16 October 2019   2 comments

US President Trump sent this letter to Turkish President Erdogan seven days ago–three days after his telephone conversation with Erdogan and after he authorized the removal of US troops from Syria. The letter does not reflect a great deal of thought: it is unclear what President Trump is expecting.

  • He had already given Erdogan the green light in invading the northeast region of Syria without being explicit about what the limits of the invasion should be.
  • He had no reason to believe that Erdogan would shy away from killing Kurds given that Erdogan had already made clear that he thought the Kurds were terrorists.
  • It’s not clear what Mr. Trump means by getting “this done the right and humane way”. Is there a right and humane way to invade another country?
  • He makes no mention about the safety of US troops who were in other areas of Syria.
  • It is not clear whether he had the Kurdish General’s permission to reveal the letter.
  • The threat to “destroy” the Turkish economy is spurious–Turkey has the 17th largest GDP in the world.
  • The letter does not acknowledge that the US and Turkey are members of the same security alliance–NATO.
  • The last sentence–“I will call you later”–suggests that there was actually no plan to follow up on the letter.
  • The letter is also very poorly written. It clearly was not reviewed by anyone in the White House and was probably dictated by Mr. Trump and sent off without further review.

It is hard to imagine anyone taking this letter seriously and it is a profound embarrassment to all the foreign policy professionals who work for the US government. It also failed to prevent the humanitarian crisis among the civilian population in northeast Syria. Where did Mr. Trump expect the Kurds to go?

Posted October 16, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

2 responses to “16 October 2019

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  1. Please tell me this letter is not legitimate


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