Donald Trump

Don't Forget about Turkey

This isn't a Thanksgiving post, but about those other conflicts-of-interest the President seems to have.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

The current political focus may be on Ukraine, but there are reasons to be just as concerned about how President Trump may have made U.S. policy toward Turkey subservient to his personal interests.

Tim Miller has a rundown on The Bulwark of what we know about Trump's financial and other entanglements in Turkey, in addition to key events that suggest reasons for concern. The TL;DR is as follows:

Trump enabled a despot who has significant leverage over his business in a brutal ethnic cleansing of our ally, cutting an opaque sweetheart deal negotiated by the sons-in-law of Erdogan, Trump, and Trump's business partner.

Meanwhile, Erdogan has empowered Trump's business partner, making him Turkey's key man in Washington, which gives him inordinate influence on the administration and ensures that the financial interests of all involved are maintained.

The relevant relationships and policies cry out for further investigation. The story here may be more complicated than the Ukraine "quid pro quo," but it's no less troubling.

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  1. As a counter-point, Trump has been harder on Turkey than most recent presidents, notably not selling them the F-35 even while they are [deadweight] members of NATO. It’s almost like the cucks over at The Bulwark expect a president to have to deal with the crap thrown at them from the dictators of the world and still come out smelling like roses.

    And all this about abandoning the Kurds, who while better marginally than some other ethnic groups in the world, are not some perpetual victim. People forget that the Kurds participated wholeheartedly in the ethic cleansing of the Armenians and Christians in the Ottoman Empire. This issue is not ancient history either, the House just passed a resolution calling for official recognition of the Armenian Genocide for what it was.

    1. Adler has been Adled by Trump Derangement Syndrome.

      Adler is a co founder of anti-Trump group Checks and Balances, along with TDS attorney George Conway.

      https://www.cleveland.com/open/2019/10/conservative-case-western-reserve-jurist-jonathan-adler-publicly-calls-for-trump-impeachment-inquiry.html

      The same George Conway who called Congresswoman Elise Stefanik “trashy”. That’s the company Adler keeps.

      1. Outrage over ‘trashy?’
        That’s some chutzpah coming from someone who keeps company President Trump.

        1. I have not met Trump, so I can’t claim to keep him company.

          I have read a lot about trashy people though.

          Michelle Obama’s Promotion of Misogyny and Date Rape

          Quote:
          Michelle and Barack Obama have openly promoted rap artists who glorify misogyny, sexual objectification of women, and even date rape… In April 2016, the Obamas invited numerous rap artists to the White House … including:

          * Rick Ross’s, “U.O.N.E.O.” glorifies date rape with the lyrics, “Put molly all in her champagne/ She ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that/ She ain’t even know it.” .. Ross’ “Same Hoes” is meanwhile not about agricultural implements as shown by its lyrics, which consist primarily of the F word, a variant of the N word, and “hoes.”

          * Jay Z, who proclaims, “I’ve got 99 problems and a b***h ain’t one.”

          * Nicki Minaj: “Hey Mama,” “Make sure mama crawls on her knees keep him pleased rub him down be a lady and a freak” and also “Yes I do the cooking/ Yes I do the cleaning/ Yes I keep the nana real sweet for your eating/ Yes you be the (boss) yes I be respecting.”

          1. Yeah, you already tried the outrage at gangster rap. You were laughed out of here then. Are you really gonna try for another round of that weak-ass guilt by association?

            I mean, I guess you’re trying it with Adler, and that is generally your bag.

            1. So you agree with and support the lyrics above? Good to know!

              I just call out hypocrisy wherever I see it. Kirkland was originally my inspiration, although I have come to realize that he is likely a right winger satire account. The sheer amount of hypocrisy on the left is staggering. Like from the non-trashy, classy people here:

              ‘WOKE’ KIMMEL LETS BORAT SEXUALIZE MELANIA

              Excerpts (but read the whole article):
              Kimmel invited Sacha Baron Cohen onto his show last week. The British comic introduced an election-themed video featuring his Borat character. He’s the clueless, sexist, Jew-hating reporter from Kazakhstan.

              The bit found Borat trotting out the usual anti-Trump bromides – he called the President “Premier Trump” to play up the faux Russian collusion angle.

              Late in the routine Borat interviews a Republican voter, bringing up the First Lady in awkward fashion.

              “We are very sad in Kazakhstan because when we knew Melania [Trump] she had big pubis, glorious, and now I saw a photograph, and it had been removed. It is sad. The hair from the pubis has been stolen?”

              The voter graciously attempted to steer the chat away from the First Lady.

              “Did the Mexicans steal her pubis?” Borat continued, refusing to do so.

              Kimmel smiled broadly as the bit ended, thanking Cohen for his hard work.

              1. LOL Borat outrage.

                This is getting into old man yells at cloud territory.

                1. That’s not outrage at Borat, that’s outrage at Kimmel and ABC for the apparent double standard – no similar crassness was directed at the Obamas, after all.

                  1. That’s not how jokes work.

              2. “I have come to realize that he is likely a right winger satire account”

                I am a representative of the people who have been curb-stomping your right-wing preferences throughout your lifetime, and who will continue to win the culture war and shape American progress against your efforts and wishes until the day you are replaced.

        2. But you have to discriminate among your targets, Trump is trashy, anyone with their own recurring plot line in WWE is trashy by definition, so I can’t argue there.

          Stefanik is not trashy, not even close, and Conway used a doctored photo to call her trashy. And if you defend calling her trashy because you disagree with her then that’s about the same as having your own WWE plotline.

          1. I’m not saying Conway is cool. I generally think he’s a flim-flam man grifting the #resistance class.

            But a Trump supporter pretending offense at him as a way to get at Adler is some extremely rich hypocrisy that outrage over rap lyrics will not get you out of.

