From the Left



Trump's 'unmatched wisdom' leaves Syria's Kurds -- and us -- in danger

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Keeping together a coalition against the still-dangerous Islamic State is a delicate balance that calls for a touch that Trump does not exhibit. Quite the opposite, he doubled down in a Monday tweet, saying, "As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey ..."

That's our tough-guy president, sounding to me like the man McGurk described: "... blusters and then leaves our allies exposed when adversaries call his bluff or he confronts a hard phone call."

What happened in that phone call with Erdogan? Newsweek quoted an unnamed "National Security Council member" as saying Trump got "rolled" during the call, was "out-negotiated" by his counterpart and "only endorsed the troop withdraw to make it look like we are getting something -- but we are not getting something."

Instead, we're getting a new state of elevated danger because the president who claims to be "tough" and "strong" caves when confronted by adversaries in much the same way he sheepishly appeared to side with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their joint Helsinki news conference in July 2018 in which Trump dismissed U.S. intelligence and accepted Putin's denial that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Once again we see our president to be a transactional leader, judging issues and actions not by a magnetic compass of principles or ethics but by a hard-boiled assessment of what's in it for him.


Some comedians quickly suggested that if the Kurds want Trump to be a reliable partner, they should dig up some dirt on one of his potential Democratic presidential opponents, former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump's diligent pursuit of such dirt has led to his current impeachment inquiry.

Such is the nature of a transactional president, besides "Make America Great Again," Trump's unofficial slogan in his "great and unmatched wisdom" might as well be "Let's make a deal."


(E-mail Clarence Page at




Steve Benson John Branch Ed Gamble Jeff Danziger Paul Szep Clay Bennett