The news late in the year seems to be filled with actions which if not handled well could lead to decades of loss and danger. Our confusion as to goals and relationships in the middle east highlighted by the Khashoggi murder, a Federal judge declaring Obama Care unconstitutional bringing healthcare front and center and the Harvard discrimination case shining light on discrimination against Asians all need close attention.
The dilemma posed by the apparent murder of the Saudi Journalist
Jamal Khashoggi for the United States was all too predictable. After all, in our posts SSSHHH! A MIDDLE EAST POLICY ON THE QT and SSSHHH! MORE MIDDLE EAST POLICY ON THE QT we warned committing completely to either the Sunni or Shia blocks in the Middle East was not in our interest. What was in our interest was letting the Moslem civil war continue to exhaustion. Neither side shares our values. Both operate in a different world of times gone by. As we have pointed out, we have important interests in the Middle East, the survival of Israel, prevention of minority genocide, our relationship with the modernizing Kurds and the free flow of oil. The ascendancy of either side in the Moslem civil war would continue and probably worsen the threat those interests. While our present arrangement with the Kurds in Syria isn’t quite what we recommended, it shows what could be accomplished by a Kurdish connection. For a small (2,00+troops) contingent, we control nearly a 1/3 of Syria ,blocking an Iranian land bridge to the Israeli border. This earns us a seat at the table over the future of Syria and by extension the middle east. Many people have gained a measure of safety. All this is imperiled by the Trump administration. First by tying itself much to close to the Saudi crown prince strongly associates us with his odious policies. We can back the Saudis against Iran without condoning the actions of a medieval monarchy. Instead, Trump wants an immediate withdrawal of all our troops in Syria. This would be disastrous to our now favorable position. It would stab the Kurds in the back and by extension expose minorities such as Christians and Yazidis to genocide by a reconstituted ISIS or other radical Moslems and bring Iran’s Shia coalition right to Israel’s border. By giving a great victory to Putin, it could well encourage him in other dangerous adventures. This is the direct opposite of what we have advocated. If the administration continues down this road, it will not end well.