President Trump has ordered the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, which is reportedly expected to take 60-100 days or 30 days depending on who you ask. According to Kurdish forces in eastern Syria the withdrawal of American as well as French troops is already underway, though France is saying it’s staying. The number of troops to be withdrawn which keeps getting repeated in the news is 2,000, but there’ve been reports that the actual number of US ground troops in Syria is closer to 4,000. The US-led airstrike campaign against Islamic State will reportedly continue.

Trump says the withdrawal is because ISIS has been defeated in Syria, but others are pointing to the conspicuous timing of his recent chat with Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdoğan, who has announced a coming military operation against Kurdish forces in Syria east of the Euphrates in the near future, as the more likely reason. An anonymous senior US official has told Reuters that the two leaders didn’t discuss a US withdrawal from Syria, but the timing of the conversation as well as a recent $3.5 billion arms deal with Turkey indicates the the US withdrawal and Erdoğan’s planned military assault could very well be related. The Kurds put all their eggs in the basket of US support out of a desire to create their own nation, and a US withdrawal means they’ll be forced to either court an alliance with Damascus, as some analysts believe will happen, or risk being trapped between hostile Turkish forces and hostile Syrian coalition forces as the Assad government races to reclaim Syrian territory.

Beyond that, it’s hard to tell what’s actually happening. I’ll be astonished if there is an actual US withdrawal from Syria without any residual or proxy forces left behind, and it remains extremely possible that US troops won’t leave at all, especially if another conveniently timed “chemical weapons attack” gets attributed to Damascus. This administration has been going back and forth and back and forth about what its Syria policy actually is ever since Trump took office, and it won’t be the least bit surprising if we end up seeing very little change in US military presence. Things could very well just get shuffled around a bit and then re-settle as power struggles are sorted out within an administration that is endlessly in conflict with itself.

Everything I’ve just typed is basically a jumbled information salad of possibilities and speculation; it’s just me saying “Here’s what little we know, now we wait and see” and then shrugging. The real information that we can look at right now is the absolutely bizarre bipartisan response that Trump’s announcement has elicited.

As soon as Trump announced via Twitter his intent to withdraw troops from Syria, everyone has been losing their minds. Virtually every liberal media outlet has reacted hysterically, with the New York Times editorial board condemning the decision, along with multiple CNN and MSNBC releases and Rachel Maddow going full Rachel Maddow but with Turkey this time. Senators Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Jeanne Shaheen, Tom Cotton, Angus King and Joni Ernst wrote Trump a bipartisan letter warning that a US withdrawal “may embolden Bashar al Assad to take further actions to solidify his power” inside the country he is the president of. Hollywood celebrities like Bette Midler, Mia Farrow and Cher burst out of their dust pods of irrelevance to scream at everyone that limitless US military expansionism is glorious and desirable. Max Boot, the legendary Man Who Is Always Wrong About Everything, declared that Trump is giving a “gift to Iran, Russia, ISIS, and Assad” by exiting.

That word “gift” appeared again and again and again and again. The New York Times editorial board declared “An American withdrawal would also be a gift to Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, who has been working hard to supplant American influence in the region, as well as to Iran, which has also expanded its regional footprint.” Victoria Nuland in the Washington Post declared that “With his decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria, President Trump hands a huge New Year’s gift to President Bashar al-Assad, the Islamic State, the Kremlin and Tehran.” The New York Times‘ Bret Stephens called it “A gift to Iran, Hezbollah, and Putin.”

And all the rank-and-file consumers of mass media are now parroting that talking point at every opportunity. Do a Twitter search for the words “gift” and “Syria” together as of this publishing and you’ll come across not just blue-checkmarked establishment mouthpieces teaching that slogan to their followers, but countless ordinary people regurgitating it as well. Not because they believe in endless US military expansionism, not because they truly understand what’s going on and take issue with it, but because they hate Trump and they were taught to repeat a specific line in order to criticize him.

The thing about this “gift” idea, and really with all the criticisms that are being leveled against Trump’s supposed troop withdrawal, is that they all have as their premise the assumption that Syria belongs to America. #Resistance pundit and tentacle porn aficionado Kurt Eichenwald even compared the withdrawal to a homeowner giving away their home without negotiating a price first. All across the board in these criticisms there is this one bizarre assumption that is going completely unquestioned: that Syria is America’s property, and ceasing to treat it as such would be giving that property away to someone else, whether it be Russia, Iran, or Syria’s own government.

