October 15, 2019

"On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump called for an immediate ceasefire, announced increased tariffs on steel imports from Turkey, and imposed sanctions against Turkish government ministries and officials..."

"... in response to the ongoing military offensive in northern Syria that began after Trump withdrew U.S. forces in the area. Critics say Trump’s measures are just as likely to strengthen Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as they are to hurt him....  Meanwhile, the European Union is mulling its own approach to the Turkish incursion in Syria.... Turkey will consider both the drilling sanctions and the EU’s reaction to the Turkish invasion to be 'part of the same European and Western attempt to undermine Turkey,' Dario Cristiani, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, wrote in an email. While further economic sanctions could harm Turkey later, in the short term 'they will push Erdogan to be even more assertive and aggressive than he has been so far,' Cristiani said.... Vice President Mike Pence told reporters that Trump had demanded a ceasefire and said that he and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien would soon travel to Turkey. Trump has also reportedly received a commitment from Erdogan that Turkish forces would not attack Kobani—a strategically significant city for the Kurds."

Foreign Policy reports.

There's a link to "Trump calls for cease-fire in northern Syria and imposes sanctions on Turkey" (WaPo). Excerpt:
Pence said that Erdogan and Trump spoke by phone on Monday and that the president “communicated to him very clearly that the United States of America wants Turkey to stop the invasion, to implement an immediate cease-fire and to begin to negotiate with Kurdish forces in Syria to bring an end to the violence.”...

The White House released a statement after the call that said Erdogan informed the president that Turkey “will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria” and that the United States did not support the move. The statement, however, made no mention of what Trump would do to oppose or stop Turkey’s aggression.


sunsong said...

another reason why 60% or more of us and done with him

he started this by withdrawing our troops (which, btw, without the Kurds, Syria falls to ISIS)

things are much more complex than a todler's mind can grasp

and now he's declaring a national emergency

he needs to safely locked up, imo

rhhardin said...

It's okay to lie to non-muslims.

RMc said...

Critics say Trump’s measures are just as likely to strengthen Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as they are to hurt him

They would say that, wouldn't they?

In other news, critics say Trump is a total poopy-head, so there!

Hagar said...

I do not understand these developments, but I do not think Erdogan is acting on his own.
I suspect this is somehow coordinated with Iran/Hezbollah and Russia and there is a lot more to come as they see how the U.S. reacts.
And I think there is a very big tussle going on in Washington about where this is heading.

I sure wish there were some news channels interested in reporting on these events rather than just the "impeachment" of the orange man Trump!

David Begley said...

“You know what the business community thinks of you? They think that a hundred years ago you were living in tents out here in the desert chopping each other's heads off and that's where you'll be in another hundred years,”

Matt Damon in Syrianna.

Crimso said...

Seems like I saw a report last night that Erdogan urgently requested a phone call with Trump, and that he is asking the U.S. to mediate between Turkey and the Kurds. If true, this can only be by dumb luck, as Trump never has a plan. Unlike, say, the Russians, who never take a dump without a plan.

tim in vermont said...

Isn’t this what the left wanted from us in Kuwait?

I don’t get why we were fueling a civil war in Syria in the first place. Wasn’t overthrowing Assad just part II of overthrowing Saddam? I thought we had an election on that in 2006, then again in 2008? We had agreed not to do that anymore. Or was that election only about American politics and the whole Iraq War part of it was just window dressing.

tim in vermont said...

"If true, this can only be by dumb luck, as Trump never has a plan.”

I think that telling them “you break it, you own it and you deal with the diplomatic fallout that will come down hard” was a pretty good plan. Even the Europeans feel now like they need to actually step up.

gilbar said...

sunsong said...
another reason why 60% or more of us and done with him

Polls show Trump with a 49% approval rate?
So, HALF of America support Trump, but 60%, or MORE!!! are done with him??

I guess, in the immortal words of Barbie: Math is HARD!

tim in vermont said...

Sunsong chickenhawk. Ha ha ha!

