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Foreign Policy Analysis
Rep Schneider Speaks on Trump Administration Abandoning Kurdish Allies

Rep Schneider Speaks on Trump Administration Abandoning Kurdish Allies

Mr. Speaker,
I rise today in great sadness and profound concern over the President Trump’s inexplicable
abandonment of our Kurdish allies in Syria, who sacrificed more than 11,000 of their sons
and daughters in our joint fight against ISIS. The president’s impulsive and abrupt decision
not only betrays our ally, it betrays our values. It immediately compromises our national security,
dramatically undermines American credibility, and will have negative strategic implications
for generations to come. It’s not just me saying this. Here are the words of Senate Majority Leader,
Mitch McConnell: “Withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria is a grave strategic mistake. It will leave the American people and homeland
less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances.” And while we should all welcome the announced
5 day pause in the Turkish assault, we should not be celebrating. Turkey has not recognized a “ceasefire”,
but rather a “pause” in fighting. Reports from the area indicate Turkish affiliated
forces are still attacking. And the pause is scheduled to end tomorrow. We can likely expect the carnage to then resume
with new ferocity. Regarding the deal with Turkey, the Wall Street
Journal this morning notes: “Critics have said the agreement was a wholesale concession
to Ankara, giving it control of an area in Syria it has coveted for years and freeing
it from U.S. sanctions in return for pausing an offensive it had no international backing
for. While President Trump hailed the pact as a
diplomatic victory, U.S.-allied Kurds have likened it to a surrender on their part.” Unsurprisingly, our Kurdish allies have now
aligned their forces with Assad’s army. Assad has thus also instantly made significant
territorial gains in a few days, effectively controlling lands that U.S. and allied forces
spent years seeking to defend. So let’s review: in the weeks following
the President’s decision to walk away from our allies,
• Turkish forces, and allied fighters, many of which are Islamic extremists, have crossed
the border into Syria • U.S. forces have abandoned forward operating
bases and then sent in U.S. planes to destroy the bases • But before all those bases could be destroyed,
celebrating Russian troops posted selfies in some of these former American strongholds. • Turkey is not just targeting Kurdish forces,
they are attacking entire towns, and civilians are literally being murdered in the streets • The expansion of control by Russian and
Iranian forces is not just a win for those countries in Syria, but also threatens our
allies in the region, in particular Israel. • Iran’s sense of emboldenment will likely
lead it to expand its programs to deliver advanced weapons to Hezbollah, increasing
the already significant threat to Israel—only now from Syria as well as Lebanon • As noted already, Assad has consolidated
his power over virtually all of Syria, at no political or military cost • Finally, many ISIS prisoners have escaped
to join the fight, and thousands more are at risk of release, giving ISIS greater ability
to reorganize • Oh, and one more thing. Today there are reports that President Erdogan
now wants Turkey to acquire nuclear weapons. The last thing this region needs is a nuclear
arms race. So here’s the bottom line: last Thursday
, the American Vice President and Secretary of State stood at a podium and announced the
Administrations’s effective capitulation and surrender: Turkey will complete it’s
ethnic cleansing and the US will lift all sanctions. Assad has full control of Syria, under the
tutelage of his Russian and Iranian masters. Turkey, Syria, Russia and Iran are winners. The Kurds are once more on the losing end. And the United States under President Trump
is sadly diminished. So much so that Syrians are throwing rotten
food at retreating U.S. troops. The Administration’s policies are tragic
for reasons beyond the human suffering it’s unleashed. They weaken our national security, undermine
our fight against terrorism, and diminish American credibility. We are so much better than this. I call on my colleagues on both sides of the
aisle to speak out and condemn the actions of the administration. Congress must pass sanctions on Turkey and
seek to compel Erdogan to stop Turkey’s assault on the Kurds. And we must compel this Administration to
live up to our nation’s values, to stand by our allies and confront our enemies. I yield back.

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