Syria, the Pullout & the Deep State: Who’s Winning?

Forgive me as I dip my toe into the geopolitical waters but something momentous just happened a few days ago: President Trump has stood up to the Deep State and ordered an American troop withdrawal from Syria. Worse (in their eyes), he green-lighted the Turkish Army to go into the northwestern part of that country to reclaim it from our Kurdish allies.

This was a shock to be sure. Truthfully, I can’t say that I’m not a little bit dismayed. As someone who is not unsympathetic to the Kurds, I feel their plight. But as an America-firster, I applaud the President for keeping one of his campaign promises. There are many reason why Trump won the election on November 8, 2016, but one of them was that he was going to end the present Republicrat regime of endless and pointless wars. American blood and treasure should only be expended for real defense or vital American interests.

We may be getting back to that core principle of legitimate statecraft. If so, that’s huge.

As for the intricacies of the entire Syrian imbroglio, those are secondary as far as I’m concerned. What, after all, did we expect? Turkey is a “staunch NATO ally” or so we are told ad infinitum. Thus, according to Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty, we are obligated to come to the aid of any NATO country should they be attacked. Trump’s critics should keep that in mind when they constantly whine about his Euroskepiticism. (Can they at least not be consistent?)

For those of us who care about the American commonweal, we should instead direct our attention to what’s really at stake. And that is this: Trump took a big risk in green-lighting the Turkish intervention. You can tell from all the kvetching that went on from even his most staunchest allies. Men whom I respect (like Sen Lindsey Graham) were aghast. Men I don’t respect made abject fools of themselves: the Rev Pat Robertson for example said that Trump “had lost the mandate of Heaven”. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley put a pretty face on the whole Establishment nonsense.

The Neocons, the Theocons, the Neoliberals and Wall Street are completely united on this point. And they are completely wrong. Furthermore, I believe that Trump believes that he is strong enough at this point to take all of them on and come out smelling like a rose.

Why do I say this? Because of several factors. First of all, Trump was elected to end foreign intervention (as already noted). Then there’s the fact that the Establishment vastly overrates their popularity in general and their policies in particular. I don’t care how many times some Republican Senator intones the words “muh democracy” it invariably falls on deaf ears. The American people hear the words “Goldman-Sachs” every time some Wall-Streeter like Brett Stephens gets all huffy about America pulling in its horns.

Second, President Trump rarely acts impulsively. He’s been wanting to pull American forces out from Afghanistan since Day One. And he wanted to end our involvement in Syria since last year. General James Mattis, his Secretary of Defense resigned in protest. This meant that Trump didn’t have the political capital to do so then. I have to believe that he does now.

I realize that this goes against the orthodoxy that the punditocracy peddles ad nauseam, but he’s really a calculating figure. He war-games things out to several iterations. Being a businessman, he lives in a state of constant negotiation. Pretty much everything for him is transactional. He also engages in disruption. When things get disrupted people start to ask uncomfortable questions and presumptions are often placed aside.

Third, I can tell by the screeching on the Left that things are starting to implode for their Orange Man Bad narrative. Yes, I stand by my prediction that those noises you hear from Upstate New York are not the rustling of the autumn leaves but Madame Cyberhack getting ready to “save” the Democrat Party from their electoral suicide mission. In any event, Speaker Pelosi has grievously overplayed her hand and is starting to regret listening to the jihadis in her Party. She let them put on their suicide vests but it is she that’s going to take the shrapnel. Too bad, it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

Then there’s the possibility that the Turkish incursion will knock some sense into the Kurdish leadership. Both the Russians and the Syrians have been telling them for some time now that they better kiss and make up with the Assad regime. Truth be told, we’ve been telling them the same thing as well. There’s another upside to the Turkish incursion: if they succeed in stabilizing that area of Syria, then the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees that are currently clogging refugee camps in Turkey will be able to go home. This will have the added benefit of relieving pressure on Greece and the rest of Europe. If that happens, then the jeremiads of the Neoliberals will ring hollow and Trump will have outwitted the Establishment yet again.

