The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

America’s Betrayal of the Kurds

So, Trump’s going to let Turkey invade an area of Syria held by the Kurds.

Yes, this is a betrayal of one of the US’s allies.

But no one, no one with any sense, should EVER think that the US is actually their ally.

The US will betray anyone. The US doesn’t even follow its own interests; it has domestic politics bought by large lobbies.

And the Kurds aren’t rich.

There is a story I am fond of. Back in the 80s, the ambassador to Pakistan, talking to his counterpart (paraphrased as I can’t find the original source), said: “I do not know who will be in power in Moscow in 20 or 40 years. But I do know they will have the same interests as we do today, and follow them. That is why you can trust us. But America, America does not work this way.”


(Mostly I don’t think the US should be in the Middle East at all. But if anyone has bled and died for the US it is the Kurds.)

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


The Problem with Pharma Research


California Power Company Cuts Power to 800,000 Homes to Avert Wildfires


  1. Chiron

    Kurdistan is a Zionist project to further divide the Middle East, everybody knows about “divide and rule”, support ethnicity groups that are hostile to you rivals in a imperial policy that is old as the Sun.

    American and Israeli imperial policy made the Kurds burn their bridges with the Turks, Arabs and even the Persians, it’s time to rebuild their relation with their neighbors without outside interference.

  2. Turkey does not need Trump’s permission to invade northern Syria, and did not ask permission. Turkey TOLD Trump they were invading northern Syria, and Trump very wisely ordered our troops to get the hell out of their way.

    Turkey is specifically attacking the Kurds. To have our troops stay and “remain loyal to the Kurds” would mean putting our forces into direct military conflict with Turkey, which is a NATO ally. It would also risk creating a state of active war between the US and Turkey. Leaving our troops in the path of a Turkish advance would be an act of utter insanity.

  3. Ian Welsh

    Erdogan would not invade if there were US troops there. That would be committing national suicide. Turkey is exactly the sort of country the US military is designed to completely wreck. The Turkish president doesn’t tell the American president anything if the American president doesn’t want them to.

    That said, the Kurds were fools, and should have cut a deal with Assad.

  4. Herman

    At the end of the day Turkey is a more important ally than the Kurds. NATO, the Bosporus and all that. This was pretty cold-blooded on Trump’s part but it was rational from a cold calculation of interest. I don’t know what to think about this because Trump is getting criticism from all of the mainstream types (including Fox News and other Republicans) who love war as long as there is some humanitarian cover for it. We should not have been involved in this conflict in the first place.

    In any event, I agree with Ian that the Kurds should have cut a deal with Assad. Putting their trust in the USA was not a good idea.

  5. Tom

    SDF/YPG/PKK does not equal Kurds. Erdogan gets along fine with the KRG and gave Kurds back their civil rights in Turkey after decades of persecution. The PKK is a terrorist organization that kidnaps and recruits Child Soldiers, sex trafficks women, runs a totalitarian police state, engages in drug running, and blows up Turkish Civilians.

    Fuck them. They stabbed the FSA in the back, leveled North East Syria with their incompetence and engaged in ethnic cleansing.

    Turkey intends to clear them out, rebuild North East Syria, install a North Syrian Government, resettle millions of refugees in North Syria after the rebuilding is done. Half a million of those refugees are Kurds by the way who fled PKK brutality.

    Trump is right to hand off to Turkey and pull out. He never wanted in Syria or to take responsibility for rebuilding it, and Turkey was willing to do it only to get stabbed in the back repeatably by the US and EU while caring for 5 million refugees with the EU refusing to honor its promises.

    It took a lot of firings to get to this point, but Trump is finally getting Generals and Cabinet Secretaries in place who will follow his orders. Erdogan has been more than patient, always giving an out, trying to de-escalate the fighting, trying to keep NATO alive, all while Neocons did everything to throw gasoline on the fire and get Trump into another war.

  6. Hugh

    In the Middle East, Turkey is not our ally. Israel is not our ally. Saudi Arabia is not our ally. Turkey was the main conduit for ISIS recruits into Syria and helped finance ISIS by allowing its oil to pass through Turkey. Erdogan is an endlessly corrupt dictator who has engaged in a policy of suppression of Turkey’s Kurdish population. In the fight against ISIS, the US had to lean heavily on Turkey to mount sorties from the big airbase we use at Incirlik. Part of the deal was they were supposed to help us attack ISIS. Instead they attacked the Kurds. We need to get our nukes out of Turkey, and Turkey out of NATO.