            1. So I will take it as a Yes that you approve of these misogynistic rap lyrics. Good to know!

              1. Kevin,
                No need to lie about other posters. It’s fair to say that SarcastrO seems to be fine with misogynistic rappers having the free speech rights to say/sing awful things. But saying the equivalent of “The Jewish lawyers who defended the rights of Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois are self-hating Jews who support(ed) the Holocaust.” . . . well, that shows a Jr. High level of analysis. Supporting the rights of others to say things you disagree with is one of American’s proudest traditions. I’m sorry it’s not a position you yourself agree with.

              2. “So I will take it as a Yes that you approve of these misogynistic rap lyrics.”

                Since apparently truth has no relevance to this discussion, apparently you ALSO agree with all the rap lyrics ever rapped.

    2. “As a counter-point, Trump has been harder on Turkey than most recent presidents, notably not selling them the F-35 even while they are [deadweight] members of NATO.”

      No he hasn’t been. He only made threats after getting criticized by most Republicans (even Lindsay Graham) for abandoning the Kurds and exposing them to violence by Turkey. It was just his reaction to criticism. The reason for not selling them F-35s is very simple: Turkey bought Russia’s newest missile defense system. Operating both that system and F-35s would allow them to collect data about the F-35’s stealth profile. Since Russia developed the missile system and will carry out some support/maintenance on the system, this is a HUGE security vulnerability (potential for such data to be transferred to Russia) that all NATO members were against.

      “People forget that the Kurds participated wholeheartedly in the ethic cleansing of the Armenians and Christians in the Ottoman Empire.”

      This was over a century ago and no one alive today is responsible for that.

      1. “this is a HUGE security vulnerability (potential for such data to be transferred to Russia) that all NATO members were against.”

        Do you realize that Turkey is a NATO member? So, your statement is ridiculously wrong.

        1. Yes, his saying “all of NATO” instead of “all of NATO except, of course, for Turkey itself, because that’s not totally obvious by context” totally disproves everything else he wrote.

  2. Leave us not forget that every other President has done similar shit since time immemorial; I’m willng to cut George Washington some slack,, since he seems to have not really wanted to be President, but he led an army to enforce a whiskey tax while he himself was selling whiskey.

    If this is the best anyone can come up with to pile on Trump, then either it’s a pretty pathetic pile-on, or it’s a very selective never-Trump pile-on.

    He’s a terrible President. Most are. Any democratic election winner is going to be terrible. The only solution is to get rid of all that government power. It only leads to corruption. Of course, that’s pretty damned unlikely, but whining about one particular example of the inevitable corruption is pretty pathetic.

    The only good thing out of any impeachment is how it ties the politicians up in knots for a considerable time and slows down their corruption.

    1. No, this is not normal. Your lack of examples other than Washington should be a clue.

      1. Lack of example?!? Have yee not heard of history? Have yee never read any history?

        Name one President who wasn’t corrupt. Your own provision of examples would be interesting. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and that burden is definitely on you.

        1. ‘Trump can do bad things because all politicians are bad’ is an extremely bad argument.

          Pounding on the table with broad generalizations is not making your case look stronger.

          1. I’m not saying Trump should get away with it. I’m saying that idiots like you who think he is extraordinarily corrupt are the ones making extraordinary claims and need extraordinary evidence. The Ukrainian and Turkey examples are anything but, and if that’s the best you gt after three years, you got nothing.

            1. Anything but extraordinary? Not to hear the State Department say it. Over and over again. Under oath.

              And don’t pretend you’re not absolving Trump, because you argue he should get away with this.

              1. Your reading comprehension is incredibly awful. I am not trying to absolve Trump of anything. I am saying that all the complaints against Trump are nothing unusual, that every President and every politician is just as corrupt now as they have ever been.

                If anyone is trying to absolve anybody, it’s you trying to absolve all prior Presidents and all other politicians, and the weak tea you have against Trump after three years of shenanigans is nothing extraordinary, and certainly nothing to make him stand out against all others.

                Your fixation on Trump above all else is half of Trump Derangement Syndrome, the other half being those who are ready to elevate him to the sainthood after miraculously defeating Hillary.

                Grow up. He’s just another damned corrupt politician, nothing special.

                1. Actually, he is quite special – outstandingly corrupt, both as President and in his prior career as a businessman.

                  Tell me, what did Lincoln, or Eisenhower, or Carter, to pick a few, do that is comparable to making US foreign policy simply as a tool for personal profit or to attack a political opponent?

                  This “All presidents do this stuff” is BS. It’s nothing but a pathetic excuse for failing to be critical of Trump. You can keep your purity by calling Trump trash, or corrupt, or whatever, without having face the consequences – that he is utterly unfit to be President.

                  1. Nice selection bias. Of COURSE Presidents vary in their corruption. Maybe you are unaware of Lincoln’s many constitutional trespasses. Eisenhower would have ro be remarkably naive and blind to be unaware of Richard Nixon’s scumbuggery. Carter, well, he might be one of the least corrupt Presidents, but he still had his moments.

                    Now try to bring back reality and the other 40 Presidents and tell us all how uncorrupt they were.

                  2. “Tell me, what did Lincoln, or Eisenhower, or Carter, to pick a few, do that is comparable to making US foreign policy simply as a tool for personal profit or to attack a political opponent?”

                    Aside from that being an accusation asserting a specific motive, where alphabet up there is talking about actions,

                    Lincoln shut down the court system in areas of the country that were not actively involved in the war, to keep it from stopping his illegal actions.

                    He shut down opposition newspapers, had their editors jailed. Even had a couple of judges jailed for ruling against him. He actually was quite the tyrant, and rather unapologetic about it.