To be sure, this could all blow up in Trump’s face. The Establishment may engineer a stock market crash or stage a false flag attack to force America’s hand. So far, Trump hasn’t taken the bait in Iran and he’s extricating himself from the trap that was laid for him in Syria. I imagine he won’t listen to the blandishments for intervention in Ukraine. He has been extremely fortunate all things being equal. Eventually his luck will run out but maybe not, after all when one doesn’t tempt fate, one can escape unscathed. And by not engaging in unnecessary military adventures, one can avoid the fate which befalls all empires.

And who knows? If Congress is really spoiling for a fight with the Executive, then maybe they could take their war powers back. That would be a more productive use of their time don’t you think?


  1. I have no problem with our pulling out of the endless war over there. I do have a problem just letting the Turks do as they will to those who were our staunchest and most effective allies. This turning our backs on dependant allies as soon as it becomes convenient has been going on since at last the end of WWII. This is more than just Trump, it’s America as we have presented ourselves to the world. How can we ever be trusted to do the right thing.

    Great, get our boys home, but when Turkey started shelling across the Syrian border how is it they still have a functional air Force or an operational ground force anywhere near the border? How do they remain in NATO? We are letting it happen. This could easily escalate into Trump’s Benghazi. I fear our president has made a grave miscalculation.

    • George C Michalopulos says

      Seraphim, you describe one of our worst attributes.  Unfortunately, even the best allies make horrendous decisions which are inexcusable.  But that is the nature of war.

      That is why our Founding Fathers vested the war powers in the Legislative branch and gave the Congress the exclusive right to declare war.  They didn’t do it because they hated monarchy but because they knew that when the bullets start flying, bad things happen, usually unexpected, and horrible deals have to be made.

      The Congress should have never let Truman take us into war on the Korean peninsula without a formal declaration of war.  Is it a coincidence that ever since Korea, all of our wars (or police actions or kinetic military adventures) have been executed on the whim of the Executive?  And that we have won none of them?
      A democratically elected legislature is accountable to the electorate.  They would demand a clearly defined objective at the very least.  

      Another silver lining to the betrayal of our Kurdish allies is this:  if the Ukrainians are smart, they will realize that no matter what the American Establishment says about “muh democracy” and such, we likewise will ultimately not be there for them when the chips are down.

      In other words, in the case of Ukraine, nobody can know for sure what the United States will do but we do know for a fact what the Russians will do.  And that is they will never allow Ukraine to enter into NATO.  They don’t want a war but if that’s what they have to do to prevent any further westward tilting by the Ukrainians, then so be it. 

      Of course, at that point, the Amerophile Ukrainian leadership will have more to worry about then because neither the Germans or the French will sign up for war against Russia no matter what Neocon bozos like Max Boot and Bill Kristol say otherwise.   

      • Putin’s specific proposal, backed by the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, is to revive the Adana agreement signed by Syria and Turkey in 1998.
        It is an idea he has been pushing for three years. In essence, this acknowledges that Turkey has legitimate concerns about the PKK, but the solution is not a Turkish-administered safe zone inside Syria, rather it rests on security guarantees from the Syrian government to control the PKK.
        Similarly, the way to handle the Syrian refugees inside Turkey is not to forcibly move them into north-east Syria, only to meet a hostile reception, but to end the civil war.
        But at the heart of the conundrum is an agreement between the Kurds, Assad and the Turks. If Putin can pull it off, it will indeed be the deal of the century.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Let’s pray that he does.

          Thought experiment: is it possible that the US pullout will force such an outcome? After all, US foreign policy breeds contentment and allows other nations to not take responsibility for their own actions. At home, the US has been a safety-valve for Mexico; by taking in their poorest, it relieves the castizo elite from having to reform itself and make life more bearable for the bottom rungs of their society.