It’s almost like "whatever argument I can make to get rid of Trump must be right! "

alanc709 said...

"If true, this can only be by dumb luck, as Trump never has a plan." Meaning, Trump's plan is never the plan approved by Progressives, so it's invalid.

tim in vermont said...

There were already 31 ongoing national emergencies when President Trump declared the national emergency at our border.
Presidents have declared nearly 60 national emergencies since the National Emergencies Act was enacted in 1976.

Trump is enforcing our immigration laws like he swore to do in his oath of office! #IMPEACH

You guys aren’t even serious, but you have serious power to distract Trump when he is dealing with serious problems. Democrats are like the two year old in the back of the car keeping dad from just driving with constant antics.

SayAahh said...

Pence said that Erdogan and Trump spoke by phone on Monday and that the president “communicated to him very clearly that the United States of America wants Turkey to stop the invasion, to implement an immediate cease-fire and to begin to negotiate with Kurdish forces in Syria to bring an end to the violence.”...

But, but was there a quid pro quo?

Guildofcannonballs said...

"things are much more complex than a todler's mind can grasp"

Why does the toddler have the milkshake slated to belong to you smarty? Don't deny you live for the shake: accept a toddler and his toddler ways with his toddler followers are still better than you at garnering what you idiotically thought to be your shake.

Trump gets what you thought was gonna be your milkshake, and you get nothing. Here you were, thinking "hey, I'm gonna get me Trump's shake damnit!" and yet you have no shake at all now.


Hagar said...

Judging from his reaction, I don't think Trump had a plan for this.

And I do not think Erdogan views Turkey as any ones's ally. I think this is 19th century world politics with each empire out for its own advantage and alliances are only temporary arrangements as may be convenient for the moment.

Browndog said...

There is not a lot of detail in the reporting, but it looks and feels like Trump started a war in Syria, seemingly for the sole purpose of slaughtering our allies and pink slipping our troops.

You just know this has something to do with his eminent impeachment, otherwise the news media wouldn't be spending so much time on it.

We definitely need more whistle blowers to step forward so we can get to the bottom of what Trump is really trying to pull here.

Browndog said...

Skylark said...

Isn’t this what the left wanted from us in Kuwait?

I don’t get why we were fueling a civil war in Syria in the first place. Wasn’t overthrowing Assad just part II of overthrowing Saddam?

That, or part of establishing a caliphate starting with Egypt, then Libya, Tunisia, Syria.

lgv said...

The moment Erdogan consolidated power was the day I suggested we start building an alternative to all our based in Turkey. It's time to move, actually years ago. Incerlik is so vital that we are hostage to Turkey. Move it and eject Turkey from NATO.

It's far past time to replace NATO with something different. The world changes. Alliances and mutual interests change.

stevew said...

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

That's a quote, but I've never been able to get a consistent answer on who said it. Universally true in my experience.

Gk1 said...

I don't really care what the uniparty, perpetual war machine has to say in the matter. Our country has enough of its own problems to worry about, than go half way around the world and fight. Am I the only one tired of bringing "peace and prosperity" to the middle east and all parts east?

MadTownGuy said...

Heh... "critics say..." Lots of luck with that, critics.

tim in vermont said...

"But, but was there a quid pro quo?”

That’s why we need his tax returns! ARM explained this to us yesterday! It *all* ties together.

Birches said...

Yes, here's a new reason to impeach Trump this week.

That's all this is. Ben Shapiro and the National Review crew became skeptical of Ukrainegate too quickly. But not fighting in wars? Well that's like catnip to the neocons. So the media and dems have more cover this time. And if you have to show fake footage to get the ball rolling? That's ok

Ken B said...

This proves the decision to allow Turkey to invade in the first place was a blunder.

Michael K said...

It might be worthwhile to see what someone who knows the facts thinks.

HH: And was, is it the opinion of the White House and the President that Erdogan was acting as a result of domestic political pressure, and finally had reached the point where he was going to roll in regardless of whether or not American troops were in his way, because they were a trip wire, and I know they were a trip wire. But they were a very, very small trip wire.