But Syria is not America’s property, and the US has never had any right to be there at all. Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, unlike the US, are in Syria at the invitation of the nation’s only legitimate government. They are there fighting back the extremist forces which had captured large territories with the backing of the US and its allies in an attempted regime change intervention which was planned long before violence erupted in 2011. All these pundits pontificating from their armchairs about retaining control of Syrian land in order to “counter the influence” of Iran or Russia are claiming that an invading, occupying force should retain control of a third of Syria in order to control what a sovereign nation does with its own allies.

And that just says so much about the mentality of the American elite class and its lackeys. For the thought leaders of the US global order, and for the unthinking human livestock who follow their decrees, America is the only sovereign nation on earth. If China invaded the US and occupied a third of its territory in order to counter Canadian and British influence we’d be looking at World War Three that very day, but doing exactly that in a disobedient Middle Eastern country is looked at as so normal and routine that any apparent deviation from that strategy is regarded with shock and outrage. And the only thing that keeps this obvious discrepancy from being treated like the ridiculous power-serving double standard that it is is a claim to moral authority by a government which literally armed terrorists in Syria.

So while the jumble of information and speculation about Trump’s possible Syria maneuverings doesn’t necessarily tell us a whole lot, the reaction to it tells us why the world looks the way it looks. The most powerful military force in the history of civilization inflicts violence and domination with total impunity and total disregard for national sovereignty, demanding total respect for its own borders and total compliance from all nations outside its borders. Nations which obey are absorbed into an alliance that is so tight and streamlined it can effectively be called an empire, while nations which disobey are invaded, occupied, disrupted and destroyed.

I write about the United States so much partly for the same reason I’d keep an eye on a guy at the bar who was always walking around knocking people off their chairs and drinking their beer, and partly because a conscious relationship with the concept of sovereignty is so very, very important if we’re to learn to survive the troubles we’re facing as a species. Sovereignty is what personal, political, and societal problems all ultimately boil down to. Becoming conscious of all the myriad ways we extend beyond our own sovereign boundaries and intrude into the sovereignty of others, be they personal, ideological, national, or ecosystemic, is the path toward creating a world wherein we can all collaborate with each other and with our environment in the interests of the greater good.

We’ve got to evolve beyond this mentality of intrusive domination which is so aggressively promoted as normal by the mass media. The idea that it’s okay for a powerful nation to insert its military force into a weaker nation in order to manipulate geopolitical dynamics to its advantage is a sickness, and we need to heal it.


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44 responses to “Reactions To Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Plan Say More Than The Plan Itself”

  1. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon

  2. On the current issue – yes, the US should get out, but *so should Turkey*. If no measures are taken to reign in Erdoğan, the withdrawal seems very likely to become simply a transfer of the occupied territory from one NATO member to another – the occupation remaining just as illegal, while also having vastly worse humanitarian consequences. Erdoğan is an anti-secularist semi-dictator collaborating with the Sunni jihadis, and he has already demonstrated that he is likely to be only a little kinder to the Kurds than ISIS was. That would be a truly tragic ending after all the genocidal horrors and the desperate struggle that the Kurds have been through so far.

    1. Correction: measures should be taken to *rein* in Erdoğan. It is *not*, on the other hand, desirable that he should be *reigned* in, or even *rained* in. It seems that I’ll never quite get the hang of this exotic language.

  3. A couple of thoughts on the connection between individual and collective sovereignty brought up in the article:

    Collective sovereignty follows from individual sovereignty and is required by it. To be maximally free and sovereign, every human must have the right to participate on an equal basis in the self-government of every collective of which s/he is a member, including the nation. For this self-government to be realised, the nation must also be free and sovereign and other nations must not impose their will on it arbitrarily (apart from collective self-government on an international level, in which the nation, again, must have the right to participate on an equal basis). Now, existing nation-states are, to a greater or lesser extent, far from being perfect reflections of the wishes of their individual citizens. However, allowing *other* nation-states to impose their will on them arbitrarily leads to even more unfreedom, since it adds a further layer of unaccountability and abuse. However little a given state is accountable to its own people, a foreign state is, by its very nature, infinitely less accountable to it, and thus, as a rule, far less representative of its wishes and interests. Furthermore, lawlessness obtaining in the relations between nations, regardless of how democratic they are, leads to havoc, violence and the tyranny of the strong over the weak – i.e. increased unfreedom and abuse – in the same way as lawlessness in the relations between individuals does.

    Now, in an ideal international legal order as I see it, non-democratic states would not be considered legitimate and sovereign – for that matter, non-socialist states would not be considered legitimate and sovereign either, since democracy in the sphere of the economy is socialism. IMO, even that would not normally justify starting a war against them. In any case, imperfect as the current international legal order is, it is still far preferable to the law of the jungle, and what the US is doing by illegally attacking, say, Syria while supporting, say, Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with perfecting the current order and everything to do with imposing and exercising the law of the jungle.