          • “is it possible that the US pullout will force such an outcome?”
            I say so; lack of US presence in support of Kurds/SDF will allow for the necessary punitive measures to be taken against them by the Syria/Russia/Iran coalition and restore government rule to NE Syria.
            With US forces hovering in the background, the Kurds/SDF have been able to act with impunity.
            We need to get our out boys of that war and leave it to the legitimate Syrian government to resolve the issues at hand.

      • It reminds me of what God told em Israel or Judah about trusting the Egyptians to help and support them against a looming adversary. He said Egypt a weak reed. Lean against it and it will break and pierce your hand.

      • cynthia curran says

        Yeah or let MacArthur go to China, but there was big risk. My father served in Korea. As for Trump, I think about it more. It seems that the current wars are useless. I wanted us to aid the Vietnamese more since I live in an area with a lot of Vietnamese refugees but these things eventually end.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Cynthia, one of the seminal points in my life was in 1975, when as a 16 year old, I saw the American helicopters take off from the roof of the American embassy in Saigon and seeing Vietnamese clutch on to the landing blades. That was a stunning metaphor for the “re-education camps” that followed as well as the 250,000 boat people.

  2. George C Michalopulos says

    In the spirit of fairness, I must commend Rep AOC for doing the right thing re the NBA caving in to the Red Chinese:
    Maybe we as a nation haven’t completely lost our fortitude and spirit of defiance.

  3. George Michalopulos says

    Y’all must add this site to your parody sites:

  4. George Michalopulos says

    This is something I hadn’t considered, Syria becoming Turkey’s “Vietnam”:

    • Nah, I don’t think so, despite what is posted below. They’re not that invested; only small expeditionary forces and proxies across the border. The real Vietnam might be their own backyard, i.e. Turkish Kurdistan, where fighting has been ongoing for years. That’s the reason their trying to disrupt Kurdish movements and military infrastructure in Syria and Iraq, because their internal opponents are supported by these.

  5. still no actual withdrawal just redeployment
    and news today is thousands of us troops are getting deployed to saudi
    all still probably gets even worse before it ever gets better

    • George Michalopulos says

      So in other words, there is no “withdrawal”. Then why is the Deep State screaming bloody murder?

      • i guess troops who fought alongside the kurds against isis are the deep state now
        might be meaningful force withdrawal from syria in the coming months but no guarantee
        but look troops in the mideast are up 25% since may according to the pentagon
        and still more are coming in so some troops might leave syria even as even bigger number are coming into saudi

        • George Michalopulos says

          You win some, you lose some.

          All in all though, Trump has been far more reticent to expand our military misadventures than Nobel Prize Winner ObamaTM, who took Bush’s two wars and trebled them. Trump has certainly stayed the hand of the MIC –but for how long?

  6. Pere LaChaise says

    Read it and weep. 
    Churches And Houses Destroyed – Christians, Kurds Flee Northern Syria

    Faruk Firat – (Editor Christian Affairs – the Levant and the Middle East) -OCP News Service – 10/10/2019

    Istanbul-Turkey: Tens of thousands of Kurdish, Syrian families, Christians are moving out of their homes in Northern Syrian response to the Turkish military push. This will be the beginning of a new refugee wave. Children and women are the most to suffer from the Turkish invasion. Several houses were destroyed in the bombing.

    Turkish Army Bombs Christian Defense Group in Northern Syria

    It was also reported that a Church in al-Qamishli was destroyed by the Turkish Air Force. Meanwhile, Johny Messo, the President of the World Council of Arameans -WCA stated that “President Trump is right on Syria.” He also said that ” the YPG Kurds are responsible for the current escalation in the northeast and that they hold the key for peace in this part of our ancestral homeland. “

    OCP News Service

  7. Pere LaChaise says

    Turkish Army Bombs Christian Defense Group In Northern Syria

    Faruk Firat- (Editor Christian Affairs the Levant and the Middle East) -OCP News Service – 10/10/2019
    Istanbul- Turkey: As part of creating ‘Safe Zone’ the Turkish Army has bombed Christian Defense Group MFS in Northern Syria (Ter Cihan, Qabre, Hewore, etc.) and Christian Quarter Bashiria in al-Qamishli. Reports state that many are dead and several others are injured.
    The Syrian Christians founded their own defense group in Syria to protect themselves from various terrorist groups. They fought together with the Kurds against ISIS terrorists. These Christian groups have just been bombarded by the Turkish Military as part of their invasion in Northern Syria.
    Image  Source: Syria.liveuamap
    Source:Faruk Firat – OCP News Service