                    1. The country was at war. And I would venture to say that he didn’t do it to benefit himself personally. It did however benefit the US during a time of crisis. Situations do matter.

                    2. Yes, the country was at war, tyrants typically have reasons for what they do, it doesn’t stop them from being tyrants. It’s what they do that makes them tyrants, not why they do them.

                    3. “He shut down opposition newspapers, had their editors jailed. Even had a couple of judges jailed for ruling against him. He actually was quite the tyrant, and rather unapologetic about it.”

                      Now… did someone say that he was immune from impeachment over these offenses (not the mention sending the armies rampaging though American territory.)
                      He didn’t get impeached because his opponents (largely) left the House when they claimed not to be part of the United States any more. Then he got assassinated before Reconstruction could even get started.

            2. Does it make a difference whether he is extraordinarily corrupt or just extraordinarily inept at covering up his own corruption?

          2. ‘Trump can do bad things because all politicians are bad’ is an extremely bad argument.

            Pounding on the table with broad generalizations is not making your case look stronger.

            How about all politicians with sketchy wealth and dealings?

            Reserving investigation attacks for hated opponents is a violation of constitutional standards.

            Rip everyone open or don’t.

            1. Saying ‘Trump can’t get in trouble, because that’d mean the system is unfair’ is another extremely bad argument.

              1. Saying Trump deserves singling out for being just as bad as politicians whom you have absolved is an extremely bad argument. It seems to be the only one you have.

                1. Refining your argument to ‘everyone should be in jail, therefore no one should be’ is not getting less dumb.

                  1. It’s a hell of a lot more consistent than “Only Trump should be in jail.” That’s the very definition of TDS.

                    1. I’m saying Trump should be in jail. You’re the one reading the only into it.

                    2. You don’t say any others should have been in jail. What other inference is there, if not that only Trump should be in jail?

                    3. The question is if Trump should be in jail. Stop changing the subject with your fallacies and sophistry.

                    4. Yeah, you announce a principle that demands the action you want, people point out it demands some action you don’t want, and you’re all, “Stop changing the subject!”

                      We’re not changing the subject, we’re demonstrating that you don’t actually hold the principles you claim to, they’re just an excuse to get your way, and the moment they demand something you don’t want, you ditch them.

                    5. If the argument is that people who are President should not be allowed to do this, then it pretty much applies only to Trump at present, is that not so?

      2. How about Vice Presidents, Sarcastro?


        Interfax-Ukraine News Agency: MPs demand Zelensky, Trump investigate suspicion of U.S.-Ukraine corruption involving $7.4 bln

        Quote:
        Ukrainian members of parliament have demanded the presidents of Ukraine and the United States, Volodymyr Zelensky and Donald Trump, investigate suspicions of the legalization of $7.4 billion by the “family” of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych through the American investment fund Franklin Templeton Investments, which they said has ties to the U.S. Democratic Party.

        Derkach also announced the amount of money transferred to representatives of the Burisma Group, including Hunter Biden. According to documents, in general, in favor of Hunter Biden, Alexander Kwasniewski, Alan Apter and Devon Archer, Burisma paid about $16.5 million.

        According to Derkach, ex-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin repeatedly appealed to the NABU Director Artem Sytnyk in the framework of criminal proceedings for Burisma, but constantly received formal responses. The activities of Shokin, according to the MP, irritated then U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during his fifth visit to Kyiv in two years. The visit on December 7-8, 2015, was devoted to solving the issue of Shokin’s resignation for the affairs of Zlochevsky and Burisma, he said.

        “The subject of pressure was the $1 billion credit guarantee that the United States should have provided to Ukraine: Biden himself acknowledged the pressure in his speech to the U.S. Foreign Relations Council in January 2018,” Derkach said.

        1. If Biden’s corrupt, fine, take him down. But that doesn’t absolve Trump of anything.

          That being sad, suspicions of the legalization from Russian stooge Derkach?
          This is some weak-ass business.

          1. LOL that you claim to know jack about Ukrainian politics. Where did you get “Russian stooge Derkach” from? Mother Jones magazine?

            1. Um, his deal as an MP is neither esoteric nor a secret.
              You can easily Google it.

              Attacking a speculative messenger is not a sign you’ve got much in your arsenal. Maybe read up a bit more before you copypaste.

              I remember when your posts were useful challenges and counterexamples for any who might think Dems were pure. I liked you.
              Now it’s all tin foil trash and vintage 1990s outrage. What happened to you?

          2. No, actually it does absolve Trump of something.

            If you’re claiming that Trump is corruptly urging the investigation of potential corruption on the part of Biden, demonstrating that the corruption is real is exculpatory, because Trump has a legitimate interest in seeing corruption exposed.

            Yes, if it’s his potential political foe, he’s got other interests, too. But that turns it into a happy, (For Trump) confluence of motives, instead of corruption. It’s a GOOD thing when political motives and the pursuit of justice align.

            1. First, Kevin is offering the example to exonerate Trump over Turkey, not Ukraine.

              Second, as has been told to you over and over again, what matters isn’t the ends Trump was going for it was the means. I know this is an easier thesis to argue, but alas that’s not the case the Dems are making.

              1. Second, as has been told to you over and over again, what matters isn’t the ends Trump was going for it was the means.

                Second, as has been told to you over and over again, what matters isn’t the ends the congressional Democrats were going for it was the means.

                The means being using the power of government to investigate political opponents for the purpose of hurting them.

                Which is the bigger danger to the future of freedom in the United States?

                1. Careful with those brand new goalposts – they don’t make Brett’s argument any more valid.

                  Your argument that Dems don’t get to impeach or investigate because those are bad means is ridiculous as well, though.

                2. “The means being using the power of government to investigate political opponents for the purpose of hurting them.”

