Donald Trump has made a lot of exceedingly stupid decisions in the 78,000 dog years he’s been in office, but few compare, in impact and the speed with which they blew up in his face, than the one to withdraw troops from northern Syria, paving the way for Turkey to invade the region and kill our Kurdish allies, leading to one (completely predictable) consequence after the next. Roughly 785 people affiliated with ISIS have escaped; an estimated 100,000 people have been displaced; at least 81 Kurdish fighters and 60 civilians have been killed; the American-allied Syrian Democratic Forces, abandoned by Trump and under attack by Turkey, have teamed up with Bashar al-Assad’s Russian- and Iranian-backed government, giving Vladimir Putin major influence over the region; and approximately 50 nuclear weapons that the the U.S. has stored in the area have now effectively become Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hostages, which isn’t a great turn of events considering the Turkish president has said as recently as last month that he would like to acquire such ammunition. To be clear, all of this was anticipated; Trump was warned by advisers for months that such disastrous outcomes would result if he followed his vaunted “instincts”—the ones he thinks tell him more than any dumb intelligence memos or briefing books can—and pulled out of Syria, telling the Kurds, who helped us defeat ISIS, that they were on their own because they sat out D-Day like a bunch of bone spur victims. And on Monday, perhaps the most predictable outcome occurred when Trump announced that he would punish Turkey for the bloody mess he created.
In a statement released on Twitter, the president said that he will “soon be issuing an Executive Order authorizing the imposition of sanctions against current and former officials of the Government of Turkey and any persons contributing to Turkey’s destabilizing actions in northeast Syria.” As a reminder, there’s one person in particular who made a significant contribution to Turkey’s destabilizing actions and his name rhymes with Ronald Grump. According to Axios, the president basically told Erdoğan that the U.S. was fine with him invading Syria, thinking Turkey wouldn’t do it. “Trump basically said, ‘Look, if you want it you own it, but don’t come looking to me for help. You can take it, it’s yours,’” a former senior administration official recounted to Jonathan Swan.
Now that the situation has descended into unstoppable chaos, Trump is naturally acting as though no one could have predicted any of this, and threatening retribution that experts say will do little to stop the unmitigated disaster he set into motion. “I think the likelihood of Turkey invading Northern Syria with U.S. troops there was zero,” Senator Tim Kaine told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Monday. “And with the U.S. pulling out now, they feel like they have a green light and they’re doing exactly what everybody told President Trump that they would do.”
In addition to vowing sanctions and other measures intended to “swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy,” Trump also spent the afternoon claiming that undocumented immigrants are a bigger threat to the United States than ISIS:
And making it abundantly clear that reports of a tiny cluster of cells in his chest resembling a human heart were a false positive; in fact, he could not give less of a fuck about living beings that are not Trumps, if this comedy routine is any indication:
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