    • George C Michalopulos says

      I wonder what the EP has to say about all of this? I mean, if things get worse for the Christians, we know what the MP is going to say. We may guess as to what the Russians will actually do. Then what will the theocons in the West say?

      They will be caught in the web of their own contradictions.

      Think about it.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Geopolitics should always leave Christians heartbroken. When nations, tribes and ideological packs fight each other, everyone looses and many people die. If our heart does not break, then a part of us is lost.

        On an existential level all such activity is a zero sum game for the most part. It is a calculation of how many people die, who those people are and to what extent shall I go. How much money, how much influence what do I need, what do I give. From a leaders standpoint, how much blood, treasure and moral authority of my people am I willing to spend for the accomplishment of my goal and purpose? Will said goal or purpose actually be advanced?

        The vocation of the sword can be a noble but risky one for Christians because there are sometimes when the evil one’s machinations occur in the physical world and have to be countered with force. Someone must stand and say, “No more”! The vocation of the sword brings much temptation however and cannot be done mindlessly.

        Such violence should never be glorified. Nor should it be considered a “necessary evil”. The resistance to a multitude of temptations and violence can follow in the wake of that compromise.

        Repentance is always essential.

        So much blood. It is overwhelming and each drop crying out from the ground brings us all to face justice and beg for mercy and not the law. We have no other hope of salvation.

        Henry V: Act IV excerpt:

        But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath
        a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and
        arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join
        together at the latter day and cry all ‘We died at
        such a place;’ some swearing, some crying for a
        surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind
        them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their
        children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die
        well that die in a battle; for how can they
        charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their
        argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it
        will be a black matter for the king that led them to
        it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of
        KING HENRY V
        So, if a son that is by his father sent about
        merchandise do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the
        imputation of his wickedness by your rule, should be
        imposed upon his father that sent him: or if a
        servant, under his master’s command transporting a
        sum of money, be assailed by robbers and die in
        many irreconciled iniquities, you may call the
        business of the master the author of the servant’s
        damnation: but this is not so: the king is not
        bound to answer the particular endings of his
        soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of
        his servant; for they purpose not their death, when
        they purpose their services. Besides, there is no
        king, be his cause never so spotless, if it come to
        the arbitrement of swords, can try it out with all
        unspotted soldiers: some peradventure have on them
        the guilt of premeditated and contrived murder;
        some, of beguiling virgins with the broken seals of
        perjury; some, making the wars their bulwark, that
        have before gored the gentle bosom of peace with
        pillage and robbery. Now, if these men have
        defeated the law and outrun native punishment,
        though they can outstrip men, they have no wings to
        fly from God: war is his beadle, war is vengeance;
        so that here men are punished for before-breach of
        the king’s laws in now the king’s quarrel: where
        they feared the death, they have borne life away;
        and where they would be safe, they perish: then if
        they die unprovided, no more is the king guilty of
        their damnation than he was before guilty of those
        impieties for the which they are now visited. Every
        subject’s duty is the king’s; but every subject’s
        soul is his own. Therefore should every soldier in
        the wars do as every sick man in his bed, wash every
        mote out of his conscience: and dying so, death
        is to him advantage; or not dying, the time was
        blessedly lost wherein such preparation was gained:
        and in him that escapes, it were not sin to think
        that, making God so free an offer, He let him
        outlive that day to see His greatness and to teach
        others how they should prepare.

