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Listen: Donald Trump has come unstuck in time. Just over a week ago, following a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump said he would remove US forces from northern Syria, leaving the way clear for Turkey to invade so it could wipe out the Kurdish militias who, with assistance from the US, did most of the fighting against ISIS. But yesterday, Trump suddenly traveled to a time when he still pretended to give two shits about the clusterfuck his advisers had warned him would happen. So he announced a package of sanctions against Turkey and demanded Erdogan agree to stop the fighting Trump greenlit.

Could we just skip ahead to the part where Trump is nabbed by aliens from Tralfamadore and put in a zoo?


Despite Trump's insistence last week that he would utterly devastate the Turkish economy if, as the wisest man on Earth, he determined Erdogan did unspecified bad things, the sanctions are relatively limited. The tariff on steel will be increased to 50 percent, which is significant, and other sanctions target Turkey's

Defense and Energy ministries, as well as three senior Turkish officials. Among them was the interior minister, a powerful position responsible for domestic security.

The response from Turkey hasn't exactly been shock and awe; Reuters reports Turkish operations in northern Syria are continuing without change, and that

financial markets shrugged off the announcement, and Trump's critics said the moves were too feeble to have an impact. The Turkish lira actually went up, with traders noting Trump had spared Turkish banks from punishment.

As you'd expect from Trump, the sanctions announcement also included a heavy dose of pure bullshit, claiming Trump would halt negotiations on a "$100 billion trade deal with Turkey." Which sounds impressive, but Turkey doesn't do anything close to $100 billion in trade with the USA. The Washington Post explains where Trump got the made-up, inflated number:

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has estimated that total trade between the United States and Turkey was $24 billion in 2017. That figure is nowhere near the $100 billion referenced by Trump, although in June, the president said at the Group of 20 summit in Japan that the United States was looking to quadruple its trade with Turkey as he met with Erdogan [...]

Call us traitors if you will, but Yr Wonkette suspects Erdogan knows entirely well how much trade the US actually does with his country. Whether Donald Trump knows Erdogan knows that is anyone's guess. In fact, a cynic might even suggest that Trump is yet again far more interested in trying to get out from under the criticism he's been getting from his own party for abandoning the Kurds, without really doing much of anything, as the WaPo piece notes:

Some experts speculated that expanding trade with Turkey by that magnitude was already unrealistic, taking some teeth out of the threat to halt trade talks between the two countries.

"It is dishonest to then claim we won't do what was impossible anyway and feel that we are punishing Erdogan," said Michael Rubin, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. "That's the trade equivalent of putting Turkey on double-secret probation."

We aren't normally fans of the AEI, but when one of its free markety flacks says the sanctions, they do nothing, we're inclined to take their word for it.

Still, VP Mike Pence and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien (the guy who is not Bolton, McMaster, or Flynn) plan to travel to Turkey in the "immediate future" to fix everything. Maybe once all the Kurds are dead? Or at least after the US military has spirited away the nukes we store at that Turkish airbase?

For his part, Trump was very busy bragging yesterday about the wonderful job he's been doing, taking credit on Twitter for the Kurdish militia's gains against ISIS and pretending that none of the thousands of ISIS fighters being held prisoner in northern Syria will escape and be a threat. Hey, if the Kurds reacted to Trump's abandoning them by asking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to come back and fight Turkey, that just proves what a brilliant strategist Trump is:

After defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate, I largely moved our troops out of Syria. Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land. I said to my Generals, why should we be fighting for Syria and Assad to protect the land of our enemy? Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!

Yeah, it's about the land, you backstabbing fucker. Not whether Turkey slaughters the allies you abandoned. Also not on that list: Iran, which is s significant backer of Syria. Can't imagine why Trump could have left it out.

But speaking of the land, take a wild guess who's just arrived in northern Syria to help "our enemy" Assad? Oh, you already did!

No big! Vladimir Putin is a great guy who just wants peace, and isn't it nice of him to keep his client state Syria from fighting Turkey, the country he'd also like to pull out of NATO?

We're the real winners here. Surely nothing can go wrong, if you don't mind a few hospitals getting bombed by Russian planes. But that's fine -- anyone who dies is a foreign, and unless ISIS somehow regroups and starts killing Americans again, there's nothing to worry about. No way that could happen, no sir.

[WaPo / Reuters / WaPo]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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