President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate U.S. special forces and pave the way for a Turkish incursion into areas under Kurdish control appears to have been made in haste unbefitting a choice of such consequence. His abrupt decision also exacerbated doubts about U.S. dependability among its allies after it once more abandoned its Kurdish partners in the region.
– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 44
Haaretz Weekly Ep. 44Haaretz
Yet despite sensational claims describing the decision as destroying U.S. credibility and a “triumph for Erdogan” as “a victory” to Moscow, Tehran, and Damascus, the reality is a bit more complex.
When discussing the U.S. changing course and the decline of U.S. credibility as an ally, then the muted response to attacks on Saudi critical infrastructure in mid-September is a far more significant milestone than the recent redeployment in Syria.
In the Saudi case, changes in the political and energy spheres led the U.S. to buck an understanding that had endured for more than seven decades in which the Saudi kingdom provided for the free flow of oil and the U.S. guaranteed its security.
In the case of the Kurds, Trump evacuated troops in a step that was detrimental to a partner of convenience in the fight against the Islamic State for the past five years. While that actually represented more continuity than change in U.S. regional strategy, it elicited a far larger outcry in the West due to the fact that public sentiment is far more favorable to the Kurds than it is to the Saudis.