So the United States is pulling up its covert (CIA) stakes, and leaving Syria. What this means is that there is no longer "official" U.S. support for the rebels fighting the autocratic Bashar al-Assad, or the radical Islamic State in Eastern Syria, which the U.S. has been doing since 2013.
Russian leaders, as you can imagine, responded immediately, praising the move, and then vowing to cut ties to moderate rebels in Syria.
If this is part of Donald Trump's secret plan to rid the region of ISIS - because he has a secret plan built around the fact that he knows so much more about ISIS than the generals - I'm not impressed. The Free Syrian Army is not only upset, but they're making sure everyone knows they were blindsided by the move.
In their view, the jihadists and al Qaeda just got stronger.
But wait, it gets better (worse?).
On a broader geo-strategic level President Trump is effectively saying, "Let's leave Syria to the Russians ... and the Iranians" (who support al-Bashar). Acknowledging this, one Trump surrogate even went so far as to comment, "Putin won in Syria."
So, yeah, in one move, we just created a vacuum in the Middle East, and made Russia (and Iran) stronger in the region.
If you needed more evidence that Donald Trump is doing Russia's bidding around the world, walking away from Syria, just one week after meeting Putin in Europe, has to be the last piece you need.
It fits with a longer Trump policy train (wreck) that I pointed out would happen at this time last year (more than once too).
Specifically, the United States is now ceding it's foreign policy positions around the world, both tactically and strategically. And all for what? Because Trump got into bed with Russian oligarchs, and owes them money. Throw in the fact that it looks like Vladimir Putin has some incriminating evidence on our president, and it's easier to understand why America's leadership positions around the world are being had for a song and a dance ... an American song, combined with a Russian dance, to be sure.
But, wait, it gets better (worse?).
The Washington Post's Michael Gerson took a look at President Trump's superpower giveaway today, asked why, and came up with this:
There is nothing normal about an American president’s subservience to Russia’s interests and worldview. It is not the result of some bold, secret, Nixonian foreign policy stratagem — the most laughable possible explanation. Does it come from Trump’s bad case of authoritarianism envy? A fundamental sympathy with European right-wing, anti-democratic populism? An exposure to pressure from his checkered financial history? There are no benign explanations, and the worst ones seem the most plausible.
What we end up with is a Trump "strategery" that weakens NATO, dismisses Europe, abandons the mess in Syria, treads lightly around China, blusters in North Korea, and, quite frankly, hands the keys to the kingdom to Putin.
How we got here is a mystery to many. But make no mistake. Vladimir Putin has been putting his global chess pieces in order for the better part of the last decade. Michael Gerson writes:
Russia has employed a sophisticated mix of conventional operations and cyber-operations to annex territory and destabilize governments. It has systematically encouraged far-right, nationalist leaders and supported pro-Russian, anti-democratic parties across Europe. It is trying to delegitimize democratic processes on the theory that turbulence in the West is good for a rising East. This is a strategy that allows Russia to punch above its strategic weight, especially since Trump has chosen to abdicate the United States’ natural role in opposition.
But wait. It gets better (worse?).
President Trump is now the head of a Republican Party that has decided that they can put their twisted Ayan Rand inspired interests of their party ahead of the long term interests of our nation.
Even after being told by our nation's top intelligence agencies that the Russians intervened in our presidential elections, the GOP have chosen to sit on their hands, and say nothing. Indeed, 49 percent of Republicans now believe Russia is an ally or friend, for no other reason than because they've been told to believe it by their leader, Donald Trump.
To hell with Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. They knew nothing about Russia, compared to Trump.
My Republican friends are telling me, "Don't judge Trump today. Only time will tell."
Yeah, he could still hand over Alaska.
That is better, for the Russians.