Possibly because I’ve been following the US President Donald Trump’s talks and tweets instantly by taking notes for almost two weeks, I’ve just realized something that I didn’t notice before: Trump, who leads the USA -and the world to some degree- does not have sense of time.
A while ago, he said, “Turks and Kurds have been fighting each other for centuries”. As if this alone wasn’t enough, he continued: “We allied with Kurds in Syria, but they did not help us with Normandy in the Second World War.”
Speaking at a joint press conference with Italian president Sergio Mattarella in the White House the day before yesterday, Trump said, “The United States and Italy are bound together by a shared cultural and political heritage”, and added that this shared heritage “dates back thousands of years to Ancient Rome.”‘Ancient Rome’ that he talks about is an empire that completed its life in 476 AD, in other words, 1300 years before the foundation of the USA. [He mistakenly called his guest Mr. Mozzarella instead of Mattarella, bemusing the Italian translator, whose tension reflected on her face.]
Yesterday, he wrote in his tweet to show his pleasure with the cease-fire agreement between the USA and Turkey in the Turkish capital, Ankara: “This is a great day for civilization. (. . .) People have been trying to make this deal for many years.”
Since it is too difficult to assume that Trump doesn’t know foundation date of the country he rules, and since it is obvious that he refers to the Roman Empire but not Italy when speaking of ‘Ancient Rome’, considering his previous confusions too, of course, my conclusion that I shared with you above becomes self-evident: Trump does not have sense of time. . .
How could it be possible to talk about ‘a great day for civilization’?
There is no reason to praise the agreement between the US and Turkey yesterday as ‘a great day for civilization’.
Such a remark could have been made if this problem in Syria had been resolved through peaceful means in the first place instead of these two-week long skirmishes on the ground.
How could it have been possible to achieve this?
Washington should have taken it into consideration that the Kurdish organizations would try hard to achieve their own goals by making use of their close friendship with the USA during the joint fight against the ISIS after the end of this fight.
It was surely possible for the USA to follow a strategy that considered concerns and reservations of Turkey, with whom the USA is in an alliance in the framework of the NATO, even during the time of the fight against the ISIS. The US administration could have cared about the border security of Turkey as a NATO ally when it felt that the need for withdrawal of troops from the region would arise by progress of time, and imposed a solution, much more advanced than the yesterday’s agreement in Ankara, on the Kurdish groups that it closely collaborated with during the fight against the ISIS.
This is how friends look after each other if they are true friends indeed.
The US hasn’t acted as a reliable friend in the last two weeks, not towards Turkey, a NATO ally, and not towards the Kurdish groups either, whom it has turned its back on saying “They aren’t angels either” after the fight against the ISIS came to an end.
If I am to clarify the matter. . .
It wouldn’t be realistic to suppose that the USA did not anticipate what sort of developments would occur when it suddenly decided to pull its troops back from the region.
The US surely calculated beforehand what sort of process would take place after giving ‘green light’ to Turkey to launch a military operation by withdrawing American troops from the region on one hand, and restraining the Turkish government on the other hand, as Trump’s presumptuous letter to the Turkish president, set aside in the file to be used when needed, clearly illustrates.
Trump must have calculated this through his business acumen, people around him must have warned him and got him considered likely consequences of his decision if he did not himself calculate.
But Trump did not act in that way.
What did he do instead?
The whole world has seen the consequences of his stand in this matter.
People have died in the skirmishes during two weeks, and Turkey has been exposed to utterly unfair attacks from the whole world supported with a pack of lies that it had never experienced before in its entire history. So, does the agreement signed in Ankara between Vice President Mike Pence and the Turkish government yesterday have any value at all after all these happened?
The apparent and unseen costs of the last two weeks are heavy for the all actors. This is true even for Trump’s America.
The USA and Trump are at the top of the list of losers.
As for us. . .
Turkey is a country which often faces challenging problems; but heaven knows why, we are terrible at solving problems. . .
There are easy ways and hard ways leading to resolution of problems. It is sad indeed that we, one way or another, always choose, not merely hard ways, but the ones that make resolution even harder.
Understandably, we end up in deepening our problems instead of overcoming them.
Wars don’t lead to solutions, and this is particularly true in the present-day world.
Those who think they make gains through a war fail to realize that their losses outweigh their gains.
What did the US administration do yesterday? They accomplished the result that they expected without putting their soldiers at harm’s way.
Turkey must become capable of doing the same in its own region, and waging a war is not the way to achieve this.
As a matter of fact, thanks to early period of the AK Party governments, Turkey was quite close to this level of strength at one time. . .
I hope that everyone would draw necessary lessons from what we have experienced in recent weeks.
[Translated by Bernar Kutluğ from the article appeared in this site’s Turkish section on October 18, 2019]