Syria, Turkey And President discussed on Larry O'Connor
James Jay Leno is a leading expert on national security and foreign policy over there at the heritage institute. And it's always good to get his perspective on complicated, foreign policy issues, and and by the way, I want to hear from you on this as well what what do you make of the president's latest policy announcements with regard to the Middle East with regard to Syria with regard to Afghanistan with regard to Turkey and prime minister air to one are you on board with that? Do you have questions that need answering? Let's try to get some of those answered now eight eight six three zero nine six two five you have a say in all of this. Triple eight six thirty w ELL Jim Carrey, happy new year, Christmas, all that jazz and likely the only guy actually still working in Washington DC for thirty years after you and me both. During take get company. Listen, let's start with Turkey. Let's start with Turkey. It certainly seems from the president's statements that he trusts prime minister air to one. I don't get the impression that we should am. I am I wrong in that. Or is the president actually just being cagey here? Look Trump's got a knob with only two settings, you know, excuse, and I hate you right there there. There are no medium settings with Trump. So you're either one day Kim best brother the other day. He's gonna burn with fire and fury. That's just I think quite honestly Trump's rhetorical style. Okay. Maybe it's just being a New Yorker. I'm a New Yorker, I get that. So I think you have to look at the actual policies and our policies are difficult as part of NATO is part of the alliance, but oftentimes ups policies are at odds with the United States. That's just the reality of it. But our operations in Syria or not a NATO operation. We've got it's sort of a trilateral thing right Turkey has some involvement. Russia has an involvement we're there, and is it appropriate to ask the question. What does victory? Look like why at what point do we bring our troops home from there? And if so what is that? That's a great question. And I don't think necessarily are. Our our interests. And the Turkish interests are are inimical makeable. I mean, what are US interests? Look, I it's not liberating Syria. I mean, Iran and Russia have had Syria in their orbit forever. It's going to be in their orbit forever. We don't care. I mean, serious bitter enemy for decades. It's never hindered us in the Middle East. It's not really keyed or Middle East strategy. It's not really a decisive state in the Middle East. You all we want is for the problems of Syria to say in Syria, and if we could actually having a permanent footprint in Syria actually, makes no sense if we can figure out a way to lower our footprint and keep serious problems in Syria. And if we're Turkey is doing is not making things worse that I don't see a problem here. Is it fair to ask if Assad had not used chemical weapons, and it appears that he did we would not even be there. Brock Obama by drawing that red line sort of dated him into getting involved. Or is that to a simple? I think what really got us involved in Syria was the metastasized of ISIS, and the fact that they had a physical caliphate because that made it a terrorist threat of a different sort having this territorial claim they had this huge psychological advantage, basically saying that history had changed that there moment was on the rise. Tens of thousands of foreign fighters were flooding into the Middle East. So destroying the physical caliphate was essential. It's not that doesn't mean getting rid of every terrorist. Doesn't mean wiping ISIS from the stable, but demonstrating that these guys were not the next chapter of history that had to be done by taking away the physical territory they own and I think when Trump when he came into office is there was not a way to do that without actually having a physical footprint in Syria to do that. That's the primary reason why we went in having done that. There's no reason to sustain a footprint in Syria. I understand the concerns and share them that that how we leave is important because what we don't want to do is like what Obama did when he withdrew. From iraq. Leave a giant gaping thing for the bad guys to fill in again. So how we do it is important, but doing it probably makes sense. So what do we make a secretary of defense Madison's move here in resigning over this policy? It certainly seems because he's pretty well respected. Not only in the rank and file of the military, but within the corridors of power that's a bold move for him to make in light of this policy. Well, if you if you read General Mattis his resignation letter reclose, he's not very specific what policy differences were so dramatic between him and the president that forced him to actually reside. I mean, we make this presumption that it was over Syria. But we don't actually even know what the Syria plant is interest. Okay. So I think a lot of people are connecting dots. Because of the dots. They have I don't know if we can say definitively that Mattis resigned. Separately. Because he thought Syria was going to be a big problem. I mean, the president just the other day. In iraq. He said, look it's gonna take time to wind down in Syria. We're not just gonna walk away actually going to increase military operations. So I think we're off the presumptive about exactly what policy differences between the president and Mattis made it so severe that. They just couldn't work together anymore. Jim Carrey heritage institute and this tangled relationship with Turkey. Yes. Nato ally. Yes, we cooperate on some things, but there's a major major disagreement. We have the Kurds have been probably our best ally in that region other than Israel over the last seventeen years since the Iraq war, and they are immortal enemy of air to one in Turkey summer suggesting that we're throwing the Kurds under the bus here. I haven't seen anything official about that though. In terms of our withdrawing support what is that about? Well, here's where it gets pretty complicated. First of all it depends on which Kurt you're talking about three different Kurdish groups in the region. We we talk about courage oftentimes rethinking about Kurdistan, which is a part of Iraq. Which is very pro American. It's actually very stable very important. That's not we're talking about. We're talking about the the Kurdish area in Syria. And while we have great sympathy for the Kurds, and we certainly don't want to create a humanitarian crisis says put Kurdish people at risk. The military group that we're talking about at the white PG is actually not the people that you really want to be allies with their Marxist third. Not democrats. The only thing that we had in common is both fighting ISIS. A lot of us were very skeptical about supporting them to begin with. There was a recognition of the necessity of do that. Because that was the only way you could get out and physically defeat ISIS. All right. That was never. There was never going to be a long term permanent partnership between the white PG in the United States. Having said that. This is a good question because as we unwind our footprint or lower in Syria. If we create the potential for another humanitarian crisis. That's not a good thing. And and to be fair. The president's never answered that question of how we're going to do that. Okay. So that's very important. And I appreciate that. Because I had not heard that finally Qatar. I keep whenever I click on a link or read an article or see a guess that has incredibly strong opinions about all of this and really are boisterous in about the Saudi policy about the Turkey policy about Israel policy. You you investigate one or two pages into who this person is where where they work in Qatar seems to be connected to them. I'm not trying to be conspiratorial. But what is Qatar relationship here.