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Trump making wrong moves in Syria-Turkey

Donald Trump campaigned on restoring “respect” for America. The opposite is happening.

The Pew Global Indicators Database shows confidence in the U.S. plummeting, particularly among our allies. Between 2015 and 2018 the UK registered a 48 percent drop; Germany a 63 percent drop; France, 74 percent; and in our closest neighbor Canada, 51 percent.

President Trump ignores briefing materials from defense and intelligence agencies relying on his “gut” to make decisions. Believing the force of his personality will prevail, he announces policy by tweet, bypassing the departments of State and Defense. It leaves our country lurching from policy to policy. Many of those decisions endanger Americans at home and abroad.

On a Sunday evening Trump announced the removal of American forces from the Turkey/Syria border declaring, “ISIS is defeated.”

Hours later, facing near universal criticism, Trump tweets that he will “destroy” the Turkish economy if it does anything, he doesn’t like.

This betrays our Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS, and green lights a Turkish invasion that will lead to a bloodbath. It also means thousands of ISIS fighters held by the Kurds will return to the battlefield.

Even Lindsey Graham, the president’s staunch supporter, called this decision “a disaster in the making.”

Meanwhile, our nuclear strategy is in chaos. Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Agreement has pushed Iran closer to becoming a nuclear power.

Despite the president tweeting, “There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea,” we are faced with multiple missile tests and development of nuclear capable submarines threatening the U.S. mainland.

And Trump ignores the threat to Japan and South Korea, our strongest allies in the region. Now North Korea has announced that negotiations have “failed.”

Real diplomacy means collaborating with allies, engaging with adversaries, and treating other countries with respect. It requires competent, professional diplomatic staff. But the administration has gutted the state department.

The inspector general reports that political appointees are bullying and harassing professional staff that remain, hampering our country’s ability to resolve conflicts with diplomacy.

We may be the world’s dominant military power, but that power doesn’t guarantee other countries will bend to our will.

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wrote, “nations with allies thrive, and nations without allies wither.”

Under Trump, our status as leader of the free world has slipped away. It will take years to regain — if it can be done at all.

Helen Sheehy

Tyrone

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