    We owe the Kurds because, unlike the Turks, they fought for us and beside us in the fight against ISIS. This is yet another case of betraying our friends and sucking up to dictators. The lesson dictators take from actions like this is that we are weak. The lesson our friends get is that they can’t trust us. The world just got more dangerous, generally and for us in particular, because of Trump’s egotistical stupidity.

  7. Joe Beese

    This time our attempt to dictate the world’s geopolitical structure to our benefit will work.

    This time we know what we’re doing.

  8. ponderer

    I’m not sure about the conclusions that have been drawn. It’s possible Trumps move forces the Kurds to reconcile with the Syrian government (which they should have a long time ago). If they do that they will most likely be spared. What they really need is air support which can be provided by Syria and Russia to stand up to the Turks. There was never any legal basis for an alliance between the US and the Kurds to divide up Syria. Any cost they pay now for not reconciling earlier and entering into an agreement with Israel / US is their own doing. It’s important to note their “alliance” with the US was illegitimate and came from malign intentions regarding the region. It would be like Alaska aligning with Russia against the US so they might have their own country one day (and all that oil).

    I think once again we have degree’s of bad actors, none of them innocent. Turkey wants to take over parts of Syria, inject unstable elements which were formally ISIS along the northern border to continue to destabilize Syria. Turkey supported the Syrian civil war by letting the head choppers from Europe through. They also armed and supported them in the fight against Assad. The Kurds think the Israelis via the US will deliver them their own state over parts of Turkey and Syria. The chemical weapon allegations against Syria were obviously BS. I don’t know what grave sin they have committed but I suspect before the war they allowed the seeds sowed by SA, Israel, and US to flourish. Russia isn’t the good guy either even if they aren’t bad. No doubt they will be processing Syria’s oil for them and directing a portion of all profits to themselves similar to arrangements in other oil producing countries.

  9. Turkey has not been very subservient to the US lately. They bought Russian air defense systems and will soon be buying Russian jet fighters in lieu of our F-35. Us having about 1000 troops in his way is going to make Turkey tolerate a heavily armed Kurdish group, which it regards as terrorist, on its southern border? Not likely.

    Turkey has been threatening this move for quite a long time. Even in the face of nothing more than those threats, leaving those troops there would be stupid. And I still do not believe that permission was asked. I have no doubt whatever that Trump was TOLD by Turkey that the invasion is on.

  10. BlizzardOfOzzz

    The Kurds, eh? Yes, we know, the neocons have been using the Kurds as their sock puppet for more than a decade. Also we can’t leave Afghanistan because then Afghani women would have to wear burkas again.

  11. Dan Lynch

    “Trump’s going to let Turkey invade an area of Syria held by the Kurds.” So says the oligarch controlled American media.

    But does the U.S. really have any control over Syria? No. Russia (or even Syria with its S300’s) has the ability to impose a no-fly zone any time it sees fit. Without its air power, the U.S. military is a nothingburger. In general, Russia has won the Cold War. Russian weapons are better than ours.

    What the headline should say is “U.S. FORCED TO RETREAT AFTER LOSING COLD WAR.” Our guys lost, and Russia won. When you lose a war, you have to retreat. It’s that simple.

    But you won’t see any such headline in the U.S., outside a few small blogs that hardly anyone reads. Americans still believe they are king of the hill. For someone who accepts that delusional world view, Trump’s decision to retreat can only be viewed as treason or cowardice.

    Ian said “Erdogan would not invade if there were US troops there. That would be committing national suicide. Turkey is exactly the sort of country the US military is designed to completely wreck. The Turkish president doesn’t tell the American president anything.”

    Ian, you are overlooking the S400’s that Turkey recently acquired, and that Russia and Turkey now have an alliance of sorts. Once again, Russia won the Cold War. The U.S. is a has-been. So no, there’s not much the U.S. can do.

  12. ponderer

    @Bill H

    Turkey has plans for another Ottoman Empire. It’s not about subservience, it’s about alignment of interests. Turkey has a large military and suffers the same problem all countries with large militaries have when domestic issues require a bit of theater to keep the populace distracted and the graft machine going. Turkey plans to swoop in after the jihadis have left Syria weak enough. The Kurds are the excuse, expanding borders and weakening enemies is the goal. I’m sure they eventually plan to take the Syrian oilfields and they are setting the stage for that conflict. It’s unlikely to go their way but they have little to lose and a distraction from Erdogan’s authoritarian ambitions.

