President Donald Trump, surrounded by political enemies constructing an underhanded, dishonest impeachment, pretty much told the nation that he did not belong in the White House when he decided to yank our troops out of Syria.

It was a disastrous, ignorant move serving no end but revived terrorism, murderous calamity for our Kurdish allies and uplift for a vile, power-seeking Turkish dictatorship. Trump had an excuse, namely that we weren’t ever going to change the Middle East in any substantive way and that we had little at stake. The rest of the world was pretty much putting the peace burden on the United States with us facing the loss of lives and money.

He is partly right. Europe time and again has us do the hard work, and nation-building does not build nations. But it’s not as if there is never reason to intervene. Iran could someday nuke some of our cities to oblivion, as one example, and other kinds of hits on us are too numerous to spell out. Trump once called President Barack Obama the “founder” of ISIS because he initially dismissed the group as nothing much and woke up too late to contain it. Trump acted decisively from the start but is now giving the terrorists a second chance.

The Kurds have been at our side for years, enabling us to accomplish our purposes as we enabled them to survive. One does not treat allies to a bloodbath, which quickly occurred with the invasion of Turks after we began to head home. We’re hitting the Turks with tariffs and warnings of other inadequate steps, and the Kurds are lining up with Syria to create a rearrangement that could go anywhere. Stability was making advances until Trump decided that his self-proclaimed genius should overrule even his own experienced advisers, and those profiting include Russia and Iran, analysts sadly tell us.

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Remember, however, that this is an awry policy decision, not an impeachable crime, something Democratic presidential candidates seemed to forget in their recent horrified reactions in a debate. Trump has weakened himself in any direction he chooses to walk. And, yes, the opposition party along with worried Republicans should do what they properly can do to rectify the worst of it and forestall other bouts of inhumane inanities. We already have an unaccountable impeachment process of closed hearings, no votes, misleading information and a number of Democrats having done what Trump did. Further unconstitutional sabotage with the possibility of replays is hardly preferable to allowing Trump to remain in office.

As for the 2020 election, look first at the past and then at what could come next. Obama helped fashion a nuclear deal with Iran that let it keep the means of producing enriched uranium, kept us from inspecting military bases, permitted the Iranians to continue sponsoring terrorist groups, returned billions of dollars to them and yawned about the testing of ballistic missiles. Defenders of the fraud said Iran stuck to the rules, but it did not. On 32 occasions, Iranians tried unsuccessfully to buy forbidden nuclear technology from Germans.

Trump ended the deal, renewed sanctions that truly are visiting hurt on these preachers of American hate and said he would love to negotiate new understandings and reaffirm the deal. What most of the Democratic presidential candidates are saying is that they would like for America to reenter the deal and then negotiate improvements. So, if you were Iranians, wouldn’t you figure it better fits your strategic objectives to wait a year until an election that just maybe could make your weaponizing ambitions hum again instead of kowtowing to Trump and not becoming a nuclear power?

The best defense of Trump is that the other side is mostly worse.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at [email protected]


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