1.5 million Armenians.[8] Few doubt that today’s brutal Erdogan regime is capable of repeating this act of extermination.

     Near the end of October 2019, the two despotic leaders of Russia and Turkey agreed to jointly patrol parts of Syria that were, until recently, controlled by Kurdish forces. Make careful note of the fact that the deal was made by two less-than-democratic regimes. The United States was not party to the deal. Neither were the Kurds! With Donald Trump’s actions, he has signaled that America is relinquishing its role in the Middle East to power-hungry nations and leaders that have demonstrated absolutely no concern for human rights, real democracy, or the rights of other nations and peoples in the region. Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iran are now threatening the peace of the entire region and forcing other countries there to re-examine their alliances and agreements. These other nations no longer can trust the United States to stand with them in the face of naked aggression and terrorism.

     “The new Russia-Turkey agreement is widely seen as a victory for Russia [Emphasis mine] and represents a swift shift in control of the northern territories in Syria. Russians are replacing U.S. troops that patrolled this area of war-torn Syria for years. The dramatic change began when the White House announced . . . that Turkey was moving ahead with a ‘long-planned operation into Northern Syria,’ . . . That decision effectively abandoned America’s Kurdish allies. [Emphasis mine] . . .
     “. . . the U.S. decision led to a hasty change in alliances: Kurdish troops struck an alliance with the Syrian regime, which is backed by both Russia and Iran. The move to withdraw U.S. forces has angered lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.” (Ref. 9) America’s abandonment forced the Kurds to ally themselves with the three most repressive regimes in the region – Iran, Turkey and Russia!

     It turns out that abandonment of a long-standing American ally, the Kurds, is not the only ally for whom Donald Trump has shown total disregard. During his impeachment hearings in November of 2019, it was disclosed that trump had withheld badly needed military aid from the Ukraine in its ongoing struggle against Russia.

     Trump’s actions were quickly called to attention by the Lebanese terrorist organization, Hezbollah which warned against placing trust in the United States, emphasizing that Washington cannot be trusted at all as it betrays its own allies and does not stand committed to any agreement.

     “No one can rely on (the United States of) America and an agreement struck with it because of the latter’s disloyalty and treachery,” said the secretary general of Lebanese Hezbollah in an address to supporters in a televised speech at Sayed al-Shohadaa Complex in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut. He pointed to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from northeastern Syria, saying, “America broke faith with Kurds at once, and abandoned them. Such a fate awaits anyone who trusts Washington.” (Ref. 10)

     On another front, French President Emmanuel Macron took note of America’s apparent betrayal of its long-time friends. “The French president {had} been pushing hard for Europe to build up its own defense capacity and a more independent foreign policy, rather than rely on the U.S. and NATO alone.   . . .
      - - -
     “ ‘What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,’ Macron said. He described fading U.S. commitment and lack of consultation – especially under President Donald Trump – as undermining the foundations of the alliance and forcing Europe to rethink its security.
      - - -
     “ ‘Will he,’ Macron asked of Trump, ‘be prepared to activate solidarity? If something happens at our borders? It’s a real question.’
      - - -
     “. . . Trump has pushed traditional allies away in pursing his ‘America First’ agenda. He has called the European Union a ‘foe,’ which is ‘almost as bad as China, just smaller,’ . . .
      - - -
     “ ‘You have partners together in the same part of the world, and you have no coordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its NATO allies,’ Macron said, in a reference to Trump’s recent decision to green light Turkey’s operation in Syria, by withdrawing U.S. troops from the target area. ‘You have an uncoordinated aggressive action by another NATO ally, Turkey, in an area where our interests are at stake.’ “ (Ref. 11)