  13. Hugh

    The Turkish military is large but has been severely weakened by Erdogan’s purges of it. US weapons are considerably better than their Russian counterparts. We have seen the difference in Syria. The Russians carpet bombed. The US hit whatever it aimed at. The only time US and Russian forces brushed up against each other in Syria, the result was a hundred plus dead Russian “mercenaries”. And let us not waste any tears over Assad’s Syria. It is and was a police state. Police states are inherently illegitimate. Ditto dictatorships.

  14. edmondo

    Mostly I don’t think America should be in the Middle East at all.

    You could have ended the post right here. Any time the US is withdrawing troops, it is a good day.

  15. S Brennan

    Rarely agree with Ponderer but, I’ll take his POV over Ian’s on this issue.

  16. hvd


    Please compare Mosul and Aleppo.

  17. hvd

    Also Raqqa.

  18. In “leaving syria: necessary and long overdue” @ the foreign affairs editor of Chronicles Magazine points out that the Kurds haven’t “bled and died for America” but instead,

    “He (Trump) should stay the course, and reiterate that the mission in Syria had never been about securing a Kurdish statelet, or neutralizing Russian, Turkish, or Iranian influence, or removing the Assad regime. It was initiated by Obama in 2014 to help the Kurds fight the Islamic State.

    That mission is accomplished, and inventing other objectives for its continuation come from those people who do not think that withdrawal of any U.S. troops, from any area of deployment, at any moment in time, is a good thing. His detractors also believe that no spot on the planet is not vitally important to the U.S. national security. Trump should state openly that no rational U.S. interest would be served by the continued deployment of American soldiers in Syria.”

    I suppose Trifkovic leaves out the word “officially”. I’m sure Obama wanted to remove the Assad regime, e.g.

    Unfortunately, I think ponderer is right when he says that this portends dark days for Syria. “I will throw the Greeks into the sea” Erdogan ( , who shot down a Russian plane and who is violating international law via stealing oil in the Aegean, is a loose canon. His legitimate concern for Turkish security is married to his neo-sultan delusions.

    It would have been better if Trump had announced a pullout date, and privately told the Kurds to re-integrate into Syria. I’ve read that some in the US telling the Kurds this, but they didn’t take the advice. Perhaps because they knew they had bipartisan US support.

    The dilettante-in-chief has probably changed a potential political win into a likely loss. It reminds me of Trump’s idiotic failure to use the bully pulpit to educate the public on climate change and climate science realities, and thus could easily lose to a morally motivated Greta Thunberg vote in 2020.

  19. bruce wilder

    i have watched little snippets of MSNBC, Fox News, CNN and glanced at the NY Times and I despair.

    even the commentary here disappoints me.

    Ian made the excellent point that America’s conduct is neither moral (we are not keeping faith with the Kurds for sure — whether “we” should have cynically offered them aid in the first place is a question that simply brings into further question whether the U.S. is, as they say, “agreement capable” — nor is America’s foreign policy such as it is reflective of national interests. America’s foreign policy is completely hijacked by lobby groups and cynical political operatives pursuing careers and paydays in foreign adventures of various kinds.

    the way several commenters here have reduced the drama to narratives featuring one or more parties in the role of “good guy” or “bad guy” is just feeding the pathology of American foreign policy, which is frequently hijacked by such tissue-thin narratives, narratives that lend themselves to cynical gambits offering superficial moral cover, where a realistic analysis would look to interests and stable end games.

    Hugh, perhaps, disappoints me most. Yes, Hugh, America is the biggest, strongest bully on the Mashriq playground. What good does it do anyone?

    The Russians have demonstrated what a realistic, calculated intervention with minimal but focused commitment of resources can accomplish. And, yes, it is perfectly reasonable to think that Assad’s regime surviving is, among the alternatives, a “good outcome”. It is the stupid Americans, who are sure that overthrowing Assad is going to lead to the sudden outbreak of liberal (capitalist) democracy and not a descent into some Islamic fundamentalist hell on earth for Syria’s several minorities, not to mention the economic and human costs of continuing the on-going fighting indefinitely. (Only American defense contractors think a policy of perpetual war is a good thing.)