VC: I think there’s a lot of logic to that. The pressures that Erdogan is under, both politically and economically, are pretty well known. And President Trump has spent a great deal of time over the last year trying to talk him out of this, and has been successful up until now. But I think those pressures after some recent electoral mishaps proved for him to be too much. And you can see from the response in Turkey, you know, this move is very popular domestically for him at the moment, because there haven’t been any costs to it, yet. You can see why he would do this now.

HH: Now Victoria Coates, I am reminded of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon to establish a safety zone in 1982. It never works, but I guess regimes never realize that if you break it, you bought it. He’s going to be stuck in Turkey, he’s going to be stuck in Syria in that 20 mile zone for a long time, and they’re not going to become suddenly happy Turkish citizens, right?

There are plenty of left wing troll opinions. This interview adds a few facts,

narayanan said...

in: Vorkosigan Universe
A collection of particularly memorable quotes from the Vorkosigan Saga.

Aral VorkosiganEdit

I could take over the universe with this army if I could ever get all their weapons pointed in the same direction. (Shards of Honor)
Leadership is mostly a power over imagination, and never more so than in combat. The bravest man alone can only be an armed lunatic. The real strength lies in the ability to get others to do your work. (Shards of Honor)
The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in that future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present — they are real. (Shards of Honor)

Ken B said...

How many of you, in Althouse’s poll, voted the Turks would not misbehave because just the threat of sanctions would keep them in line? Because you were spectacularly wrong. Fess up.

gerry said...

This just in: the latest hearsay/rumor from Syrian front.

Ken B said...

Michael K
Second hand speculation is not facts. You have become just like the Russian collusion conspiracy mongers, calling such stuff facts.

And even if Erdogan needed to invade for political reasons that was a reason to deny him permission. Getting rid of Erdogan is a good goal.

So we will see if sanctions work. But those same sanctions could have been threatened in case Erdogan invaded at all, and could have been in place a week ago.

How did you vote in the poll?

Roy Lofquist said...

I think Trump's plan is to dump the whole MENA/Islam problem into Putin's lap. I also think that Putin is too smart to fall into that particular trap.

It is in the interests of both Russia and the US to reduce the influence of Middle East oil, the US being almost self sufficient and Russia desperately needing higher oil prices to survive. Perhaps the best outcome is to keep all of the scorpions in a bottle and let them take it out on each other. The US and Russia will intervene only to make sure that one of them doesn't get too strong.

Wince said...

Those arguing that the symbolic numbers of US forces should have remained to militarily repel Turkish troops seems to provide the best argument for the withdrawal.

rcocean said...

NEver Trumpers: Trump blew it. We must pass sanctions on Turkey
Trump: I have just declared sanctions on Turkey.
NEver Trumpers: Oh, that will just harden Turkey's resolve. Trump's wrong again.

rcocean said...

OF course, if this all turns out OK, Trump will still be wrong.

rcocean said...

Trump said he was tired of writing letters to US soldiers killed in the Middle east. If economic sanctions can do the job, that makes more sense to me.

Big Mike said...

@Ken B., Trump has been talking privately with Erdogan for months or years. How do you know that the threat of sanctions hasn’t existed for quite a bit longer than a week ago? Do you foolishly think it prudent to conduct all diplomacy in public?

How did I vote? Go look at the comments. IIRC I opined that Trump was not bluffing but Turkey would believe that he was and act accordingly.

FWIW, I think you are a fool, with a two-digit IQ.

Michael K said...

FWIW, I think you are a fool, with a two-digit IQ.<

He is a troll, like other trolls, that come here and post outrageous comments to draw attention to himself. They don't post reasoned arguments. Just shit stirring.

Ken B said...

So Big Mike, you were wrong and all you’ve got is IQ comments. You continue to evade the question, how are we better off now than if we had not let Turkey invade?

Ray - SoCal said...

I’m surprised at how much my view has changed as I’ve gotten more details.

