Months after Trump declared "100 percent" victory over ISIS (erroneously), Turkey's dictator Recep Erdogan called President Trump and asked him to remove troops so that he could slaughter and displace the American allies who fought and sacrificed for the four years of U.S. gains over the Islamic State.
Just like that, the president enacted the most egregious and duplicitous act of betrayal in our nation's history. Since 2015, tens of thousands of Kurd have fought valiantly and effectively to beat back the Islamic State in Syria and defend U.S. interests, losing 12,000 of their own in battle. Turning our backs on them so that Turkey sends a clear signal to the world that America is not to be trusted.
One Special Forces soldier went so far as to say he is "ashamed for the first time in my career."
But this isn't as simple as Trump betraying an ally after they have outlived their usefulness. The Kurds are continuing to battle an ISIS resurgence and are guarding thousands of imprisoned ISIS fighters. Trump's betrayal leaves this existential threat to American interests unchecked and almost certain to grow.
In light of the backstabbing of allies who were continuing to be valuable and the self-destructive signal it sends to other and would-be allies, it's hard to imagine any upside for the United States.
But, as usual, Donald Trump wasn't thinking of what's best for the United States.
Some possible rationales include: Trump's business interest in Turkey (two towers in Istanbul), the benefit to Russia and Trump's pal Putin who backs the Assad regime that wants America out of Syria, or Trump's campaign promise to leave Syria, which he made without thinking through the consequences and executed in the same fashion.
Most likely though, Trump was far out of his depth and simply got played by a strong man dictator whom he aspires to be more like. The narcissistic American simply could not think of a single good reason to say no to a tyrant who wanted to slaughter American allies.
Make no mistake, this is a devastating move. Within days of the decision, civilians were being killed, ISIS was making gains, and America's would be allies were rethinking their allegiance.
It is imperative that Congress immediately reverse this disastrous decision before anyone else gets killed.