Well, that was a bad idea.
Against the better judgment of just about everyone in the country, President Trump pulled American troops from positions in Syria that are occupied by Kurdish forces, which have been our allies in the war against ISIS.
Turkey hates the Kurds, and assured Trump that Turkey’s only interest was to establish a safe zone to return the millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey to their own country. No one believe it but Trump. And now that Turkey has invaded Syria and Turkish troops were caught on video assassinating Kurdish prisoners, Trump is rethinking his decision.
Apparently the U.S. president is about to impose sanctions on Turkey.
Using the U.S. military to stop the Turkish offensive on U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters was never an option, defense officials have said, and Trump asked the Pentagon on Sunday to begin a “deliberate” withdrawal of all U.S. troops from northern Syria.
After Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday that Trump had authorized “very powerful” new sanctions targeting Turkey, the administration appeared ready to start making good on Trump’s threat to obliterate Turkey’s economy.
On Sunday, Trump said he was listening to Congress, where Republicans and Democrats are pushing aggressively for sanctions action.
“Dealing with @LindseyGrahamSC and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey.”
“Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!”
Trump’s decision, rooted in his long-stated aim to get the United States out of “endless wars,” has prompted bipartisan concerns that it opens the door to the revival of Islamic State.
While sanctions appear to be the strongest tool of deterrence, the United States and its European allies could also ponder arms sales bans and the threat of war crimes prosecutions.