U.S. President Donald Trump stunned and confounded even his closest allies in Congress and his military advisors when he announced Monday that he would withdraw American troops that were helping safeguard Kurds who have valiantly held off ISIS and battled the blood-soaked regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan is threatening an incursion into Kurdish-held Syrian territory and analysts say the offensive could include massacres of Kurds, a longtime enemy. The move is a brutal betrayal of the stateless Kurdish people who have been steadfast allies of the West against the worst forces in the world today. Trump’s irrational, inhuman act could lead to mass murder of the very people who are – or were – our greatest allies in that horrific battle. His motives are opaque and suspect. He appears to be doing the bidding of Turkey, Russia and Iran and, at the same time, emboldening ISIS. Trying to understand the inner workings of his mind, in this case, as in most, is probably fruitless.
Stateless people are endangered everywhere, nowhere more than in the contentious and violent region the Kurds are condemned to live. Jews understand the perils of statelessness in a dangerous world. That was one of the lessons of the 20th century. Another lesson was to depend on no one else for survival. Repeatedly, Israel has had to defend itself alone from existential threats. The Kurdish people are in a deeply precarious position now and, in an ideal world, alternative forces would come to their aid.
Meanwhile, for those supporters of Israel who insist that moving an embassy and having a Jewish daughter make Trump a reliable friend of Jews, let this be a lesson about the capriciousness of the man’s loyalty and humanity.