Editorial: Dragging the GOP to ruin
Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops in northern Syria — which allowed Turkey to execute a planned invasion across the Turkey-Syria border into an area protected in part by Kurdish rebels who have fought with American forces to contain ISIS — has led to another crisis of confidence in America’s foreign policy. Foreign leaders can no longer trust America’s word or its political or military support, a fact that undermines beneficial alliances America has had since before WWII.
Meanwhile, Trump has once again supported a dictator in Turkey, aided Syria’s ruthless leadership, handed Russia’s President Vladimir Putin free-reign in a huge swath of the Middle East and given the Kurds a reason to run to Russia for aid and protection.
It is another colossal foreign policy blunder. One of many in the past two years. This time, however, even Trump’s own party is pushing back against his ignorance and witless whim.
In a House resolution that passed Wednesday, 354-60, 129 Republicans broke ranks to condemn Trump’s troop withdrawal and, worse, the abandonment of the Kurds.
“Alliances and values are important,” said Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) speaking on the House floor, according to the Washington Post. “Walking away from friends is a sad indication of policy that we don’t want to support, we don’t want to condone. Yes, we want America to be great, but we’re also great because of our friends and our allies. Coalitions are not bad. Coalitions strengthen our public policy around the world.”
Finally, we see Republicans willing to buck Trump’s misguided foreign policy, which has translated to trashing previous alliances and supporting Trump’s dictatorial friends with haphazard recklessness.
Meanwhile, Trump has been his usual, nasty and petty self. In a meeting Wednesday to discuss the crisis that has unfolded along the Syrian-Turkish border, he flippantly dismissed the notion he has put the Kurd fighters and Syrian civilians in danger or strengthened the hand of Russia, Iran, Syria and ISIS. He reverted to his school-boy tactics of name-calling, tagging his former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as the “world’s most overrated general,” according to the Post’s report, and falsely boasted (in his continual delusion of self-grandeur) that he had “captured” the Islamic State, adding “I captured them in one month.”
What a blowhard. Even the most clueless of Trump supporters must be stunned by such shameless self-infatuation.
Meanwhile, Republicans in the Senate are barely raising an eyebrow. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell raised a meek regret that America had abandoned the Kurds, but was too cowardly to confront the president’s idiocy. Why are most Senate Republicans so sheepish? Because Trump’s political strategy for keeping his party in line, as reported by CNN last week, has been to strong-arm Republican senators. According to the Post’s story, Trump has been “calling McConnell regularly and threatening to attack senators who publicly break with him.”
Pure and simple, it’s shades of McCarthyism with very much the same insidious effect on the party and nation.
Sen. Mitt Romney, one of the few Republican Senators willing to speak his mind, said of the Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds: “They are our friends, they have been our ally (fighting the Islamic State), and abandoning them was a very dark moment in American history.”
In reality, it’s just another dreary day in Trump’s self-absorbed world.
When, oh when, will Trump supporters get the message? They supported a liar, a cheat, a clueless braggart with a vision of being king, not president of a nation representing the free world. If they continue to support him, it should be obvious by now he’ll drag the party to ruin; deservedly so.