    Really, Russian diplomacy has been nothing short of amazing. The Russians have an alliance with Syria and an alliance with Israel (don’t hold your breath waiting for American cable news to mention the extent to which Putin cultivates Russia’s relationship with Israel) — that’s got to be tricky. The Russian relationships with both Turkey and Iran have been, shall we say, troubled, for centuries even. Getting the leaders of Iran and Turkey on the same stage as the Russian President was a neat trick. And, I can scarcely imagine how the Russians approach Hezbollah.

    In the actual military operations inside Syria, the Russians have been clever and focused and methodical. They have limited resources, it is true. Their interest is a naval base for which they barely have the navy. They have forced the Turks and Israelis to respect their air operations and even the Americans to cooperate with them in “de-confliction”. Whether the Russians had a hand in shooting down Hillary Clinton’s idiotic 2016 campaign proposal for a “no-fly zone” is rarely mentioned as a possible example of “election interference”. And, they responded in an exactly measured way to the Israeli violation of air conflict rules, supplying the S-400 (under Russian control) to Syria in a way that demonstrated the Russian willingness to tip the balance of power in a precise but decisive way when Israel does not play by the agreed rules.

    One can decry the policy result: survival of the Assad regime, but it isn’t clear to me that that is not the least bad possibility. If we were serious about understanding what is practically possible instead of invested in entertaining fairy tales, we would inquire into the bases of support for the Assad regime — what elements of a very complex political society either actively support the regime as protecting their interests or resign themselves to it as indifferent to their religious or cultural preferences or economic pursuits. And, just what is the character of the insurrection? Maybe, we could be adult enough to recognize that violently angry people are unlikely candidates for democratic deliberation and tolerance — even if they are good at producing propaganda made-for-television about ‘white hats’ and gas attacks. (Really, “white hats”?)

    Never to my knowledge have the Russians felt the need to direct expensive missiles to blowing up largely empty desert to prove their machismo. Meanwhile, the U.S. finds itself repeatedly “allied” with forces openly hostile to American interests and not infrequently on both sides of a direct military confrontation — as in the case of the Kurds and the Turks. The betrayal of the Kurds is rooted in the inability or unwillingness to see that the Turks and Kurds are locked in conflict and were likely to come to blows — an inability or unwillingness rooted in turn in the corruption of U.S. foreign policy.

    Of course, elsewhere the U.S. is “allied” with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, countries actively hostile to the U.S. and malevolent regimes to boot. Good guy / bad guy analysis there might actually be an improvement, but don’t hold your breath.

    The way they talk on cable teevee, one would think the “experts” peopling the Blob and the Pentagon were selfless patriots with an unblemished record of achievement for their country, instead of a bunch of bumbling war criminals seeking career opportunities in perpetual war and arms sales.

    The scary thing about Trump is that he might actually be the smartest guy in the room.

  20. Tom

    Turkish Military has begun jamming YPG Radios, launching airstrikes, and removing the concrete barriers on the border.

    Game over for the YPG Terrorists. They folded like cheap suits in Afrin and now they don’t even have the benefits of mountainous terrain.

  21. nihil obstet

    Anecdotes may not be data, but maybe one anecdote is a datum, so for what it’s worth:

    A Kurdish refugee, Zubair Rushk, spoke to our local Amnesty International USA chapter on his book Escape from Hell: Based on the True Story of a Syrian Political Prisoner. He lived in a predominately Kurdish neighborhood in Syria. He was arrested for teaching classes in the Kurdish language and history to children. Syrian law forbids it. He was tortured. He escaped to Jordan and eventually got entry to the U.S.

    We asked, “What would you like to see happen?” He said, “Ideally, a Kurdish state. But of the realistic possibilities, Assad winning the war. He is a very bad man, but the Islamic rebels would be worse for us.”

  22. ponderer

    @ Bruce

    Ian made the excellent point that America’s conduct is neither moral (we are not keeping faith with the Kurds for sure — whether “we” should have cynically offered them aid in the first place is a question that simply brings into further question whether the U.S. is, as they say, “agreement capable” — nor is America’s foreign policy such as it is reflective of national interests. America’s foreign policy is completely hijacked by lobby groups and cynical political operatives pursuing careers and paydays in foreign adventures of various kinds.

