Foreign Policy Trade

Trump’s Limp Sanctions On Turkey Never Even Landed

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump threatened to "destroy" Turkey's economy if they invade Kurdish territory -- even though his actions made it possible in the first place -- and his apparent method for achieving that was to increase his tariffs on Turkish metal from 25 to 50 percent.

That would not have inflicted substantial damage to Turkey's economy in any case, but now it literally won't cause any damage at all because Trump lifted his (threat to impose) sanctions before they even hit the books as part of his fake ceasefire.

The agreement, announced by Vice President Pence after hours of negotiations, appeared to hand Turkey’s leader most of what he sought when his military launched an assault on northeastern Syria just over a week ago: the expulsion of Syrian Kurdish militias from the border and the removal of a U.S. threat to impose sanctions on Turkey’s vulnerable economy.

Pence said Turkey had agreed to pause its offensive for five days while the United States helped facilitate the withdrawal of ­Kurdish-led forces, called the ­Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), from a large swath of territory stretching from Turkey’s border nearly 20 miles south into Syria. After the completion of the Kurdish withdrawal, Turkey’s military operation, which began Oct. 9, would be “halted entirely,” Pence said.

If Trump's decision to abandon the Kurds and greenlight Turkey's invasion was a betrayal (it was), I don't even know what word to use for this fake ceasefire.

Although we no longer defend or speak for them, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Turkey where they more or less surrendered on behalf of ethnic Kurds who've been given an ultimatum to flee the homes they fought for. The lands and towns they live in were the location of some of the first fights in the campaign against ISIS and now Turkey is coming to take it away from them. And we've endorsed Turkey's plans!

Pence even referred to the land as a "safe zone" which is explicitly not safe for an ethnic group.

There have been many foreign policy blunders under Trump, from the big to small, but right now I can't think of anything worse than this. The American betrayal of the Kurds won't be forgotten for the next hundred years.

Fighting continued on the ground along the border between Turkey and Kurdish territory this morning. Kurdish forces say Turkey is violating the ceasefire, but Turkey says there is no ceasefire anyway. So, in conclusion, Trump is a chump.

  • It’s kind of funny (in an ironic way). I think most of us expected Trump’s biggest foreign policy failure to be getting us INTO a war. With Iran. With North Korea. Even China. Because he’s a big dumb idiot. (And, to be clear, he could still do this.)

    But I don’t think anyone would have bet on “pulling American troops from a trouble spot, betraying a loyal and vulnerable ally, allowing a genocide to occur.”

  • muselet

    The American betrayal of the Kurds won’t be forgotten for the next hundred years.

    Make that two hundred years and you’ll be closer to the mark.

    –alopecia

  • mnpollio

    A great day for fascism and Vlad Putin, but isn’t that always the case with Trump? And did anyone hear his nonsense speech on what a victory this was “for civilization”! If he pats himself on the back for made-up bilge much harder, he may knock himself to the ground. On second thought, Mr. Trump, walk to the edge of a cliff and start your self-back-patting.