     President Trump’s blatant disregard of American allies such as the Kurds and Ukraine poses significant future problems in today’s troubled world. As we entered the election year of 2020, “There was a lot for diplomats and policymakers to consider when they gathered at a recent global security conference in Munich: China rising, Russia meddling, Germany weakening. But the inescapable question — the one that might change the world most immediately for Europe — was whether President Trump would win re-election in November.
     “Rightly or wrongly, the consensus among European diplomats and analysts is that Mr. Trump is likely to get a second term. But there was also consensus that such an event would be a significant part of a drastic, and potentially permanent, shift in global affairs for which Europe remains woefully unprepared.
      - - -
     “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s admonishment to the Europeans to accept American leadership and ‘reality’ was met at the conference with stony silence. Traditional American allies were far from assured that they would be able to depend on the United States in another Trump term. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “Many expect that divide will only widen if Mr. Trump remains in office.
      - - -
     “A second term could leave Mr. Trump feeling ever freer and more empowered to pursue his every whim in global affairs, diplomats and analysts said.
     “That could include what some consider to be the very real possibility of withdrawing the United States from the NATO alliance that has kept peace in Europe for more than 70 years.
     “ ‘Trust in the United States would be abysmally low, and his re-election would undermine the alliance in two ways . . . First, he doesn’t believe in alliances, but he is also very unpredictable. No one, including Trump, has any idea where he will take any of this, and the unpredictability increases the unreliability.’
     “Many anticipate a collapse in the already eroding trust in American leadership and credibility. [Emphasis mine]
     “Mr. Trump has questioned the American commitment to NATO. ‘That has been corrosive to the underlying trust among allies . . . That might be reversible after one term, but eight years of Trump would be deeply damaging.’
      - - -
     “A second Trump term ‘will be four more years of ‘America First . . . Europe would realize more than before that it has to fend for itself.’
      - - -
     “Even the German president . . . while criticizing his own country’s moral sanctimony, blasted Mr. Trump’s unilateralism as deeply damaging to the alliance.
     “ ‘Great again,’ even at the expense of neighbors and partners,’ . . . referring to the campaign slogan that propelled Mr. Trump to the presidency. ‘Thinking and acting this way hurts us all’ . . . it produced more mistrust, more armament, less security.’
      - - -
     “Europeans . . . might band together more effectively to try to balance the United States . . . or they might ‘choose another side,’ moving closer to Moscow and Beijing, fearing loss of exports and instability in the Middle East.” (Ref. 12)

     Again in 2020, President Trump has shown himself to be a totally unreliable friend. He has undertaken negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan while excluding our long time ally, the government of Afghanistan, in any of the negotiations. “Diplomatic resolution requires buy in from all parties and cannot circumvent major stakeholders like the Afghan national government. Not only have talks excluded the administration of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, they have also denied the Afghan government an improved bargaining position by rushing ahead during a fraught election process. Such casual mistreatment of a partner could have enduring consequences. [Emphasis mine]
     “Although it possesses considerable hard-power advantages, American strength relies on international partnerships. When the poor state of U.S. leadership leaves even ardent allies questioning the feasibility of cooperation, American condescension and potential abandonment of Afghanistan does significant damage to its trustworthiness abroad. [Emphasis mine]
     “Beyond discrediting the United States as a reliable partner, such actions expedite the formation of sub-state, anti-Taliban armed groups. By taking up arms, vulnerable populations demonstrate their growing insecurity, directly fueled by the sidelining of the Afghan government and the emphasis on withdrawal. In light of the poor track record of demobilization efforts, such groups have the potential to ignite a civil war beyond even the magnitude of the current crisis.” (Ref. 13)

     Donald Trump’s Disregard for anyone but himself is a fact of life. Donald Trump's disregard of American security alliances and his abandonment of America’s Allies is not in America's interest. His bahavior and his precipitous actions have many here in the United States, as well as others around the world, justifiably worried.


  1. NBC reporter: Kurds believe Trump 'gave the green light' for Turkey to commit genocide,
    John Gage, Washington Examiner, 12 October 2019.
  2. Condemning Trump on Syria? It’s ‘buffet outrage’, Stephen Kinzer, Boston Sunday Globe, Page K3, 20 October 2019.
  3. The dark side of ‘America First’ should worry Israel, Jonathan S. Tobin, The Jewish Journal, Page 9, 9 October 2019.
  4. Kurdish Lives Matter! Israel Must Support the Kurds!, Ariel Natan Pasko, United With Israel, 16 October 2019.
  5. Trump receives bipartisan rebuke from US House over abandonment of Kurds, Associated Press, World Israel News, 17 October 2019.
  6. The dark side of ‘America First’ should worry Israel, Jonathan S. Tobin, The Jewish Advocate, Page 7, 18 October 2019.
  7. Protect the Kurds; Turkey is attacking, Chockamo, Three String Raconteur, 9 October 2019.
  8. Armenian Genocide, Wikipedia, Accessed 20 October 2019.
  9. Turkey, Russia Reach Deal To Control Syrian Areas Once Patrolled By The U.S.,
    Brakkton Booker, wuft.org, 22 October 2019.
  10. America can’t be trusted at all; it stabs own allies in the back: Nasrallah, presstv.com,
    9 October 2019.
  11. Trump’s neglect of US allies is killing NATO, Macron says, Marc Champion,
    Arne Delfs and Helene Fouquet, detroitnews.com, 7 November 2019.
  12. What if Trump Wins? Europeans Fear a More Permanent Shift Against Them,
    Steven Erlanger, The New York Times, 18 February 2020.
  13. Crossroads Afghanistan: Alternatives to a Forlorn Deal, Karl Nicolas Lindenlaub, thestrategybridge.org, 10 February 2020.


  26 March 2020 {Article 406; Undecided_63}    
Go back to the top of the page