President Donald Trump was warned by both sides of the aisle that abandoning our Kurdish allies in Northern Syria would pave the way for Turkey to commit atrocities and acts of war against the Syrian Kurds.
Nevertheless, Trump went through with his plan and sure enough, within days of U.S. withdrawal, Turkish forces moved in and now hundreds of Kurds are dead.
Trump has now announced that he’s sending a delegation including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in an effort to control the damage and negotiate a cease-fire.
Though Trump cites an “end to endless wars” as reason for abruptly withdrawing from Northern Syria, U.S. presence in the region acted as a deterrent keeping Turkish-Kurdish violence at a minimum. What’s more, Erdoğan promised Trump that Turkey wouldn’t commit atrocities against the Kurds once the U.S. withdrew. It’s unclear what conditions will be put forth by Pence and Pompeo that would compel the U.S. to take Turkey at its word.
Trump’s damage control delegation has left some notable Republicans unconvinced. Among them is Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who told NBC reporters:
“It’s very hard to understand why it is the Vice President and Secretary of State and others are going to talk with Erdogan and Turkey… It’s like the farmer who lost all his horses and goes to now shut the barn door.”
The analogy is apt, to say the least. U.S. Special Forces in the region are already well into withdrawal, civilians are dead, and the entire region is destabilized.
But some took issue and tweaked the Senator’s words a bit.
except the farmer didn’t *lose* the horses; the farmer opened the barn door, slapped the behinds of every horse, and sent them all running.
— Erin Altman (@AltmanErin) October 16, 2019
Yeah, it’s like that, Mitt, if the farmer had also doubled his insurance on the horses and already filed a claim months after his farm manager had quit when he tried the same thing earlier. Criminal and intentional
— Tinker, Tailor, Trump (@tlieftep) October 16, 2019
He didn't lose his horses, he drove them out of the barn.
— Clarence D Stilwill (@sagefactor) October 16, 2019
Erdoğan initially said he wouldn’t meet with the delegation, but later walked the statement back. It’s unclear what leverage Pence and Pompeo will have, considering that, just today, Trump said the Kurds were “no angels,” reiterating that U.S. troops had no business in Syria.
The delegation is set to meet on Thursday, but—like Romney—many think the time for talk should’ve come before the hasty action.
A presidential delegation (Pence, Pompeo, etc) is in Turkey today on an already humiliating mission, trying to undo what Trump green lighted in his call with Erdogan.
And now, the president has said the exact opposite of the message they were supposed to deliver.
— Kate Brannen (@K8brannen) October 16, 2019
Another waste of tax payer money. This trip is just for show. By the time they get there, Erdogan will have achieved his goals. Did they cancel Erdogan's visit to the @WhiteHouse? Nope. All for show. #TrumpCrimeSyndicate #ImpeachTrumpPenceBarrPompeo
— JKPitts (@JKPitts) October 15, 2019
This whole delegation idea is way too late. Its over! @realDonaldTrump gave up any influence we have in Syria. Putin, Assad and the Ayatollah now control policy and direction of Syria. An abysmal blunder and disaster for USA
— Andrew J Dorony (@AndrewDorony) October 16, 2019
Erdoğan is scheduled to visit the White House next month, but Americans on both sides of the aisle are calling on Trump to cancel the meeting.