My current view is Trump cut a Gordian Knot, and was forced to by Turkey. Turkey did not expect what happened.

1. Erdogan lost recent elections
2. Turkeys economy is getting worse
3. Erdogan is supporting Sunni extremists in Syria and Libya
4. Turkey has controlled us aid to anti Assad forces that went through Turkey (Benghazi), and favored more extremists.
5. Erdogan has given a safe haven to Hamas / Muslim Brotherhood
6. Erdogan has forced Turkey to secularize, and removed a lot of of what the founder of modern Turkey put in place to remove Islam from government.
7. Erdogan wants Assad gone
8. Turkey has been using the Kurds as a scapegoat for electoral / nationalistic purposes.
9. Sunni refugees from Turkey Re now unpopular, since they are seen as taking jobs.
10. The anti Assad forces, Turkish supported, are collapsing in the NE Syria, Nd threaten to create more refugees in Turkey.
11. Syria is happy to get rid of its Sunni population, that is mostly anti Assad.
12. Kurds have ok relations with Assad, but saw no need to negotiate due to us tripwire.
13. There is no political will in the us to go to war with Turkey.
14. Trump has a record of avoiding military engagements - see Iran response.
15. Trump is aware of how anti us turkey policy has become
16. Eu is neutered due to fear of more refugees.
17. Us presence in Syria is useful counter balance to Russia and Iranian influence
18. Us establishment wants us presence in Syria


Erdogan wanted to solve his refugee issue by establishing a safe area in the Kurdish areas on the border, that also hurt the Kurds. He used Syrian Sunni forces as infantry to take casualties. All he has to do is get the 50 us troops out of the way.

What Erdogan did not expect:

1. Trump would portray Turks as aggressors, vs Turk narrative of justified actions.
2. Trump threatening economic sanctions
3. Rapid movement of Syrian army into Kurdish areas
4. Popularity with Trump base of end of us involvement in Syria
5. Backing by Arabs of Assad
6. Deal with Kurds with Assad

tim in vermont said...

If Trump ends the Syrian civil war, will he get a Nobel Peace Prize then? No, it will be a campaign finance violation because he would only have done it to get re-elected. #IMPEACH!

tim in vermont said...

" how are we better off now than if we had not let Turkey invade?”

Because the Kurds are negotiating to end the civil war in Syria. Because the Europeans are taking responsibilty instead of leaving it to our sons to die.

roesch/voltaire said...

Not to worry the Russians are moving in to fill the void created by Trump's phone call, and so far Turkey continues with the invasion.

Big Mike said...

@Ken B., where do you get that I was wrong. Looking at what actually happened I believe that I called it correctly. Turkey moved to attack into Syria, as I wrote that they probably would, but Trump was not bluffing — sanctions were imposed immediately. Erdogan appears to be backing off, which is a good thing. You must have very poor reading comprehension.

I will go farther and say that some day sanctions will not work as expected, and the US may need to revert to military kinetic action. But today is not that day and Turkey is not that foe.

Seeing Red said...

Haven’t seen or talked to my family 5 years
-Jailed my dad
-My siblings can’t find jobs
-Revoked my passport
-International arrest warrant
-My family can’t leave the country
-Got Death Threats everyday
-Got attacked, harassed
-Tried to kidnap me in Indonesia


Ends Kanter

Seeing Red said...

Participate at Rantburg, Ken B. Everyone will learn a lot.

tim in vermont said...

Syria is a Russian ally. I think that arming his enemies and so throwing gasoline on the civil war in Syria, which is what Obama did, drove Syria into Russia’s arms.

It is funny to see the Trump haters channelling the neocons. If war is what it takes to get rid of Trump! By God let’s send deplorable kids to fight and die!

If I have to be a chickenhawk to attack Trump! Well cree! cree! cree! I hope you don’t get carpel tunnel fighting in that civil war R/V. I don’t think you will get a Purple Heart.

Hagar said...