    The US has been betraying their alliances since at least the colonial days. Ask the Native Americans who fought for us in the Revolution. It’s a National Shame and a constant through wars up to the present. I’m not sure if any Western government actually honors their commitments or how far back in time we would have to go to find proof of it. It’s possible to acknowledge that, and that we aren’t screwing the Kurds over nor should we sacrifice our troops for them. The Kurds did that themselves. They have had almost a year since Trump last announced we would be leaving Syria. We only just brought out 50 people so this process is not a surprise, we have been winding down there for awhile and all this time the Kurds could have made a deal with Damascus. They have chosen not to because they have been lured by the Deep State to make trouble for Trump. The Deep State has been promising them their own country through it would be totally illegal and there was no realistic chance of it happening as they never intended to follow through. Now the Borg will get what they want, Headlines claiming Trump to be a coward for abandoning his allies. This is the agenda that Ian is reinforcing. The Turks are going to get what they want, committing genocide. The Kurds that don’t run south to the SAA are going to get butchered. It’s the only possible outcome from the agreements they made and they were mad to think otherwise. The SDF aka Kurds commited their own sins, they didn’t just bleed for America. They bled for $8 trillion in arms, a chance to cleanse the Arab population areas and a whole host of other evil.

    BTW, Turkey has started to move and explained what they will be doing. There are going to be a lot of innocent people dieing there like usual. It’s because all the Actors there are evil and have bad intentions. They drag their innocent populations along with them. That’s why I tend to disagree with Ian and others about collective punishment.

  23. Sid Finster

    1. How many times will the United States sell out the Kurds before they finally get wise?

    2. How many times does this need to happen to the Kurds and others before Poland finally gets wise?

  24. GlassHammer

    “It is the stupid Americans, who are sure that overthrowing Assad is going to lead to the sudden outbreak of liberal (capitalist) democracy”-bruce wilder

    No one is “sure” of that “nation building” stuff and no one actually believes in it either, its just how countries sell their wars. Every occupying force makes up some stupid story like. I mean how many times have you read history (eastern or western) and found the phrase “through conquest we will bring civilization to the people of country X”?

  25. Who is this “Deep State”, p, flying ‘neath the algorithmic radar? Why not say the names. Or are we avoiding unwanted attention from “certain parties” who scan for the use of “certain terms”. A winks as good as a nod to blind horse and yer uncle Bob” . . . ? Because if we all knew, we could all participate. But if you and a few are the only people who get to know, then the rest of us are left helpless to understand, and receive zero intellectual or informational benefit from the discussion. It’s like listening to a wall.

    I’m not denying there’s a sinister state out there intent upon global domination. Like talking about Fascism, it took a long time to get over the taboo and call it what it is, what is happening, but once that rubicon was crossed and it is generally recognized that that is what it is, what is happening it’s not so difficult to say. So too I am sure with this “Deep State” – it’s taboo to talk about it now but you know just as soon as we do talk about it, just as soon as we identify it so we can talk about it, then it’ll be that much easier to talk about.

    I’m looking forward to it.

  26. ponderer

    The point of using a term like “Deep State” is because the members largely are, and intended to be, unknown. Nameless bureaucrats with hidden self-aggrandizing agendas not subject to oversight or meaningful oversight by elected representatives. Generally their identities are protected by privilege. It’s actions are often self contradictory as factions battle their own little turf wars. John Bolton would be a good guess as a member. He has hovered around the outskirts of politics and policy for decades, has a history of advocating for the detriment of the national interest in jobs of high authority. What personal benefits he gets from it we don’t really know. Maybe its a check from Israel, maybe he believes in everything he pushes. There’s no doubt he has at least a loose organization of like minded people below him to push the government in certain directions out of the purview of the people. These would all be members of a deep state. Brennan, Clapper, Holder, even Clinton would also qualify. Clinton and Bolton may or may not get along. Both would be happy to kick off war with Russia and they both push that agenda and organize others to push that agenda while they may fight over other issues.

    It’s pretty simple, I don’t know why other people make it complicated, except those pushing their own agenda. Deep State is much easier to say than assholes who work in and out of government to push an agenda, they would never present to the public, for their own personal interests and as such require great secrecy to hide malign intentions for the Country and its People.

  27. Hugh

    The Left will never be taken seriously on foreign affairs, and will deserve not to be, until it comes up with a world view that is persuasive, coherent, and realistic. Currently, I see little difference between the Right and the Left in foreign policy. The Right is filled with its collection of dogma, sacred cows, and delusional conspiracy theories. Instead of countering this with a rational, critically thought out alternative based on American interests and values and an awareness of the existential issues of climate change and overpopulation, it embraces its own assortment of doctrinal idiocies and generally carries on with all the lucidity of a six year old having a temper tantrum.

