Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Michael Weiss, Daily Beast: It was an unknown number of days after [Donald Trump] received what he described as a "beautiful" letter from his soon-to-be Russian counterpart, a man whose steadfast leadership he has professed to admire and whose regime is currently -- although perhaps not for long -- under U.S. sanctions owing to its invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin's military is also responsible, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, for killing more Syrian civilians in a single year than ISIS has managed to do in three-and-a-half years -- and all in the name of combating what Putin calls "international terrorism and extremism." Not that Trump is aware of that latter statistic (he has, at times, been unaware of Russia's invasion of Ukraine), and not that he would be much bothered by it even if he were. His Syria policy, such as it can be divined from his statements and claims on the hustings, and now in his turbulent transition period, has remained doggedly opposed to reality.
It scarcely matters that "Syria" is here represented by a mass murdering dictator who has in the past instructed his intelligence services to dispatch jihadists into Iraq to blow up American soldiers, and more recently released al Qaeda veterans from his prisons, as he continues to trade with ISIS in oil, natural gas, weapons and electricity. ...
This is the most politically and socially destabilizing mass migration the likes of which have not been seen since World War II, and yet which Trump seems to think it's the work of the caliphate, not his future friend Assad. ...
Putin and Assad would surely welcome a realignment of the world's only military superpower into the Damascus-Tehran-Moscow orbit -- one which Trump blames the weakling Barack Obama for enabling even as he vows to work with it as a geopolitical fait accompli, making the United States a moral underwriter of that troika's war crimes.
Trump's worldview suffers from a major strategic contradiction: one cannot be both pro-Putin and anti-Ayatollah at the same time. Least of all in Syria.
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