This is a bit much, even for Trump


I thought I had long given up being surprised by Donald Trump’s tweets, that stream of nonsense that flows constantly from his account. But this one today, in response to the criticisms he is getting for giving the Turkish government control over the regions in Syria that are disputed by the Kurds and whom the US had been allied with up to now, took me by surprise.


“I, in my great and unmatched wisdom”? Who talks like that? It is tempting to dismiss this as yet another attempt by him to rile up his opponents with expressions of vainglorious self-regard. But I am increasingly drawn to the idea that this may actually be the way he thinks of himself, which would make him dangerously delusional.

His threats to destroy Turkey’s economy if they displease him will, like all his previous bellicose threats to other nations, be dismissed by them. I think world leaders have realized that they have little to fear from his rhetorical lurches this way and that.

Where I think Trump needs to be careful is making the bipartisan war party his enemy. As long as he keeps the war machine chugging along, the political-media-business establishment (the real power in the US) will continue to back him, especially the Republicans among them. But if they feel that he is not pursuing that agenda and is serious about ending the never-ending wars in that regions, they may turn on him and that is the real danger he faces. Even obsequious Trump lackeys like warmonger Lindsey Graham have criticized his latest move regarding the Kurds.

Comments

  1. Jean says

    Yeah, it did raise an eyebrow when I saw this also. But looking at it again here, it doesn’t actually look like something Trump would write himself because of the wording and structure. It actually sounds more like Stephen Miller (or maybe someone else in the WH).

  2. brucegee1962 says

    I believe the message being sent here to the Kurds and the rest of the world is “Do not ever trust anything the United States tells you, because we will literally tell you one thing on Monday and do the exact opposite on Tuesday.” A message which I’m sure China and Russia will gleefully amplify to anyone foolishly thinking of allying with us in the future.

  3. aspleen says

    What’s actually frightening about this decision is that Trump made it on the spur of the moment after getting a call from Erdogan. I don’t think Trump is fully in control of himself, which makes the prospect of him dealing with a genuine crisis pretty scary.

  4. Jazzlet says

    I heard a Turkish analyst talking about this on BBC Radio 4s PM programme, he said something to the effect of “well it might happen, but Trump says one thing one day and the opposite the next so who knows?”

  5. Dunc says

    I believe the message being sent here to the Kurds and the rest of the world is “Do not ever trust anything the United States tells you …”

    The Kurds know their own history, and I’m pretty sure they stopped trusting the US at least a generation or two back. I’ve lost count of how many times they’ve been sold out, but you can bet they haven’t.

  6. blf says

    His threats to destroy Turkey’s economy if they displease him will, like all his previous bellicose threats to other nations, be dismissed by them.

    Some analysts are pointing out hair furor gets a considerable revenue from the Trump Towers in Istanbul. Erdoğan has previously threatened hair furor over the Towers, Reminder: Trump Has a Massive Conflict of Interest in Turkey (I have corrected the spelling of Erdoğan’s and Doğan’s names (unmarked)):

    Why a Trump real estate deal is relevant to his decision to abandon the Kurds.

    […]

    Whatever else it may be, Trump’s policy toward Turkey is also a significant conflict of interest, as Trump himself has admitted. In 2015, while running for president, Trump gave an interview to Stephen Bannon, not yet his campaign manager, in which he talked about Turkey. Right away, he admitted that his business interests in the country would make it difficult for him to deal with Turkey with a clear mind.

    “I have a little conflict of interest ’cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” Trump told Bannon during a Breitbart radio show. […]

    […] Trump licenses his brand to the building’s actual owner, Turkish business magnate Aydin Doğan, who has been described as the single largest payer of taxes in Turkey. He’s a one-time antagonist of Erdoğan who is now in step with the strongman.

    The conflict of interest and the way it could affect Trump’s position on important issues — or at least the perception of how it could affect his position — quickly became obvious after Trump made this comment. In June 2016, after Trump said he supported a ban on immigration by people from countries he said were associated with Islamic terrorism […] Erdoğan objected, and so did Doğan, and both threatened to remove Trump’s name from the buildings.

    That’s no small threat — according to personal financial disclosures filed by Trump, since he launched his bid for the presidency [sic], he has earned somewhere between $3.2 million and $17 million in royalties from the deal. (The amounts are given in ranges; the precise figures are unclear.)

    Less than a month after the threat to remove his name was made, Trump very publicly voiced support for Erdoğan when the Turkish leader faced a coup attempt. And his closeness with Erdoğan has continued, even over the objections of some of Trump’s most reliable supporters. […]

  7. says

    I was, like most fairly reality-based people, stuck by the “wisdom” nonsense and it wasn’t until later I realized he was claiming he had previously destroyed and obliterated Turkey’s economy.

    He’s really not good with English.

  8. johnson catman says

    . . . in my great and unmatched wisdom . . .

    Just what will it take for the republicans to invoke the 25th amendment?

  9. jrkrideau says

    @ 2 brucegee1962

    Do not ever trust anything the United States tells you.

    I think that this is third time that the US has abandoned the Kurds. The Kurds seem to be slow learners but other ethnic groups and countries are watching. North Korea must be impressed.

    The US withdrawal from JCPOA shook a lot of countries. Heck, the Russians seem to have a new term “недоговороспособны” literally “not-agreement-capable” that they are applying to the USA.

  10. jrkrideau says

    @ 4 Jazzlet

    “well it might happen, but Trump says one thing one day and the opposite the next so who knows?”.

    Almost a perfect paraphrase of what Putin said the last time Trump announced a withdrawal.

  11. Steve Cameron says

    @1 Jean -- I totally agree that this reads like somebody else wrote it for him, probably Stephen Miller. The “unmatched wisdom” line sounds like the flattery Miller often uses. And the actual coherent argument, the restrained use of caps, slogans and repetition — this isn’t the same guy who beaks off at the slightest cue from Fox. The directive about the ISIS fighters seems totally out of place for Trump. It’s too clever a way to throw shade at all of the criticisms — which are more around the wisdom throwing the Kurdish allies under the bus (where one possible bad result out of many is the ISIS fighters are released) — and he doesn’t even mention the Kurds. The cruelty of that omission seems more like Miller or a Miller acolyte.

  12. Dunc says

    I think that this is third time that the US has abandoned the Kurds. The Kurds seem to be slow learners but other ethnic groups and countries are watching.

    I’m pretty sure the Kurds fully expected this. However, they still gained some advantage from playing along while it lasted.