    I do not understand the Left’s love affair with Vladimir Putin. He’s a thug, a dictator sitting atop a group of rapaciously thieving oligarchs. The Left has no problem with him killing off journalists and anyone he deems an opponent. What a clever politician! Or it’s really the US deep state running some kind of false flag op. He invades his neighbors but that’s OK if you’re Russian because Russian irredentism, unlike Nazi irredentism, is good. Well, isn’t self-determination good? How does this square with Russia being a dictatorship, as in what part of the oxymoron of democratic self-determination and dictatorship don’t you understand? And why is self-determination only acceptable when it furthers Putin’s imperial ambitions? Why was self-determination not good for the Chechens? Or any of a couple hundred other groups in Russia? Why was self-determination good for Crimean Russians, but not the Crimean Tatars? At least, those Crimean Russians can now join the quarter of Russians without an indoor toilet and the third without hot water. Well, at least they can look forward to their pensions, although Putin has been doing his best to gut those too because foreign adventures, the international sanctions they bring on, lackluster oil prices (a big part of the Russian economy also think climate change), and of course looting Russian oligarchs have nothing to do with this.

    The Middle East is a poisonous mixture of dictatorships, police states, and theocracies where whichever sect/ethnic group, majority or minority, in power uses that power to oppress and lord it over everyone else. They are all willing to use us, the Russians, each other just as long as it’s in their short term interests to do so. And they will turn on us or anyone else the minute those interests change. So all this talk of alliances is poppycock. As I have written before, the Middle East is already gone with regard to climate change and overpopulation. About the best, the US as hegemon can do is manage the collapse, for a while. It doesn’t help that our current President Donald Trump turns everything he touches into a fucking disaster.

    As for the difference between Aleppo and Mosul, the modern city of Mosul was liberated fairly quickly. It was the old town with its winding streets that ISIS turned into a stronghold. Even so, considerable efforts were made to reduce casualties and let those fleeing the fighting out. In Aleppo and Syria generally, civilians were specifically targeted and their neighborhoods carpet bombed.

  28. Herman


    I agree with many of your points. For example, I get frustrated when people on the Left reflexively defend China and dismiss any negative information about the Chinese regime as “Western propaganda” or engage in whataboutism. However, I think people have become very cynical due to the failures and dishonesty of American foreign policy. We have been lied into war in Iraq and elsewhere, we have been told that the Arab Spring was about democracy and liberation from nasty regimes yet it seems to have benefited mostly Islamist zealots and ethnic nationalists, that the anti-Russian opposition in Ukraine were all nice liberals ignoring the real presence of fascists in the western Ukraine, you can go on and on.

    If there is a left-wing (as opposed to liberal) position on foreign policy it seems to be isolationism but I am not sure if that is realistic. For one thing, I think the Left underestimates the role American power has in maintaining peace in regions like Europe and East Asia. Without American hegemony in those regions you would likely see not more peace but an escalation in conflict and competition between the powers in those regions.

    Personally, I would prefer a principled American foreign policy based on human rights, international cooperation, especially in the face of worldwide problems like climate change, as well as more efforts to help developing countries. But it is tough to maintain such a foreign policy in an anarchic world where American power is declining and great power competition is increasing. I don’t really like realpolitik but I understand why politicians practice it. In the case of the Kurds I can see the logic behind Trump’s decision which was probably about favoring a more important ally (Turkey) over a less important ally (the Kurds).

  29. GrimJim

    “Deep State” is simply a code for “Anyone we don’t like who has ever been involved, however periferally, with previous governments and the Federal Bureaucracy.” It is a ploy straight out of Know-Nothingism, a way to dismiss anything the rubes dislike when they can’t complain about their target’s race, gender, religion, or politics.

    As to US foreign policy, it has always ever been run out of corporate offices, never the actual government itself. The problem is that corporations often disagree on goals, and so the Senator from Standard Oil might push one agenda, the Representative from Dole Banana another, and the Senator from Ford yet a third. Sometimes they work in harmony, but often not.

    Right now Trump wants peace, as he profits from tourists visiting his network of hotels and properties. If he is able to cut a deal with Erdogan for his Istanbul towers and keep a promise to his base, so much the better. If he was a war profiteer like Bush and Cheney had been, he’d have pushed for a full military solution to line his pockets.

    All his decisions are predicated on how he personally and sometimes his family and allies will profit. If it keeps a campaign promise, that’s gravy. But his decisions are never, ever based on what is good for the country or the people, it is all what is best and most profitable for him. Always, always follow the money. He has no ideology or dogma beyond his own profit and self aggrandizement.

