Our monumental Turkey blunder: Who put the American exceptionalists back in charge?

Our monumental Turkey blunder: Who put the American exceptionalists back in charge?

Take a hard, careful look at what the hawks in the Obama administration—and it is crawling with them—have just done by bringing Turkey into the fight against the Islamic State. Given the blur the campaign against ISIS has become, with allies and adversaries running every which way, it may be hard to discern that this is any kind of big mess, but it is very big. Deeper we go into the quagmire we have made of the Middle East, dragging all and sundry with us.

The agreement President Obama sealed in a telephone conversation last Wednesday with RecipTayip Erdoğan, Turkey’s erratic leader, is nothing if not complex, but at its core it establishes two new realities.

One, the U.S. now enters the Syrian conflict in support of who knows whom. Even warmongers such as Sen. John McCain, and the neoliberal interventionists that populate the State Department all too densely, have failed over several years to identify which insurgent groups fighting the Assad regime in Damascus we are supposed to fund, train and arm. A year or so ago, Patrick Cockburn the Independent’s astute Middle East commentator, asserted that this search for the worthy “moderates” in Syria was a fantasy: They do not exist, Cockburn pointed out. Americans eager to armsomebody against Assad conjured “moderates” out of the old “freedom fighter” narrative.

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