I despise Marc Thiessen. He is an inept, supercilious, illogical Trump defender-at-all-costs who gets to write op-ed’s for the Washington Post twice a week, probably so they can claim “balance.” As a representative of the Trumpists, he is doing them no favors with his easily disassembled distortions.
But when I saw this headline this evening, I just had to click on it:
The in-house defender of the indefensible has finally found a line he won’t cross:
“shameful abandonment of our Kurdish allies”
“His abandonment of the Kurds is a recipe for endless war, not a strategy to end one.”
“If even one of these [ISIS] terrorists carries out an attack in the West, Trump will own it.”
And he finishes up with:
It gets worse. Without U.S. support, the Kurds will have no choice but to turn to Russia, Iran and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for protection. As a result, Iran will own all of Syria — giving it a strategic anchor in the Middle East and a base from which to attack Israel. Trump has made containing Iran’s expansion a centerpiece of his Middle East policy. Abandoning the Kurds will empower Iran as never before, increase the danger to Israel and require us to deploy more troops to the region to counter Iranian aggression.The cry that America is fighting “endless wars” is a canard. Our force levels in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are a shadow of their former selves, and U.S. forces are not doing the fighting but rather arming and training allies who are doing the fighting for us. That is the right strategy. But after watching Trump abandon our allies in Syria to be slaughtered, why would anyone step forward to help America in the fight against Islamist radicalism? The president can’t have it both ways. If you don’t want American forces fighting “endless wars,” then you can’t betray your allies.
Thiessen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and was a chief speechwriter for George W. Bush. So he has some foreign policy cred, but I’m not sure he’s right about Iran, since both Iran and Israel — who are never on the same side on anything — screamed bloody murder when Trump gave Erdogan the go-ahead. Iran has its own Kurds to worry about and this is going to rile them up. Nor will the Kurds turn to Assad, since they’ve been fighting him all along. I don’t have a strong notion what’s likely to happen next there, except that neither Syria nor Turkey nor the Kurds will come out well, and most likely not Iran either. Russia, however, will gain another point in the game.
But that’s not the point of the diary; the point is that Thiessen did give this issue some thought. Trump did not, and Thiessen is ripping him a new one for it.
Just to give you an idea how totally un-Thiessen-like this op-ed is, here is one recent comment:
I feel like I fell through the looking glass. Has Thiessen forgotten whose lapdog he is?
Now, none of this is to say Thiessen is actually willing to see Trump kicked out, but after this it’s harder to see him writing enthusiastically about keeping him. Although… a look back at some recent columns shows a hint of a chance of a whisper of a drift:
So now Marc Thiessen has stepped, ever so gingerly, away from the Total Worship of Trump. We await the fire from on low consuming him with the wrath of His Hairness for such temerity. But in the meantime another crack has appeared in the only wall Trump has managed to actually build since he became pres*dent.