    Walls at the border? Follow the money.

    Detention of undocumented immigrants? Follow the money.

    Destruction of limits on corporate regulation? Follow the money.

    Demand for the Fed to lower the rate? Follow the money.

    Everything he does is about making money, directly through improving his position in his investments, or even more directly through payoffs for positions in his cabinet, or quid pro quo with foreign leaders (the Biden thing is the least damning thing he has done, look what his family is getting from China for ignoring the Higher genocide).

    Every. Thing. He. Does. Is. About. Making. Himself. Richer.

    Follow the money, save the world.

  30. GrimJim

    Peripherally, stupid autocorrect.

    Uigher genocide, stupid autocorrect.

  31. Tom

    Initial reports coming in. The joint TSK/SNA (FSA merger under SNC Defense Ministry) has advanced 8 kilometers so far towards Suluk at their furthest point.

    So far the TSK/SNA Offensive is working to isolate Tal Abyad and Rasulayn, these border cities are the gateways into Raqqa and Hasakah respectively and seizure of both Cities in the second phase will effectively break the YPG terrorists forever more.

    No solid causality numbers yet. TSK and SNA are going slow to minimize destruction and draw the YPG out into the open to be crushed. Unlike the US, they want the place intact as much as possible so refugees can swiftly return to functioning cities and receive assistance from AFAD which has mobilized large amounts of equipment and supplies to provide aid and do reconstruction work.

  32. ponderer


    In lack of a clear definition, though I would think wikipedia should suffice, it acceptable to ask someone what a term they use means. That regards their intent. Twisting that to make some political point is rather boring and un-intellectual. It’s even worse when such have been discussed at length and are obviously designed as ad hominem attacks. My using the term “Deep State” is clearly not an indication I’m racist, sexist, and an anti-Semite. No one could read that first paragraph and think you had anything insightful to say. You could have stopped there. You couldn’t substantiate any of your invective over ‘Deep State’ so we don’t expect your further arguments to be any better. Congrats on meeting expectations.

  33. Olivier

    It seems to me that Trump can’t win this one with the commentariat: if he doesn’t withdraw the troops he is is warmonger but if he does then a betrayer of the Kurds.

  34. Long a student of deep state conspiracy theory – in my collection not the oldest book timewise, that would be a ’33 Black’s Law Dictionary, but the one I’ve held the longest: None Dare Call It Conspiracy I acquired sometime in the late seventies. Another longtime resident is Rule by Secrecy, an extension of Allen’s work m’thinks, at least back to the Templars. There are others but… I don’t really want my tongue ripped out while rattlesnakes drip venom in my eyes. Thank you Ponderer for taking me seriously, though I was not necessarily serious. It’s always a gamble to enter into these conversations, you never know …

    My intent though, is/as you recognize it: we really need to get past this flying ‘neath the algorithmic radar, the coded language, the wink wink, and talk about it. And in doing some we need recognize there are those who would sabotage the conversation with ridicule and scorn, or storylines even more whack. “Why would they do that to their own people?” There is ample evidence, research dating a thousand years, that there is indeed a sinister state out there bent upon world domination. As with Fascism and Godwin’s Algorithm: once we recognized what it is, that it’s real and it’s happened, we were able to talk about it. So too the deep state, we know it’s there, it needs to be talked about, trolls be damned. They are easy to ignore.

    No matter how many ways you spin it, (good, bad or indifferent) modern monetary theory is rooted in the Templar system of a thousand years ago. When I suggest we have to stop doing what we’re doing, it isn’t working, that would be a good place to start. The ends justify the means.

  35. Hugh

    Olivier, the US could have given the Kurds a security guarantee, done what it was doing keeping a few troops in the area, and made it clear it wasn’t leaving until both the Turks and Syrians had cut acceptable security deals with it the US and the Kurds.

    What we have is the spectacle of two leaders, Trump and Erdogan, both seeking to divert attention away from their domestic problems: the Trump impeachment and the tanking Turkish economy –by dumping on the Kurds.

    A recurring theme of the Trump Presidency is that even when he addresses a policy that needs addressing he does it in the most ham-fisted, destructive, and ineffective manner possible. His border obsession is another example of this. For economic migrants, you go after those who employ them, fining them heavily. It is not exactly a secret which industries have a lot of illegals working in them. You work with Mexico to limit migration across its southern border. And finally you give aid to and work with the Central American states to alleviate the conditions, like gang violence, that are creating the migrant flows.

