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The United States Has Supplicants, Not Allies

A United States treaty ally is at war with a non-state actor based in the Middle East. But the Trump administration has disavowed America’s friends abroad, concerned only to make a quick exit before the 2020 election season starts in earnest. Congressional foreign-policy heavyweights on both sides of the aisle have lined up to condemn the president, while pundits scream “betrayal” and warn that America’s allies would no longer trust the United States.

The American ally, of course, is Turkey, and the non-state actor with which it is at war is the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria. The Kurdish forces throughout the region are a loose network of terrorists (the PKK in Turkey), irregular militia (the YPG in Syria), and two political party-based armies (the Peshmerga in Iraq). Since 2015, the PKK has killed at least 490 civilians and 1,215 security personnel inside Turkey, according to data compiled by the International Crisis Group.

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Published inAll ArticlesThe National Interest
Sydney-based globalization expert Salvatore Babones is available to speak on the Chinese economy (demographics, growth, technology), the Belt & Road Initiative, global trade networks, and Australia-China relations. Contact: