Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs: “Alliances are means to an end—not an end in themselves—and the tactical alliance between the United States and the Syrian Kurdish militias was based first and foremost on our mutual interest in defeating ISIS. Given America’s broader strategic interests and the need to focus on other problems, our commitment to the Kurds was on borrowed time once ISIS no longer posed any significant threat to the United States. In this sense, Trump’s desire to bring the U.S. commitment in Syria to an end was correct.
But as usual, Trump has pursued that sensible goal in the worst possible way. His impulsive decision to give Turkey a green light to attack the Kurds—a decision made with little advance planning or consultation—will raise new doubts about U.S. judgment. Moreover, the United States still has boots on the ground in Syria, but much less diplomatic leverage now that they have left the border areas. And what diplomatic concessions did Trump gain from this sudden move? Nary a one. Once again, the self-proclaimed master of ‘the art of the deal’ has shown himself to be far more adept at the art of the ‘give-away.’ ”Läs artikel