Retired U.S. Army General: ‘Did Erdogan Blackmail the President?’
Retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark suggested Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan might have blackmailed US President Donald Trump into removing troops from Syria.
Clark argued that there wasn’t any strategic rationale for Trump’s decision and questioned why the decision was made, during an interview on CNN’s New Day.
Ex-NATO Supreme Allied Commander @GeneralClark: “I’m very concerned” about the US withdrawal from Syria because “there doesn’t seem to be any strategic rationale for the decision.”
— New Day (@NewDay) December 24, 2018
Trump impulsively announced a Syria pullout after a phone call with the Turkish leader.
“I just had a long and productive call with President @RT_Erdogan of Turkey. We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area. After many years they are coming home. We also discussed heavily expanded Trade,” Trump tweeted.
Clark expressed concern about the effect Trump’s decision will have on US foreign policy.
“What does this say about the foreign policy of the United States? That we’re not reliable? That we make strategic decisions based on no strategic logic? What kind of person is driving the helm? That’s the issue,” he said.
Clark isn’t the only one criticizing Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria. Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the U.S. military was planning a “major clearing operation” against ISIS, claiming there are “at least 20,000” ISIS fighters still in the region, according to a Daily Beast report.
“So to pull the plug—it’s just hard to understand,” Corker said of Trump’s decision to pull U.S. forces from Syria. “If you want to move away from Syria, why wouldn’t you do it after you’ve done the work that you’ve been planning for so long? Why would you pull the plug in advance of that? That’s the part that I think is heartbreaking to those in the military that are aware of what we were getting ready to do, to those of us who supported the clearing of ISIS and the things that have happened on the ground in Syria,” Corker said.