January 13, 2019


'They screwed the whole thing up': Inside the attempt to derail Trump's erratic Syria withdrawal (Anne Gearan, Josh Dawsey, John Hudson, January 13, 2019, Washington Post)

President Trump dispatched national security adviser John Bolton on a cleanup mission a week ago, with a three-day itinerary in Israel that was intended to reassure a close ally that Trump's impulsive decision to immediately withdraw troops from Syria would be carried out more slowly and with important caveats.

The plan seemed to work at first. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was all smiles, thanking Bolton profusely for the show of U.S. support.

But by the end of the week, attempts to dissuade Trump or place conditions on the withdrawal faded as the U.S. military announced it had "begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria." A multipronged effort to significantly alter or reverse Trump's decision by alarmed U.S. national security officials, foreign allies and Republican hawks in Congress was effectively a bust.

Since Trump's abrupt Syria announcement last month, a tug-of-war with allies and his own advisers has roiled the national security apparatus over how, and whether, to execute a pullout. Netanyahu spoke to Trump two days before the president's announcement and again a day afterward. French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron tried to get the president to change his mind. Even Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who liked the policy, was concerned it could not be safely executed so quickly.

The episode illustrates the far-reaching consequences of Trump's proclivity to make rash decisions with uneven follow-through, according to accounts of the discussions from more than a dozen current and former U.S. officials and international diplomats. The president's erratic behavior on Syria cost him the most respected member of his cabinet, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis; rattled allies and partners unsure about U.S. commitment to the region; and increased the possibility of a military confrontation between Turkey and Kurdish forces.

...that repeatedly bankrupting businesses and being bailed out by Dad or Vlad wouldn't prepare him to govern?

Posted by at January 13, 2019 5:55 PM