  4. While it’s good to see the US withdrawal, it’s incredibly insulting to see Trump claim credit for other people’s work. ISIS is gone not because of anything the US did, but because of the efforts by Russia, Syrian army and Iranian militias.

    The US did everything they could to fund and help the terrorists. Trump is merely cutting their losses after the ruthless Obama regime change scheme failed.

    1. One should be satisfied that Trump had the guts to withdraw the troops while the Democrats et al are having seizures over his actions, Please give Trump credit for that ( unless you are a fan of the wicked witch Killery Clinkton!

  5. The goal of Cointelpro has been achieved. 21st century “leftists” have become pro-war, pro-CIA, and pro FBI.

  6. No. Socialism, the full expression of democracy, depends upon individuals thinking and acting for themselves- personal sovereignty- and not allowing themselves or their neighbours to suffer from the dictation of the powerful who, having seized control of the economy by various stratagems, which boil down to armed robbery,.
    In order to do this, and wrest power from a thieving ruling class socialists cooperate with the mass of people who share their interest in freeing humanity from the rule of selfish minorities.

  7. I really don’t understand all the fuss about MATTIS being given the Dont-come-monday, as this criminal scum WAS SACKED BY THE OBAMA ADMIN, yet not a peek out of MSM!
    The main people complaining are from the DOJ, just show’s how corrupt and criminal they ALL are!

  8. Here’s the most important reason national sovereignty is necessary:

    “We’ve got the right to print our own money, that’s the key. Greece lost the power to print their money. If they could print drachmas they’d have other problems, but they would not have a debt problem. And seventeen countries in Europe gave up the right to print their own money. That’s enormously important. And we’ve got the right to print our own money, so our credit is good.” ~ Warren Buffett

  9. You said it. It actually does all boil down to personal sovereignty. Btw, socialism is very anti-personal sovereignty. And for you “conservatives”, so is democracy.

    1. Umm, actually, Johnstone’s argument that you are citing here is based precisely on the recognition and affirmation of *collective* sovereignty as parallel to indvidual sovereignty. A recognition on which democracy and socialism are based, whereas right-libertarianism rejects it. If the state is not and cannot be the vessel of the collective will of its individual citizens, then there is no point in defending its independence from other states either.

      A common feature of fascism and traditional authoritarianism on the one hand and right-libertarianism on the other is that both disconnect individual sovereignty from collective sovereignty and, thus, reject democracy. Whereas right-libertarianism obliterates the collective in the name of the individual, fascism and traditional authoritarianism obliterate the individual in the name of the collective. In fact, individual and collective sovereignty are inseparable; individual sovereignty needs to be reflected in collective sovereignty in order to exist within a group, whereas collective sovereignty can be justified only as an emanation of individual sovereignty.

      1. FF, not sure what you mean by “right-libertarianism”. How do you define that?

  10. Excellent article Caitlin but I fear that a great many Australians would consider you a heretic for deviating from the globalist script.

  11. I you think you have not been blindside my the NWO then read this article about news reporting.

    1. Klaus von berlin Avatar
      Klaus von berlin

      In the world today ,the only thing worth doing is going all out and dissent.

  12. They are ALL Globalist Criminal Scum!

    Australian’s MUST to come together for the fight of our life being positioned right now upon our doorstep!

    I am NOT a supporter of violence, but I can tell you all right now, if you think diplomacy and common sense will prevail over these globalist power hungry grubs, please think again! These grubs wish to enslave ALL OF US! And they ARE prepared to kill YOU, and your family, destroy you financially and spiritually, so I am suggesting in all reality, unless we ARE prepared to kill, nothing will change and your children AND your grand children are going to enslaved for the whole of their natural lives!

    History has PROVED BEYOND DOUBT WE THE PEOPLE can do this, have done this, multiply times throughout history! The time has once again arrived, WILL YOU rise up to the occasion?
    Remember, these grubs have destroyed Sovereign Nations, and killed millions of innocent men women and child with impunity, since WW1 and including WW2. Are we to sit on our fat asses while we allow WW3?

    1. SS, your instincts are correct as is your attitude. But you are missing the one crucial ingredient. Guns. The Aussies gleefully gave all of their guns to the globalists. So now how can they fight back? The reason for the American 2nd amendment is becoming more evident by the day.

  13. One thing we know about the US – they NEVER leave.

  14. “This Isn’t News. This Is War Crimes Apologia.”