I think the surviving ISIS fighters and their families who do not manage somehow to flee will be massacred in place and Turkey and Iran will set about extinguishing the various Kurdish independence movements along their borders, not just in Syria, but also Iraq, while continuing to protest their intentions to merely fight "terrorism" and inviting the U.S., the E.U., the UN, and whoever to mediate, etc. to sow as much confusion among their opponents as possible and prevent interference.

tim in vermont said...

R/V I think you will find that it’s much less fun to defend sending other people’s kids to die than it is explaining why it is usually wrong. Do you have any personal friends who are in the military? I do. I don’t want them dying for this.

Narr said...

sunsong, your blog is shit; go play your games there.

Ken B.-- so tell us exactly what's going on. How many Turks have died? How many Syrians? How many Kurds? How many of the other Kurds? How many of that other other group of Kurds?

How many US lives are you willing to add to the piles?

I'm guessing, "All but one."

Birkel said...

After a lifetime of rooting for the Soviets and overestimating their relative strength, Leftist Collectivists like roesch/voltaire assure us the Russians have unlimited capacity to fill military voids.


MAJMike said...

Napoleon was once asked, "What quality do you most prize among your generals?"

He answered, "Luck. Above all, luck."

Mike said...

So Trump took us from a situation where the Kurds and Turks were at odds but both sides were friendly to us to a point where both sides hate us and we still have 60k troops in the Middle East. That's just genius.

Jim at said...

Still waiting for Ken B. to ship out.
Be sure to write when you get there.

Jim at said...

how are we better off now than if we had not let Turkey invade?

How are we worse off? We. As in the United States of America.

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed said...

I have yet to see anyone actually define what our national interest is in keeping 50 Special Forces soldiers between the Turks and the Kurds in northern Syria. Or what national interest is served by keeping Turks and Kurds from fighting along the Syria-Turkey border. As far as I can tell, other than neo-cons and liberal media getting their panties in a wad, there has been no actual fallout that impacts the US or its national interests.

Michael K said...

Not to worry the Russians are moving in to fill the void created by Trump's phone call,

Do you not realize that Syria has been a Russian/Soviet client state since the 60s?

Seeing Red said...

another reason why 60% or more of us and done with him

I think the special election in Louisiana might lower your estimate.

Rusty said...

Ken B said...
"This proves the decision to allow Turkey to invade in the first place was a blunder. "
How were you going to stop him?

Milwaukie guy said...

Much like the armed "negotiation" of Kurdish regionalism in Iraq, the Kurds will have to do the same thing with Assad. He won, get over it. Everybody.

Milwaukie guy said...

Let's have Syria take over the ISIS prison compounds and solve the problem in the traditional Baathist way. Win-win.

n.n said...

This proves that Iraq 2.0 was a progression from a premature evacuation forcing a vacuum. This time, it's the Middle East, no vacuum, and mediation. Optimistically, a better state and process than the coup in Kiev and its aftermath. It remains to be seen if it's another Iran deal, Kiev deal, Libyan no deal, and foreign gerrymandering (including immigration reform, redistributive change), or something comprehensive and sustainable.

Nichevo said...

Ken B, what's your concern here?

What is/has happened? Dead Arabs. Dead Russians maybe. No dead Americans. Hopefully 15,000 dead Europeans who belong to ISIS. Hopefully Europe paying attention and helping. Still not seeing downside yet.

Endgame perhaps consists of Erdogan hirting the wall and getting whacked by his own people. Since he neutered the armed forces, it will have to be the bazaari who step up. Hopefully one way or the other all the ISIS prisoners get murdered. As long as our hands aren't on it.

The Kurdish situation is accelerated to whatever conclusion there was ever going to be. Do you envision a conclusion, or do we just want to enjoy this going on forever?

In a way this is like Kirk smashing the computers in A Taste of Armageddon. If the US presence had been allowing everyone to pretend that reality is something it's not, let's have some US absence.

None of it matters one way or another. To us.

In Russian it goes: Don't wiggle your ass, you're not being fucked yet.