                  No, if you can be hurt by being investigated, it is because you are guilty. Nixon had to resign because he was guilty. Clinton was investigate for Whitewater, but didn’t have to resign because he wasn’t guilty, despite Mr. Starr’s best efforts.

                  Trump may or may not be more corrupt that any President who ever served. He is definitely more inept at covering up. He instinct is to lie, but he’s not very good at it, despite all the practice.

              2. You are really bringing forth the “ends vs means” argument, after all the other politicians who you have absolved for their scurrilous means AND ends?

                Grow up. Learn some principles. Be consistent.

                1. Brett’s argument is that if Biden’s guilty of something, Trump’s absolved because it was good to find that out. That’s nowhere near any argument anyone is making.

                  I’ve not absolved any past politicians of anything. Read better.

                  1. You’ve singled out Trump for doing what every other politician has done, and that after three years in office. If here were as much worse than other Presidents and politicians as you claim, you should have had something in the first year.

                    That’s absolving all other politicians.

                    1. First, ‘no fair, they did it too’ is fallacious.
                      I’m not singling Trump out; you’re the one asking for special pleading.

                      You’ve not proven Trump has done something every other politician has done. Airy gestures at ‘corruption’ is obliterating all gradations.

                    2. The hell you aren’t singling out Trump. What other Presidents do you think should have been in jail?

                    3. War crimes mostly.

                      But you the one saying they’re all corrupt. And then you want me to tell you how they are all corrupt or else I have a double standard?!

                      What kind of sophistic BS is that.

                    4. I say almost all politicians are corrupt. If you actually believe to the contrary, you in a tiny minority. Yours is the extraordinary claim. You need to provide the extraordinary proof to back it up.

                    5. I believe there are gradations of corruption.

              3. “Second, as has been told to you over and over again, what matters isn’t the ends Trump was going for it was the means.”

                If that was really the essence of the charge, you wouldn’t be so relentless about attributing corrupt motive, because motive wouldn’t matter. You’d just accuse him of holding up the aid, and that would be it.

                In fact, motive is everything, because holding up aid in this manner to pressure foreign governments to do things is perfectly routine.

                1. In fact, motive is everything

                  First, this is inconsistent with your position in the hate crimes thread.
                  Second, Trump’s motive does not turn on the Bidens’ guilt or innocence.
                  Third, Trump’s motive has thusfar not been connected to any special knowledge about the Bidens’ actions.

                2. holding up aid in this manner to pressure foreign governments to do things is perfectly routine.

                  Depends on what you want the recipient to do.

                  This is not perfectly routine. Let’s listen to Lindsey Graham:

                  “Sure,” Graham said when asked if there was anything that could persuade him to support Trump’s impeachment. “Show me something that is a crime. If you could show me that Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”

                  Not even that Trump ass-kisser thinks the conduct is just routine.

                  1. I don’t particularly like defending Lindsey Graham, even if he IS in “There’s a primary approaching, I should look like a conservative!” mode.

                    But this is the fallacy of equivocation in action. If Trump walks into a grocery store, and buys a six pack of Coke, it’s a “quid pro quo” when he pays the clerk. ALL exchanges are “quid pro quo”s in a literal sense, but the term is usually restricted to illegitimate exchanges. It’s the “illegitimate” part you have to establish, not the “exchange” part.

                    1. “the term is usually restricted to illegitimate exchanges.”

                      As in this case, wherein the President attempted to coerce a foreign government into aiding his campaign. (Then, for some reason, kept repeating “read the transcript” when the transcript said right on it that it wasn’t full and complete, showing just how much of the transcript he’d read himself.)

            2. “If you’re claiming that Trump is corruptly urging the investigation of potential corruption on the part of Biden, demonstrating that the corruption is real is exculpatory, because Trump has a legitimate interest in seeing corruption exposed.”

              Like so many other things, it would show that he is inept and a poor leader. Mr. Trump has been President for nearly 3 years now, and he’s only just now getting around to this? He’s had the entire apparatus of the federal law enforcement machinery in his control for years. Why is he asking another country to investigate one of our citizens?

          3. “If Biden’s corrupt, fine, take him down.”

            The argument that Biden is or was corrupt boils down to “look, a bunch of corrupt people gave Biden’s son a sweetheart deal”. That proves that the corrupt people attempted to reach Joe.

            It doesn’t show that Joe was corrupted. Come back when you have some kind of evidence that Joe did something he should not have done. Note that Trump does not need anyone in Ukraine to look for such evidence; the DOJ and federal law enforcement agencies work in his administration. They could have been digging at this topic for three years… either they were digging, and didn’t find anything, or Trump is too inept to have put them to work on it (both of which aren’t in Trump’s favor, or the people who work in the DOJ and the federal law agencies refused to even look into it… I’m sure that this is the one they’ll settle on… but then you have to ask why there are NO Republicans anywhere in the whole lot. I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that w found somebody willing to write down that torturing prisoners was A-OK because we’re the good guys, and they might be terrorists, and that’s what he wanted to hear. Did they ALL leave public employ when Obama was elected? (The Republicans in the DOJ, I mean, not the terrorists in American custody.)

        2. KevinP: How about Vice Presidents, Sarcastro?

          Do we need to hear this ignorance yet again? Let’s run thru the fact one. more. time.

          (1) Joe Biden pressured Ukraine on orders of President Obama, who didn’t care one bit about Little Hunter or Burisma

          (2) Biden’s pressure followed the directives of the State Department, and for policy aims of the United States government. None of this had the slightest connection to Hunter or Burisma.

          (3) Biden’s pressure was requested by the European Union. The EU was not concerned about Little Hunter or Burisma.

          (4) Biden’s action was in conjunction with similar pressure from the World Bank. It’s safe to say the World Bank was not thinking about Hunter Biden when they pressured for Shokin’s ouster.

