Shameful Syria deal
“When will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. There [sic] always playing politics — bad for our country. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly
help!” — Donald Trump on Twitter Well, just lump us in with all those “haters and fools” out there. Because when this administration signs on to a deal with Vladimir Putin that virtually ensures Syrian dictator Bashar Assad will remain in power and that Iran and its proxy Hezbollah will continue to have safe haven in Syria, then Putin has indeed found the useful fool he has been looking for to occupy the Oval Office.
President Trump — or more accurately his team — may well have clarified yet again what he meant when he talked about Putin’s insistence that he didn’t meddle in the 2016 election. But the whole notion that Trump actually thinks the Russian president — and former KGB agent — intends to “help” in the international arena in a way that furthers American values is dangerously naïve.
Besides, actions speak far louder than words. And the socalled U.S.-Russian “deconfliction” statement issued Saturday setting conditions for the “ultimate political solution” to the years of conflict in Syria has the potential for giving away the store to the Russians and Assad.
Sure, any agreement that allows civilian populations to return to their homes in peace would be a good idea. But is it a reasonable expectation that a man who has used poison gas on his own people will cede power? And is it reasonable to assume Russia won’t demand to keep Syria as its de facto protectorate in any final accord?
Israeli officials have already expressed skepticism about the implications of such an agreement for their northern border with Syria — a border already plagued by occasional incursions from Hezbollah. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, en route to his own meeting with Putin yesterday, expressed similar fears about incursions on his border from Kurdish militants.
But hey, the agreement gave Trump something to point to as a “win” from his Asia trip.
Surely in view of that statement and Trump’s tweet, Ukraine will be justifiably worried about its new “friend” in the White House.