    Indictments Served At Bush Funeral!

  15. The Guardian Fake News has finally shot itself in the foot! Again :))

    “The Guardian’s Reputation In Tatters After Forger Revealed To Have Co-Authored Assange Smear”

  16. Nice summary of Syria.
    Remember the USSR in Afghanistan? When they left they gave a gift to the USA; 17 years of war. Same stupid thinking just keeps going on and on.

  17. Very well said. You really got to the heart of the problems with the U.S.

  18. A U.S withdrawal from Syria, if true, would be a great present for those troops and their families.
    Russia can take over and deal with the opposing forces that will always engulf this region.
    Hollywood cronies and alike have no idea what the long term effects are on our troops.
    Why are we not helping out our neighbors to the south??
    Maybe we will see some changes there for the better, but Middle East strategies should be left to those who want the to fill this vacuum of divisiveness.
    Just saying…

  19. Caitlin hits all the major points. We’ll see what US elites actually do. Although I am hopeful it would not surprise me in the least if nothing changes. The US has a high level of expertise in digging itself into deeper holes.

    There are reports that the US and its so-called allies are talking about sanctions on China for what the NSA is the king of the hill, i.e., the US is the Empire of Hypocrisy. The evolving geopolitical situation driven by the US is increasing the probability of a big war. It is getting harder to rationalize away that thought.

  20. America hasn’t had civilian control over the military in a rather long time.

    Multiple examples over the years. Trump has seen several, including the last time Trump announced at a rally that America was leaving Syria, but the military was before Congress the next day giving a firm no. I used to trace it back to Clinton and the early 90’s, when on several occasions the military just told him don’t ask. But from reading two books of late, Pepper’s “The Plot to Kill King” and Ellsberg’s “The Doomsday Machine”, it would appear that civilian control of the military goes back to the 1950’s.

    What Trump says doesn’t matter. Isn’t there a saying that the party ain’t over until the Mad Dog barks? Or maybe it was about the mad dog biting someone? Or maybe I just was raised around rednecks who tended to mistreat their dogs?

  21. The only reason America is in the Mideast is to satisfy Israeli territorial expansion. According to the Jew Torah the land between the Nile and the Euphrates belongs to the Jews. Their Jew God supposedly gave it to them.

  22. The silver lining to the dark cloud of the negative reaction of, I would say, the vast majority of US voters to Trump’s announcement is that the entire world can now understand exactly why an outright peacenik president has never, and IMO WILL NEVER, get elected president.
    I think there is this belief, or, at least, hope that the vast majority of Americans do NOT want the US of A to dominate the world and destroy anyone who disagrees. I believe that the history of US behavior since WW2 and, in particular, post 9/11, proves beyond any shadow of doubt that the opposite is true.
    It is a fact that Americans are raised to believe that they are exceptional and should dominate the rest of the people of the world who are, presumably, not so exceptional. A recent Gallup poll shows the “successful” result of the 24/7 brainwashing:
    Unfortunately, a high percentage of US voters are going to continue to elect warmonger presidents and congress-people, and those elected human beings are going to continue the US’s foreign policy of Full Spectrum Dominance until other countries stop it. So far, anyway, it appears that Russia and Iran and its allies just may have prevented the US from doing to Syria what the US did to Libya, Iraq, etc. It is possible that Afghanistan will go back to what it was before the Russian and American invasions. Just maybe the the Yemen disaster is going to stop.
    The US capitalist system has, IMO necessarily, turned the US into the Borg or terminator or Nazi Germany. The US will not stop until it is stopped — one way or another. Let’s hope that what that will take is not something nuclear. IMO it’s a race between another inevitable false flag event that “requires” the US to start another inevitable, astronomically expensive, wonderfully profitable war for the benefit of US war corporations and their investors that this time will turn nuclear, or another inevitable financial crisis that leads to the US Elite trying to do what they did in ’08 that, this time, does not “work” (that is, to save an economic system in which the vast majority of wealth and large-scale capital equipment is owned or controlled by a microscopic percentage of the population for their own astronomical profit).

    1. Most of this reaction in the article was not by ‘American voters’ but by journalists and think-tank-types and politicians. The two are not the same.

      Actually, among American ‘voters’, the notion of getting out of Syria is popular. That’s why Trump keeps saying it Trump likes things that makes the crowd cheer. The first time he announced this he did so to loud applause at one of his big rallies. The second time he puts it out on twitter. Both are done for effect and the effect is that Trump has figured out that this is popular with every day Americans.

