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The nuance industry invades Syria

Above the blather, one fact remains: Trump made a profound, impulsive blunder that unleashed the forces of hell on the Kurds

Predictably, as things get worse in northern Syria, a cadre of “old hands” on the regional players and politics join the commentariat. Their message is essentially the same, however old (or soiled) their hands: Life is complex. Some Kurds are schmucks. It’s not the first time the Kurds have been shafted.

Their assertions are true. They are also irrelevant.

Meanwhile, Fox News and its Friends proclaim the same, but in Deplorablese: Liberals have become hypocritical war mongers, neo-con dead-enders want to eat our children, the “deep state” is the real ISIS, the next American civil war is upon us. (Sequiturs have never been their forte)

All of this functions to distract from the obvious. The Trump administration made a profound and impulsive blunder (although preceded by a long history of gluttonous Turkey dinners) that further unleashes the forces of Hell in the Middle East—and almost certainly beyond–and spells destruction and displacement for hundreds of thousands. All of this could have been avoided if even a teaspoon of strategic thought and planning had been part of the “decision-making.” A semblance of care would also have helped.

The barrel bombers and chemical weapons thugs have prevailed. Putin, Assad, and other enemies of decency and democracy have all been granted victories from unforced errors. And, as if we didn’t know, the depth of incompetence, obliviousness, and corruption in the real and shadow U.S. State Departments is once again laid bare. As the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine said, the Department is “hollowed out.” Rotting from the head, it is also increasingly without spine. It is certainly without principle.

Trying to respond to the disaster—at least in public relations—there is talk of sanctions. It is all meaningless. The mad dogs have been unleashed again, and they will not be loping home any time soon.

The damage is irreparable. Certainly for the Kurds. Equally certainly, well beyond. We are only seeing the beginning.

About the Author
Henry (Hank) Greenspan is a psychologist and playwright at the University of Michigan who has been interviewing, teaching, and writing about the Holocaust and its survivors since the 1970s.
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