  36. S Brennan

    What Trump should have done is collect-up the “concerned” commentariat; Hugh & et al and send them over to Syria to “protect” the Kurds with their lives…great theater that.

    BTW Hugh, you, who are such a warlike man…with a gentle soul of course, do tell the rest of the folks here about your US Marine or US Army experience…I wait with baited breath, I think we could all learn a thing or two from the observation of how Hughs words & deeds are so deeply intertwined.

    No service huh? Don’t fret Hugh, the bravest men I know have never put their life/limb on the line..but their words..oh my, their words, they do inspire. We all know the Hughs of the world, at the top of the heap, Presidents Bill, Dick & Barack all loved war but…er..em…uh..just could find the time to slip on a uniform…curious

  37. Bone spurs, S, glass houses, all that. Show us your green card, gringo.

    1st US, 5th Cav, AAA, Ranger, 1972-3

  38. Hugh

    Grand Field Marshal S Brennan is a true terror to the strawmen he erects. It seems almost cruel to point out to him that in our Constitutional structure the military is under civilian control, and there is no Constitutional requirement for the Commander in Chief, the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Army, indeed no civilian in a policymaking position or with authority over the military, to have ever been in the military. During our two greatest conflicts, World War II and the Civil War, neither FDR nor Lincoln had served in the military.

    During the Vietnam War, some went, some resisted, and some like Trump simply dodged. The people in the first two groups both made real and honorable decisions, but history shows the resistors were right, not those who served.

    There are profound and fundamental differences between policy, strategy, and tactics. Most soldiers in combat arms will have a good grasp of basic tactics, but strategy or policy? not so much. They might but there is no divine hand that comes out of the heavens and confers it automatically on every service member. This is true even of generals. Eric Shinseki had a sense of strategy and knew what an invasion of Iraq required. Tommy Franks did not, but he was an excellent tactician. And he was the one who actually commanded the invasion. Above them, the policy itself, invasion, was always wrong and wrong-headed. In none of this does a uniform convey any special understanding or insight. I mean yes, many of the special forces who were in Syria are heartsick at our betrayal of the Kurds. For them it is personal, but you don’t have to be in the military to agree with them. Or understand that it is a disaster in policy and strategic terms.

  39. The Socialist

    And here is a prime example of how a anti-war, USA – EVIL kind of pundit suddenly supports them mingling in all of this shire once again. Oh the irony. always some new reason to get involved in warring, but this time it’s different!!! Reminds me of the circus elections when every time there is a new clownish artistic show to get people to vote..

  40. Hugh

    The Socialist, the Left has no credibility in foreign affairs because aside from USA–EVIL and some requisite pearl-clutching, it has nothing, no sense of history, no coherent world view, no realistic idea about how to navigate in the world.

  41. S Brennan

    Shorter Hugh; Yeah, you clocked me but…here are some ad hominems to distract the feeble minded.

  42. S Brennan

    Oh yeah Hugh, you apparently don’t know that FDR was Secretary of the Navy before he was paralyzed by polio. And FDR’s sons*, unlike you Hugh, they served in the United States Military and they served the USA well*.

    Hugh, you are urging young, more capable men to their death so that you may profit by their absences…despicable.


  43. The Socialist

    Hugh, “left” is a term to describe everything and nothing. I don’t care about what this “left” might or might not do. I’m talking about the concrete case on our hands and Ian’s position of once again finding a reason for the US to get involved. It’s just that you think your reasons are better than when others call for US to get involved in wars when we remember other situations. I would even dare to say that I have heard better justifications before.

  44. Hugh

    The Socialist, we the US are already involved with the Kurds. We have been involved with them for the past 5 years, since October 2014. I am always interested in how the Left writes off some lives more easily than others. How many Kurdish lives equal a Houthi or a Guatemalan or a Honduran? A lot of Kurds already died in place of American troops on the ground in Syria and potential dead in both Europe and the US in terrorist attacks if ISIS had not been taken out.

    FDR was an Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson during WWI. This was, of course, a civilian position.

  45. different clue

    Sic Semper Tyrannis has just run a post by guest-poster TTG ( The Twisted Genius). It describes some very good and hopeful developments getting under way in Syria. Perhaps every CLEJ ( Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadi) in Syria may be eliminated from existence and deleted from the face of the earth. Perhaps the GAJ ( Global Axis of Jihad) will suffer a serious defeat. Here is the link.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén