Donald Trump is proud of himself.
And why shouldn’t he be? After all, his vice president and secretary of state struck a deal on Thursday with Recep Tayyip Erdogan who agreed to halt hostilities in northern Syria, where hundreds have been killed and some 200,000 have been displaced over the past week.
Sounds good, right? Sure, right up until you remember that it was Trump who green-lighted the massacre in the first place, and until you consider that the people being killed were America’s staunchest allies in the fight against ISIS.
Trump – who has come under some of the most intense bipartisan pressure of his embattled presidency over his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria’s border with Turkey – spoke to reporters on Thursday afternoon after Mike Pence announced the terms of the “deal”, which requires the Kurds leave the border region, thereby handing Erdogan precisely the outcome he set out to achieve.
“When those guns start shooting they tend to do things”, the president explained, before delivering a series of remarks that sounded as though he were accepting an award. “I want to thank Turkey, and I want to thank all of the people who have – uhh – gotten together and made this happen”. Again, he is talking about a mini-genocide.
“So you have a 22-mile strip — and for many, many years — Turkey in all fairness they’ve had a legitimate problem with it. They had terrorists, they had a lot of people in there that they couldn’t have”, Trump continued.
Then, he said this:
They had to have it cleaned out.
But once you start that, it gets to be to a point where a tremendous amount of bad things can happen.
So a process started.
Yes, a “tremendous amount of bad things can happen”. Specifically, hundreds of people “can” find themselves dead in a horrendous outbreak of ethnic violence. And politicians fighting for pluralism and women’s rights “can” be dragged out of SUVs alongside highways and murdered. And bound prisoners “can” be executed with automatic weapons on the side of the road. And more than 500 Salafi militants “can” break out of prisons amid the melee and escape into the countryside.
Trump went on to say he’ll be lifting sanctions on Turkey “very quickly”, before claiming that the “outcome” of this debacle is “incredible” and “something they’ve been trying to get for ten years”.
That, frankly, is one of the more delusional things this president has ever said – no small feat from a man who says delusional things every, single day.
To be clear, Turkey will not respect this “ceasefire” and this is not going to “solve” a thing. You can be absolutely sure the violence will continue and there is no chance that the US will ever be able to regain the trust of Syrian Kurds who will now view Bashar al-Assad as preferable in a pinch. And thanks to Trump, all Assad had to do to reestablish a foothold in areas he hasn’t controlled for at least a half-decade is immediately move his troops north at the request of the Kurds once it became apparent that the US would not stop Erdogan’s advance.
Samantha Power, former ambassador to the UN, summed up the clip shown above in just a few words: “The President of the United States has endorsed ethnic cleansing”.