        • Michael,
          “From a leaders standpoint, how much blood, treasure and moral authority of my people am I willing to spend for the accomplishment of my goal and purpose?”
          Indeed. About 25 years ago, a well-known magazine (I think it was the TIME), published a study by a certain journalist, about the greatest patriots of the last world war. Three leaders were chosen: Eisenhower, Churchill and De Gaulle. He proved that, on a number of important occasions, they did not do what was good for their country but for their own glory rather. I can not remember further details, you being a historian, may know more about this.

          • Michael Bauman says

            I never studied WWII much. I cannot give any details.  However, it would not surprise me.

  8. One of my readers said that, even though you and I come from quite different starting points, we seem to have reached the same end point. I don’t write as elegantly or eloquently as you do, but I was thinking along the same track in a post I put up the other day. So hear! Hear! I agree with what you write.

  9. George Michalopulos says

    See? I told you. Trump had this in his back pocket:

    And he pulled it out at an opportune time. I imagine he’s got a few other surprises in store for the Deep State.

  10. Marty Cotirell says

    Kurds and Armenians are Iranic peoples, forever irreconcilable with the West and 300 Spartans.

    • Iranic peoples are Indo-Europeans – Aryans – just like we are in the West. They’re our distant cousins, so more commonality between us than with Arabs or Africans.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      As Basil says, a non-sequitur. Indo-Europeans most Europeans are likewise. Armenian, Kurdish, Farsi, Hindi/Urdu, are all Indo-European languages, like Greek, Latin, French, English, and many more….

  11. George Michalopulos says

    This is interesting.  It looks like Trump’s gambit is beginning to pay off.

  12. George Michalopulos says

    File this piece of “reportage” under:  “Why We Fight” (NOT!)

    You know, you got to give the globalists some credit.  They won’t rest until Trump takes us to war or is taken out himself.  I mean, these people will do everything but lie, cheat and steal to get us involved in another useless, unwinnable war.  

    Next stop:  Moscow!

  13. George Michalopulos says

    Yet another positive development from Syria:

    One of Trump’s campaign promises is to end American adventurism.  It will pay off electoral dividends of this I am sure.  In addition, it will force belligerents throughout the world to reconsider their bellicosity.  America will not always be there for them, best make your peace now.  That’s what the Kurds of Syria are doing with Assad and the Saudis with the Iranians. 


  14. George C Michalopulos says

    Well lookee here: Syria is now turning into Turkey’s “Vietnam”.

    First pass prediction: this will cause all parties in the Middle East to come to the bargaining table. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey. Possibly Israel.

    That Trump, he cray-cray. Like a fox.

  15. George Michalopulos says

    Here’s another take on Turkey’s misadventure.  It looks like Trump laid a trap for Erdogan.

    • Zelly Natilas says

      Probably. Eliot Engel, who was a big supporter of the Albanians in Kosovo, now wants to throw Tureky out of NATO.  It is time to push this.

  16. George Michalopulos says

    Well this is huge:

  17. George C Michalopulos says

    And here’s another take on Trump’s brilliant stratagem, by Pat Buchanan. Yes, Putin is now the hegemon of the Middle East. So what?

    • Unz is a great site. If Buchanan is right, then it’s to everyone’s benefit: American military out of the ME benefits Trump’s supposed America First policy, while Russian hegemony over the ME should suit the various factions there, since Russia is not as trigger-happy or interventionist as the State Department.

      Putin wants to work with people; therefore, we shouldn’t expect that the oil economy will be adversely affected.

  18. George Michalopulos says

    You see, this is why I can’t take the Establishment seriously anymore:

    Back in 2007, Romney thought that the Kurds were bad.  Now however, he and all the “right” people think that the Kurds are the cat’s pajamas.  

    This is nothing but gaslighting folks.  

  19. George Michalopulos says

    This is how the Trumpian Age is continuing to pay dividends: David French, one of the most effete voices of the cuckservative movement is leaving National Review.

    Pinch me, first The Weekly Standard and now National Review might start acting like a conservative publication again!

    And then there’s this from Rich Lowry:

    It’s amazing how a populist, alpha-male president like Trump can cause some cucks to find their cojones.

    Feels good, guys! Doesn’t it?