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"The Illustrious" vs. "the Madman"

Reader comment on item: I Taught NATO to Stand Up to a Dictator
in response to reader comment: What's left to lose?

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Oct 20, 2017 at 01:45

HI, Jeff.

You give a fair and accurate account of recent US Presidents' track records in the US. Then you said,

"I'm not sure how much middle east there is left for President Trump to lose."

Let's look at it from the standpoint of territory controlled.

1. Except for brief incursions into Lebanon under Eisenhower and Reagan, US trooops were not involved in the Fertile Crescent until GHW Bush's brief occupation after the Gulf War; and the attendant "No-Fly zones in N. and S. Iraq.

2. George W. Bush conquered and occupied Syria, together with a vast, US-led, international coalition. Simultaneously, we conquered and occupied Afghanistan. That was probably the high point of American prowess and prestige in the area.

3. Under Barack Obama, we surrendered control of the Green Zone to the Shiite-led government, and announced a timetable for the US to quit Iraq. We stayed on as advisors, and began advising the Kurds in Syria as well. Meanwhile, we allowed Iranian-backed Shiite militias to effectively take over Iraq and rule it as a puppet state. Turkey, meanwhile, began moving troops into Iraqi Kurdistan, presumably as advisors and also in hot pursuit of "terrorists". Russia, meanwhile, became a major player in Syria; and Hizbullah effectively took over control of the Syrian war effort on the ground.

4. Under Donald Trump, the Russian and Iranian-Hizbullah positions have steadily increased during just nine months. The Turks occupied part of NW Syria, cutting Kurdish-controlled areas in two. The US has collaborated with the Russians and, in effect, Iran and Hizbullah, in the war against ISIS. With that entity nearly gone, US advisors in Kurdistan are isolated from all real allies, and are increasingly under threat from the Russians, Syrians, Turks, Iranians and Iraqis. Our air support missions in the area are subject to the approval of the above. Turkey has effectively thumbed its nose at NATO, and has moved into a firm alliance with the Axis of Evil. After the Kurdish referendum, we have had to abandon a good ally to armed aggression by its enemies. All we are left with, is very temporary permission from an Iranian-controlled government, to move our troops in and overfly Iraq.

Meanwhile, President Trump is congratulating himself on having "conquered" ISIS, after the Kurds captured Raqqa. It reminds me of Antiochus IV's lavish triumph of his "victory" over Egypt -- a victory that he had had to quickly abandon under pressure from Roman interventionists.

Antiochus styled himself, "Antiochus the Illustrious"; but Jewish historians remember him as "Antiochus the Madman".


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (34) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
The Turks actually disapprove of everyone, except themselves [100 words]Michael SOct 12, 2017 03:56241054
Turkey is moving into Idlib, de facto allied with the jihadists it is purportedly fighting [6 words]Michael SOct 11, 2017 06:06241051
Rival Powers Use Islamists Against Each Other [189 words]DaveOct 9, 2017 17:00241039
Bravo, Mr. Pipes [3 words]Vadim AnshelevichOct 9, 2017 12:39241037
Trump is losing the Middle East FASTER than Obama did [341 words]Michael SOct 9, 2017 03:58241034
What's left to lose? [262 words]JeffOct 14, 2017 15:55241034
"The Illustrious" vs. "the Madman" [423 words]Michael SOct 20, 2017 01:45241034
US Troops = "Military Tourists" [428 words]Michael SOct 20, 2017 05:09241034
A thank you to Daniel Pipes [116 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
SadeqOct 8, 2017 01:14241022
"Testosterone" to stand up to Erdogan? [344 words]Michael SOct 14, 2017 05:40241022
respond to Michael [84 words]SadeqOct 28, 2017 01:44241022
I hate Islam, but love Muslims [420 words]Michael SNov 3, 2017 18:07241022
2Turkey is a huge problem [178 words]Alex FlintSep 28, 2017 22:07240946
Turkey is now threatening military action against its peaceful neighbors [178 words]Michael SSep 27, 2017 06:21240921
1Kurds can have it all [241 words]Debanjan BanerjeeOct 4, 2017 11:36240921
my best guess of what will happen [285 words]Michael SOct 10, 2017 05:49240921
Dear Michael [207 words]Debanjan BanerjeeOct 19, 2017 23:46240921
Israel and Kurdistan will likely soon be neighbors [373 words]Michael SOct 28, 2017 01:40240921
Western ethical values [42 words]AnnaSep 24, 2017 10:51240908
3Does NATO really need Turkey now ? [297 words]RobertSep 23, 2017 22:54240903
NATO membership [55 words]Nicholas VariasSep 21, 2017 14:21240884
An Historic Moment [201 words]Michael SSep 24, 2017 04:40240884
Bravo to standing up to Erdo─čan [82 words]Dr. Jack LawsonSep 21, 2017 13:23240882
The Erdogan Dummy [129 words]DaveSep 20, 2017 15:45240878
I Taught NATO to Stand Up to a Dictator [151 words]Judith DaviesSep 20, 2017 13:38240875
Thanks for the explanation [73 words]PeterSep 20, 2017 11:57240874
Never Be Silenced by Bullies or Dictators [52 words]MichaelSep 20, 2017 05:59240871
1Some Thoughts [356 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
EmreSep 20, 2017 04:21240870
Who is the terrorist? [54 words]SadiqOct 8, 2017 01:22240870
erdogan and gulen are like brown and yellow ... [338 words]wealth swiftOct 24, 2017 22:30240870
Only Erdogan can stop Erdogan [384 words]Michael SSep 20, 2017 03:58240869
Where is the speech? [41 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
VivartoSep 20, 2017 03:24240868
Good for you Daniel [58 words]avi elnekaveSep 20, 2017 02:55240866
1I Taught NATO to Stand Up to a Dictator [94 words]Admiral Peter KikareasSep 20, 2017 01:51240865

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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