          (5) Biden’s pressure was joined by parallel action by the IMF and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Personally, I don’t even know what the EBRD does, but can still safely predict it has nothing to do with Hunter Biden.

          (6) Biden’s pressure had strong bipartisan support in Congress. Hunter Biden has no support in Congress. What does that tell you?

          (7) Biden’s pressure was applauded by every reform group in Ukraine. They cheered when that pressure proved successful and Prosecutor Shokin was finally forced out. At the time, the Kyiv Post called him one of the most hated men in all of Ukraine. Who
          could have guess Hunter Biden was so popular in Ukraine?

          KevinP : You bull**** is a lie. It is an obvious, clumsy, stupid lie, easily refuted by every single fact. It’s the kind of lie which can only be passed around between willing dupes, because it can’t stand a moment’s scrutiny outside their hermetic bubble. The entire western international order between the United States and Europe supported Biden’s pressure. You’ll never going to get around that fact. It’s impossible for you to evade that fact. It’s not going away, no matter how many phony sources you produce.

  3. The linked article mentions a Trump Breitbart quote from 2015, which I’ll reproduce in full:

    “I have a little conflict of interest ’cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” Trump said on Breitbart News Daily. “It’s a tremendously successful job. It’s called Trump Towers—two towers, instead of one, not the usual one, it’s two.”

    Is that the reason Trump betrayed our Kurdish allies, against the suggestion of every military, intelligence, and national security adviser? Against a bi-partisan consensus of Congress? Against all State Department policy? Without any formal review of the decision beforehand?

    We already know Trump will put personal benefit over United States government objectives. That’s what the Ukrainian shakedown was all about. Is that what happened with the Kurds? You tell me…..

    1. A major tenet of Trump’s foreign policy, is that the proper aim of American government is to benefit Americans. If you can benefit non-Americans along the way, that’s great, but in any case where the interests of Americans and those of non-Americans come into conflict, the interest of Americans should prevail in American policy.

      He’s publicly stated in international forums that all governments should behave in this way, not just America.

      A lot of people in American government don’t share that point of view. But they’re not President, and he is.

      1. A major tenet of Trump’s foreign policy, is that the proper aim of American government is to benefit Americans.

        Well, a small subset of Americans – mostly those named Trump.

        Are you really defending him – sorry, Brett, Him, on that basis? Abandoning the Kurds was OK, because he got something out of it, and he’s an American?

        1. So your saying the majority of Americans believe that the aim of American foreign policy is to benefit non-Americans?

          Is that what you are saying?

          1. Polls on how Trump treated our Kurdish allies say either yes or that people have a pretty different definition of America’s interests than Trump.

            1. Trump has bad poll numbers, views on him taint everything.

            2. That’s fine, and if the American electorate disagree with Trump about those interests, we can replace him next year.

              It still remains that pursuing a different foreign policy from that the career State Department likes does not, on the face of it, constitute “corruption”.

              1. That alone is not sufficient for corruption. But you’re building quite a circumstantial case when you add the timing in the OP in. And the pattern shown with respect to other countries.

              2. That’s fine, and if the American electorate disagree with Trump about those interests, we can replace him next year.

                Time to end this thread.

                “Will no one rid us of these endless boomer presidents?”

                Whether Trump wins next, or one of the usual Democratic suspects, it will be well into the 3rd decade of booer control.

                1. Meant boomer control, but booer works, too.

                2. “Whether Trump wins next, or one of the usual Democratic suspects, it will be well into the 3rd decade of booer control.”

                  Must be a Mayor Pete fan.

              3. “That’s fine, and if the American electorate disagree with Trump about those interests, we can replace him next year. ”

                True enough. But it’s also true that if the American electorate felt that Trump should be ousted, they could have chosen to elect mostly Representatives who would move to remove him THIS year.

                Note that these are not interchangeable… removing him now replaces him with a Republican, and removing him next year probably replaces him with a Democrat. I wonder if a primary challenger would have a chance… this would also let R’s replace him with another R, rather than risking removing him for a D. (No, I don’t expect it to happen. Donnie has successfully seized enough of the Republican power structure to disincentivize challenging him from the right.

            3. It’s a good thing the Constitution delegates foreign policy to opinion polls!

              1. Well, it does, although only to a limited extent. The executive branch makes foreign policy with the advice and consent of the Senate, and making foreign policies that are wars requires Congress to vote for it. And paying for it also goes before Congress.

          2. What I’m saying is that the majority of Americans don’t think the aim of foreign policy is to line the President’s pockets.

            The “They all do it” defense is bullshit.

        2. Sure, I’ll defend him (Absolutely lower case.) on the basis that Presidents make US foreign policy, not the state department, and that Trump’s announced foreign policy is entirely within the range of legitimate policy choices.

          And if you don’t like that, win an election with a candidate who disagrees with that foreign policy.

          1. So that’s the best you can do?

            What he did was legal (maybe, except for the emoluments business, or the possibility that it could be construed as an outright bribe) so you’re fine with it?

            Not much of a defense, except for a Trump worshipper.

            1. Until somebody comes up with a better case against Trump, it isn’t like he’s in need of much of a defense.

              1. And so Brett joins Bob in the arena of nihilism.

                ‘Who cares what’s good or bad so long as it’s not criminal and I think Trump can get away with it.’

                1. If you were making an argument that abandoning the Kurds was bad policy, I’d be all ears.

                  But you’re not arguing that it’s bad policy, you’re arguing that it’s impeachable policy.

                  1. I wasn’t arguing impeachable, I was arguing outrageous. But I’d add abetting war crimes to the articles, yeah.

                  2. It is impeachable, Brett, if it was done for personal gain. It would constitute accepting a bribe.

                    There is no difference between advancing his business interests in Turkey and just taking a check from the Turkish government.