      Trump got elected because he found that one of the things that made the crowds cheer was to say that the Iraq War was a mistake, that the regime change wars had hurt America. He used these lines because they worked in his rallies and made the crowd cheer. And remember, Obama The Noble Bomber had been elected by pretending to be the anti-war candidate promising Change and Hope after the Bush years. The polls started saying that Americans wanted the wars to end and the troops to come home during the final years of the Bush regime. Ever since then, to win an election, a candidate has to at least pretend to be against the wars. And there has been a sharp contrast with warmongers like Hillary, McCain, and Hillary again providing the Bomb, Bomb, Bomb opponents to the fake anti-war candidates.

      Its been very clear that American voters want this and support the notion of getting out of Syria. The problem is that America is an oligarchy and not a democracy so what the voter want doesn’t count for much and its the paid talking sock puppets of the oligarchs that are screaming about how this is awful and we might even end up not meeting the yearly targets of pain, torture, death and destruction

  23. Orlando J. Valerino Avatar
    Orlando J. Valerino

    “That word “gift” appeared again and again and again and again. The New York Times editorial board declared “An American withdrawal would also be a gift to Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, who has been working hard to supplant American influence in the region, as well as to Iran, which has also expanded its regional footprint.” Victoria Nuland in the Washington Post declared that “With his decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria, President Trump hands a huge New Year’s gift to President Bashar al-Assad, the Islamic State, the Kremlin and Tehran.” The New York Times‘ Bret Stephens called it “A gift to Iran, Hezbollah, and Putin.””

    This is the Zionist talking point being spread throughout the media. Keep in the mind the Oded Yinon plan.

    We seen these fake troop withdrawals before going back to the Vietnam era.(Propaganda)
    Don’t Hold Your Breath on US Troop Withdrawal from Syria

    1. Orlando J. Valerino Avatar
      Orlando J. Valerino

      The Kurds will again pay the price of aligning themselves with the untrustworthy Anglo-Zionist empire

  24. Great piece, Caitlin. I have serious doubts that a significant U.S. withdrawal will actually occur, but your highlighting of the perverse reaction to that possibility reveals just how messed up our political-media establishment is. It will be interesting to see polls of public opinion on withdrawal of troops. I expect that most people will be for it.

  25. Trumps maneuver is a slap in the face to the Jews. Look for a retaliation. The Jews are not going to take this standing down.

    1. RB, how is this a slap in the face of Jews?! What does Judaism have to do with US troops in Syria?!

      1. The only reason America is in the Mideast is to satisfy Israeli territorial expansion. According to the Jew Torah the land between the Nile and the Euphrates belongs to the Jews. Their Jew God supposedly gave it to them.

        1. RB, got it. My bad, was not sure what direction you were going. Fully agree. The US is Israel’s mercenary military. I suspect Trump’s sudden policy change was directed by his bosses. Why I am not sure yet.

  26. John Lennon said it best, “Imagine all the people sharing all the world.” Much of the song’s lyrics are why I chose that album cover as my FB profile picture.

  27. The world has always operated this way, with the powerful dividing up and exploiting the rest of the planet. The odd thing is that it’s now being done in full view and those who should oppose it are in support. The “lesser” nations are resisting though, and this could bring about a new power structure.
    One can only hope.

  28. Excellent article Caitlin. You should start a group who visit schools and present your views to students who will learn that the USA is not a Democracy by a bloody Oligarchy. And, the Oligarchy rules with a ‘Deep State which tells the President and the twin Parties ( Democrats and Republicans) exactly what to do. If anyone is unwilling to Deep State’s bidding they run the real risk of ending up like President John F Kennedy.

    The Shining City on the hill is an Outhouse, and ‘Deep Stare’ is the content in the latrine!

    1. Excellent idea! Good luck getting that to fly!

  29. Clear thinking in a world of muddled narrative.

  30. Spot bloody on until the last two paragraphs. The left complaining about not respecting others’ sovereignty is hilariously hypocritical. The whole entirety of the leftist religion is based on butting into other people’s lives and meddling into the affairs of others.

  31. The reaction of the faux liberal media and Clinton Obama Democrats to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the failed Clinton – Obama Syrian Putsch demonstrates just how duplicitous and value free they are. For those of us interested in peace and an end to the refugee factories created during the Clinton – Obama era, the news is good. For neoconservative Republicans the news is terrible but at least consistent with their values. For progressives deluded into supporting the current Deep State – Democratic Party efforts to overthrow the results of the last presidential election, perhaps it-s a wake-up call, perhaps to the few who are willing to admit they’re merely being used.

  32. Maybe if he would have announced it on an aircraft carrier…

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