Recovering a lost position

There is little doubt in my mind that Trump blundered in his initial response to the Turkish threat to enter Syria and attack the Kurds. He may wish to end American involvement in the Middle East, and he may wish to reduce American casualties in these various conflicts, but the Americans also didn’t spend almost two decades in dealing with Al Qaeda and its offshoots to throw it all away in a hasty withdrawal, specially when visiting deep harm on one of America’s principal allies is the aim. And there were plenty of others to lay down the line to the President beside myself. So Trump has done what is necessary to repair as much as he can, which begins with this letter, reprinted from Trump talks Turkey, Beltway clutches its pearls. The first part is the letter, which the president of Turkey said was thrown straight into the bin (and how likely is that?) while what follows after are the responses from the criminally insane media.

Erdoğan didn’t say much of anything, but here’s the crazed headline response from Washington:

“Is This Real?”: Trump Sends Third-grade Reading-level Letter To Erdoğan —Vanity Fair

This letter Trump sent to Erdogan is ‘so weird we had to check with the White House to make sure it’s real’ —MSNBC

Jake Tapper: I thought this Trump letter was a joke … it’s real —CNN

Trump’s Letter To Turkey’s Erdogan Shows President Is ‘Deeply Unwell,’ Says Historian: ‘So Threatening, So Unhinged, So Bizarre’ —Newsweek

Read President Trump’s Bizarre Letter to Turkey’s President —New York magazine

Trump’s Letter To Erdogan Was So ‘Adolescent’ People Thought It Was A Fake —HuffPo

You can see the full makings of a freakout. They’re off their rockers with this one.

As for Trump, all the rest of us can see is that the president remains crazy like a fox.

After all, what better way to address a near-dictator hell-bent on killing Kurds than with a do-this-or-I’ll-beat-the-crap-out-of-you letter of this kind?  It’s actually appropriate, because it’s language a thug like Erdoğan can understand.  What better way to talk to him than with words like this?  Trump leaves the Ankara dictator with no uncertainty as to what Trump wants and what Trump will do, same as a godfather in some place like Howard Beach might get across.  Strongmen respond to strong words, not namby-pamby niceties, and Trump just laid it out for Erdoğan what he’s got to do in language he can understand and what’s going to come down the pike if he doesn’t.  An intractable tyrant isn’t going to negotiate nicely, after all, so New York–style street frankness works better.

What’s more, the tone of the letter was unexpected.  It had the strategic element of surprise.

Trump, of course, is under high political pressure at home, even from Republicans, over the U.S. pullout in Syria, as it’s viewed as harmful to our Kurdish allies who helped fight ISIS.  The press is flooding the airwaves with pictures of Kurdish misery, some actually fake.  The other thing is that not all of the Kurds are U.S. allies; Kurdistan is a big place, and some Kurds are firebomb-happy Marxist terrorists and presumably the ones Erdoğan wants out of the picture.  But there may be some allies caught up in Turkey’s offensive, and as Republicans pile on to Trump and insist on endless war, Trump is telling Erdoğan to get the heck out.

It’s appropriate, and now that all presidential conversations with world leaders are now subject to leaks, heh might as well release it.  It was going to get leaked anyway.

It might just work, given that nothing else works with Erdoğan.  The Turkish president’s staff claim he’s thrown it in the trash, but rest assured: he hasn’t.  Trump has his attention now, and he’s going to try to stop him.

It’s talking Turkey.  It may be rough, but rough is good for a thug like Erdoğan.  What’s important in diplomacy is that the message is clear.  Erdoğan now knows the deal.  Too bad the Beltway doesn’t.

So this is where we are now: Donald Trump Triumphant After Successful ‘Tough Love’ Diplomacy with Turkey.

President Donald Trump hailed the ceasefire agreement with Turkey on Thursday, noting that his unconventional approach had brought everything to a peaceful conclusion….

“I guess I’m an unconventional person, I took a lot of heat from a lot of people, even some of the people in my whole party,” Trump said.

Trump said that Turkey had a “legitimate problem” with the Kurds in the 20-mile safe-zone and that his unconventional approach had dislodged previous roadblocks to the deal.

He thanked the Kurds for their patience, saying that they were “incredibly happy with the solution,” as it would help save their lives.

If he doesn’t wish to say in public that he had screwed up, it’s OK with me. But he did screw up and only the uprising from many many Republicans made him see the light. I hope it taught him a lesson, because had he not done what he did, this would have followed him all the way to November next year. In this way, it will be gone in a week.

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