                    The motive of the act does matter. It defines the difference between bribery and poor judgment, in the government and in the private sector.

                    1. So you’re back to having to attribute corrupt motivation, which requires denying that any other motive might be present.

                    2. OK Brett.

                      Someone pays Trump $10 million for a pardon, which he issues. Then he says, “Gee, I felt sorry for the guy. He’s been in jail a long time.”

                      Maybe that’s even true. According to your logic everything is perfectly OK, because he had some sort of motive other than getting the cash.

                      You are defining bribery for official acts out of existence, as long as the President can allege some sort of non-corrupt motive along with the corrupt one.

                      That’s insane.

                      You can always claim some legitimate motive, even if it’s a poorly judged one, especially on policy questions. You can even make one up after you get caught.

                    3. “Someone pays Trump $10 million for a pardon, which he issues. Then he says, “Gee, I felt sorry for the guy. He’s been in jail a long time.””

                      I’m not particularly interested in hypotheticals where there can’t be any question of Trump’s guilt because you built that guilt right into the hypothetical.

                      If all you’ve got is a textbook example of begging the question, not even bothering to conceal what you’re doing, you got nothing.

                    4. “I’m not particularly interested in hypotheticals where there can’t be any question of Trump’s guilt because you built that guilt right into the hypothetical.”

                      So, you can’t hold the idea that he might be guilty in your head, then?

                2. “And so Brett joins Bob in the arena of nihilism. ”

                  Welcome.

                  Its nice in this “arena” Brett.

                3. ‘Who cares what’s good or bad so long as it’s not criminal and I think Trump can get away with it.’

                  That’s not quite accurate.

                  More like “who cares what’s good or bad… if it drives the liberals nuts, let’s have more of it”

        3. Well, the plurality – 41% – said they don’t know enough to judge.
          Of the remainder, 24% approved, 34% disapproved.

          Interestingly, the partisan breakdown of the approval/disapproval was heavily skewed – about 56% of Republicans approved, while 60% of Democrats disapproved.

          So, what you actually have is a small subset of Americans approve, and a small subset of Americans disapprove, while the large group of Americans either don’t know or don’t care to know.
          And the approval/disapproval is on mostly partisan lines.

          Incidentally, the fact that you use the phrase “Abandoning the Kurds” shows you you fall into one of the small subsets of Americans.

      2. We learned about what one gets out of an America First foreign policy in the 1940s.

        We learned about what one gets from world affairs being mediated by pure national interest in the 1910s.

        It sucks being an empire, but it sucks more to withdraw and watch what entropy brings.

        1. We don’t have any significant interests in Syria. Its been a Russian client state since the 6 Day War, the Russians have had a navy base since 1971.

          Empires can’t fight everywhere. Not us, not the Romans, not anyone

          1. No one is saying we need to fight everywhere, but we already had troops there. We STILL have troops in the region. We pulled out so fast we majorly screwed our logistics.

            Don’t pretend this was a utilitarian decision.

            1. Trump’s instincts are non-intervention, but he also listens too much to the foreign policy establishment.

              We accomplished our goals in Syria, we should pull out entirely.

              1. That’s…quite a needle you threaded there.

                ‘He did it because of non-interventionism. He didn’t do any of the other things a normal non-interventionist would to do gain the benefit of this decision because he listened to the interventionists. But not so much that he didn’t listen to his non-intervention instincts.’

              2. “We accomplished our goals in Syria”

                True enough, depending on how carefully you define what “our goals” are. As long as “supporting our allies” isn’t one of “our goals”, then we should definitely walk away.

            2. Wait, which country and President are you referring to? Iraq under Obama?

              1. Telling elision of Bush there.

                Get better whattaboutism.

                1. whataboutism (n.) def: a word employed by people when their hypocrisy and double standards are exposed.

                  ISIS is directly traceable to Obama’s premature withdrawal from Iraq.

                  1. I, and many foreign policy experts, say it’s traceable to Bush’s Debathification.

                  2. KevinP : ISIS is directly traceable to Obama’s premature withdrawal from Iraq.

                    Tell me : Would that be the “premature withdrawal” exactly following the Iraq troop withdrawal treaty negotiated and signed by George W. Bush? Tell me : Do you know anything at all about these events? It doesn’t seem like you do. It seems like your entire knowledge about this subject is nothing more than a handful of slogans.

                    1. You mean the treaty that Obama’s reps refused to extend, even as the Iraqis were asking for it to be extended?
                      Do you actually know anything about these events? I sure doesn’t seem like you do.

                    2. Toranth: “You mean the treaty that Obama’s reps refused to extend”

                      I’ll grant you this much : You’re a slightly less clueless than KevinP, since at least you’ve got threadbare talking points to beat back your retreat. KevinP didn’t even know that much.

                      Yes, George W Bush negotiated and signed the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, which mandated a deadline of 31 December 2011, before which “all the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory”. The last U.S. troops left Iraq on 18 December 2011, in accordance with this agreement.

                      No, the Iraqis were not eager for the U.S. to remain. Since you obviously need schooling about this, I’ll lay out the resulting events in detail :

                      Negotiations between the U.S. and Iraq for a new treaty began in fall 2010. In June 2011, President Obama told Prime Minister Maliki the U.S. was prepared to leave up to 10k soldiers to continue training and equipping the Iraqi Security Forces. Mr. Maliki agreed, but said he needed time to line up political allies.

                      By August, the U.S. offered to reduce the troop numbers down to 3k to 5k.

                      By October 2011, American officials pressed Iraq for a meeting at the Iraqi leader’s compound. The U.S. asked President Talabani to take a stand on the question of immunity for U.S. troops, the major roadblock to a new deal. However, they misread Iraqi politics and the Iraqi public. The Arab Spring had just swept across the region and the Iraqis were unwilling to accept anything they thought infringed on their sovereignty.

                      November 2011 (shortly before the year-end withdrawal date) the Iraqi parliament rejected giving U.S. troop immunity. The Iraqi government publicly stated they would not support any legal immunity for any American forces.

                      So, Toranth, two points : First, the Iraqi’s were not eager for the U.S. to stay, but sabotaged negotiations on the one point where they knew the United States would not budge. They did so openly, publicly and emphatically.

                      Secondly, I obviously know much more about this than you, since I take the trouble to learn the facts behind anything I post on. Why don’t you?

                  3. “ISIS is directly traceable to Obama’s premature withdrawal from Iraq.”

                    Sure, if you ignore who got us involved in Iraq in the first place.

        2. No, we haven’t learned anything from our foreign meddling, and the “consensus” that Trumpians refer to as deep state was called the blob by the previous administration. No greater glory than to maintain the status quo as part of American greatness, eh?

          1. The “deep state” consists of people who have a job to do, and know their job, and object to people being appointed over them who don’t know their jobs, and want to insist on substituting their preferred imaginings for objective reality.

            Alas, it ALSO consists of people who’ve bought into the habit of substituting their preferred imaginings for objective reality, and started doing it every day at work.

            So, going back a couple of administrations, the “deep state” tried to tell VP Cheney that we wouldn’t be “greeted as liberators” in Iraq, but they also kept telling everyone that Saddam had stocks of poison gas and weapons to use it.

            In short, sorry, conspiratorial Republicans, it isn’t new, and it isn’t made primarily of Democrats.

      3. “A major tenet of Trump’s foreign policy, is that the proper aim of American government is to benefit Americans”

        More accurately, a major tenet of Trump’s foreign policy, is that the proper aim of American government is to benefit Donald J Trump, and other Americans can try to look out for themselves.

    2. “betrayed our Kurdish allies”

      Like everything in the Mideast, the truth is complicated.

      The ‘Kurdish allies” in Syria are a Communist run group that has launched terror attacks inside Turkey for years. We “re-branded” them as a new group so we could use them against ISIS, a mutual enemy. So, they are an ally of convenience. That is fine, we were allies of the Soviets once as needed.

      This group continued its attacks on Turkey, which whatever you or I may think of its leader, is a longstanding ally, a member of NATO, where we have a very important air base.

      The Turks were going to pacify the border one way or another. Do you want to have US troops in conflict with Turkish ones? That is the cost of not “betraying our Kurdish allies”.

      1. Oh, FFS. Yeah, lets let the ethnic cleansing of our ally go on because they’re Commies and Turkey calls them terrorists.

        1. So the PKK hasnt committed acts of terror in Turkey? Because Erdogan is a bad dude (will readily assent to that) all of his foes are ipso facto squeaky clean?

          1. Turkey isn’t cleansing the PKK, they’re cleansing the Kurds.

            1. I think “ethnic cleansing” is a bit over the top. Ethnic cleansing is rounding up people who want to stay, on the basis of their ethnicity, and forcing them to leave.

              People fleeing an unwanted occupation isn’t a good thing but it’s not ethnic cleansing.

              1. I mean, Erdogan and Trump both said that was what they were doing.
                Trump said the Turks needed to have a swath of Syria “cleaned out”
                Erdogan openly plans to forcibly resettle the Kurds.

                1. There are still lots of Kurds living in the region.
                  Even the Kurds are only calling it a “soft ethnic cleansing” because “people are afraid” and they actually focus more on how Christians are being treated like second-class citizens.

                  If there was actually ethnic cleansing going on, like we see in Africa, it’d be trumpeted from the rooftops.

                  1. “There are still lots of Kurds living in the region.”

                    There are still Jews in Europe, too, and Native Americans in the United States.

              2. “Ethnic cleansing is rounding up people who want to stay, on the basis of their ethnicity, and forcing them to leave. ”

                By way of mortality.

        2. “calls”

          They are terrorists. Its called the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK. Look them up, they are not nice people, they use child soldiers among other bad things.

          The Turks suck too. You might want to get in between them, I don’t.

          1. You, like Turkey, are conflating a political subfaction with Kurds generally.

            Pretty textbook fascistic BS, which I know you’re too smart to fall for. So what’s your excuse?

            1. There are three distinct groups of Kurds. Two are worth supporting. The third group, the PKK? Not so much. We made a battlefield alliance with them to defeat ISIS. ISIS is now defeated.

              The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend.

            2. “fascistic ”

              A word you don’t know the meaning of. It doesn’t mean “things I don’t like”.

              The PKK is the de facto government of that area, how do you stop the PKK without invasion? Air strikes? No way civilians get hurt from those.

              Its a fact that the PKK has launched terror attacks inside Turkey for decades. How do you propose to stop them?

              1. Targeting an outgroup for some wrong and then expanding your set over and over again is fascism 101.

                I see you have no problem with it. So long as it’s helping your side.

                Forced relocation is ethnic cleansing. That’s not a legitimate method to solve whatever problem there is. And BTW taking Erdogan’s word for the terrorism may not be the best of ideas.

                1. I am not taking his word. PKK has used terror since the 1970s.

                  “Targeting an outgroup for some wrong and then expanding your set over and over again is fascism 101.”

                  Jargon is not an argument.

                  PKK controls the area. Again, how does Turkey stop the attacks?

                  “So long as it’s helping your side.”

                  I don’t have a side here, Turks and this group of Kurds both suck.

                  1. Your semantic faffing about is not going to get you out of what’s fascistic. Get outta hear with ‘ahem fascism is an economic system wherein…’

                    If you see the only valid method of solving this problem – a problem Turkey has with our allies – to be ethnic cleansing like Erdogan is doing, get your moral compass checked.

                    War crimes are never justified.

                    1. “semantic faffing ”

                      Whatever Commie.

                      “War crimes are never justified.”

                      Tell that to the PKK.

                    2. Keep stanning for Erdogan, it’s a great look.

                    3. Do you recognize, Sarcastro, that these clingers would be defending the Kurds with equal ferocity had Trump awakened on his other side that morning and lurched toward embrace of the Kurds?

                    4. “stanning”

                      LOL Ok fellow youth.

                      PKK v. Turkey is like Iraq-Iran in the 1980s. They should both lose.

              2. “The PKK is the de facto government of that area, how do you stop the PKK without invasion?”

                build a wall? How have the South Koreans kept the North Koreans out of Seoul for the 65 years since they (we) last invaded the North?

        3. The U.S. State Dept designated YPP as a terrorist group well before the Trump administration. The Kurds in Syria were not allies, they were clients and proxies. I don’t doubt that someone disingenuously hinted at our support for a Kurdish homeland.

          1. Kurds should have a homeland. It would take a major war to get one for them.

            Sarcastos Kurd support is merely because Trump.

            1. It is amusing, watching him spin and squirm to support a terrorist organization that’s been murdering civilians since before Syria’s Assad stopped using them as a paramilitary force against Turkey in the 1980s. I mean, this is a group that is in open rebellion against Turkey’s government in the SE, that supplies their fighters from “safe havens” in Syria and Iraq. Of course Turkey is going to kill them! It’s no different than Korea or Vietnam.

              Maybe he just loves them because they are die-hard Communists?

            2. I generally defend any ally who we let get ethnically cleansed.

            3. “Kurds should have a homeland. It would take a major war to get one for them. ”

              “The PKK is the de facto government of that area”

              Since you’ve come down on each side of that particular argument, is there any reason to take either one seriously?

            4. And if Trump started pushing for a Kurdish homeland Sarcastro and bernard would be certain that it was because Trump had an exclusive deal for hotels in Kurdistan.

              1. If Trump started pushing for a Kurdish homeland, nobody would bsimie particularly surprised when it later turned out that he had a way to personally benefit from this happening.

                In other words, there’s a pretty strong historical trend of Trump being in favor of things that personally benefit Trump, and a similarly strong historical trend of his not being particularly interested in things that do not personally benefit Trump.

  4. To a large extent this is the same thing you saw with the Comey firing, then the Ukraine mess: Trump taking actions which are within the normal authority of Presidents, and which may even be defensible from a certain standpoint, (EVERYBODY has thought Comey needed firing, at one point or another.) but Trump’s foes just automatically assume he’s doing them out of corrupt motives.

    They don’t even entertain the possibility that he might have some legitimate policy reason for the action. It’s just straight to corrupt motives, and that’s it.

    1. You do have to admit that with Trump, corrupt motive does seem to satisfy Occams razor.

      1. Satisfies confirmation bias, anyway.

        1. There’s a fairly well-established (and obvious) trend. You don’t have to like it, but pretending it isn’t there just makes you look deluded.

    2. “Trump’s foes just automatically assume he’s doing them out of corrupt motives.”

      Could this possibly be because of how often Donnie comes right out and says he’s doing things out of corrupt motives? Or how often he (and his apologists) change their stories about why they’re doing things? Or how defensive they all get when you actually ask them fact-based questions?

  5. America’s betters will deal with Erdogan soon enough. It will probably be worse for Erdogan than it is for our domestic clingers.

  6. “ethnic cleansing of our ally” is there any evidence of the Turks having been genocided?
    Also, it is pretty absurd that after everything people are still pushing this sort of manchurian candidate, kompromat line of argument

    1. …did you mean to type Turks there?

      1. Kurds rather

  7. I wonder why so many people in this thread are hating on our NATO ally?

    1. How long after Trump departs before NATO tosses Turkey to the curb. where it belongs, with other authoritarian Islamist states and Putin-cuddlers?

      If Turkey were to respond to the insult by nationalizing the Trump Towers, I would be content.

      1. Most of the properties with the Trump name on them are actually built and owned by others. They pay him to put the name on the building/golf club/etc because the suckers think it adds value. In some places, the suckers don’t think it adds value, and as a result the branding deals have been abandoned. For some reason, Mr. Trump doesn’t talk much about those.

        The reason he won’t release his taxes is that people would find out that he isn’t nearly as rich as he likes to tell people, which would, in turn, damage the value of the branding, such as it is, and cost him actual money. His income largely relies on people believing that he is a rich guy and a competent business manager. Running for the Presidency helped him; actually winning could turn out to be quite costly for him. He can only blame his mistakes and blunders on other people for so long… eventually, even the stupid will catch on.

    2. It may be because Erdogan is a dictator who has abused his power to crush resistance to his government in Turkey, sided with US enemies, and use the conflicts in the Middle East as a weapon to threaten and harass our much more important European NATO allies with.

      Turkey, as it is right now, should be booted out of NATO.

    3. “I wonder why so many people in this thread are hating on our NATO ally?”

      Because Trump keeps saying he doesn’t understand why we still have NATO, that the US should get out NATO, and that all the other members of NATO don’t pay their “fair share” of the costs of maintaining NATO?

  8. Yes, impeach Trump for failing to follow USDOJ guidelines before granting pardons to the two Thanksgiving gift turkeys.

    1. The turkeys? A symbolic waste of resources; quite trivial. Pardoning war criminals, on the other hand… and he wants them to appear at his campaign events!

  9. TLDR Trump has a lot of business interests including in Turkey so that automatically means he’s a foreign agent.

    1. Trump is nobody’s agent. An agent has to work in somebody else’s interest.

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