Turkey in Syria, China/US "truce," and #ImpeachTrump

Third Culture Queen vol. 24

Trump’s moves in Syria have nothing to do with withdrawing US troops from the Middle East. Within hours of Iran’s announcement that one of its tankers had been struck by missiles, the Pentagon announced it’s deploying 3,000 more troops along with more fighter jets and air defenses to Saudi Arabia. All paid for by the Sauds.

Haven’t you heard?! American troops are mercenaries for hire!

That’s in addition to the 14,000+ troops Trump poured into the region since May.

(And, don’t bother asking the United Nations to help. They’re $1.3B in the hole.)

The president’s decision to pull US forces out of Northern Syria was a political ploy – that’s put American forces on the receiving end of Turkish shelling – rather than a military strategy. Trump needed a distraction that would create enough smoke to pivot the media to a different story, if only temporarily.

Unfortunately for the president, his associates are as sloppy as he is, so even war can’t slow down the impeachment media machine.

However, between yelling at reporters and stoking xenophobic racism at rallies in Minnesota and Louisiana, Trump found time to “make progress” in his trade war.

The agreement has only been agreed to "in principle” and won’t be signed until the APEC meeting in over a month. A lot can happen in a month and that’s true when there aren’t multiple Middle East escalations and months-long protests in Hong Kong.

Don’t get too excited. If it happens at all, it’ll clearly be a “holiday pause.”

Our crazy world got even crazier this week and, I think, Fox News’ Shep Smith summed up the state of things well in his surprise final sign-off. What do you think?

Third Cultured yet? Keep up with global grand strategies!

Syria/Turkey Updates:


  • Civilians: 19

  • Kurdish Forces: 23+ | Turkish forces: 1

Countries condemning Turkey or calling for restraint:

  • Condemnations: Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE, UK, and the US

  • Dialogue & Restraint: India, NATO, Norway, Russia

October 11

Turkish forces kill at least 23 Kurdish fighters and seize 11 towns. The Kurdish-led militia punches back but quits anti-ISIS operations (New York Times)

  • “The Turkish forces also seized at least 11 villages clustered around two Kurdish-held border towns that stand about 75 miles apart, according to Anadolu Agency, a Turkish state-run news agency.

    At least 11 civilians in Kurdish-held areas were killed and 28 wounded in the Turkish attacks on Thursday, according to the Rojava Information Center, an activist group in northeastern Syria.

    The Syrian Democratic Forces appeared to be striking back.

    Shells and rockets landed in several Turkish border towns, killing four civilians, including an infant, and wounding 70.

    At least one Turkish soldier was killed, according to a tweet by a lawmaker from Turkey’s governing party.”

Furious with Turkey, EU officials threaten sanctions (Al Jazeera)

  • “Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also accused Erdogan of blackmail and said the military operation should immediately end. France proposed economic sanctions on Turkey, an ally in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), while Sweden's parliament demanded an EU arms embargo.

    Further piling pressure on Ankara ahead of an EU foreign ministers' meeting on Monday and a summit of EU leaders on Thursday, Cyprus and Greece urged economic sanctions against Turkey over Turkish gas drilling in waters off southern Cyprus.”

Iran launches Turkey border exercise after Erdogan invades Syria (JP)

Turkey shells US special forces in Syria “by mistake” (Newsweek)

Turkey Syria offensive: Heavy fighting on second day of assault (BBC)

October 10

More than 60,000 people displaced in northeastern Syria (CNN)

EU6 call on Turkey to cease unilateral military action in Syria (CNN)

  • “The governments of Germany, Belgium, France, Poland, the United Kingdom and Estonia (collectively known as the EU6) call upon Turkey to cease unilateral military action in north-east Syria.”

  • “Renewed armed hostilities in the north-east will further undermine the stability of the whole region, exacerbate civilian suffering and provoke further displacements which will further increase the number of refugees and IDPs in Syria and in the region.”

U.S. warns Turkey of 'consequences' over Syria assault at UNSG meeting (Reuters)

US, Russia veto UN Security Council statement on Turkey in Syria (Daily Sabah)

  • “Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, whose country is a key ally of Syria's Bashar Assad, told reporters that any council statement on Syria must address broader issues, including the presence of foreign forces in the country.”

  • “U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft told reporters that President Donald Trump "has made abundantly clear" that the United States "has not in any way" endorsed Turkey's decision to mount a military incursion in northeast Syria.”

UN Security Council Meets on Turkey's Offensive Against Kurds (VoA)

Erdogan threatens to send 3.6 million refugees to Europe (CNN)

The US shared intelligence with Turkey that may have helped it target the Kurds in Syria (Business Insider)

Turkey ‘s Syria Offensive Extends Into 2nd Day, At least 16 Kurdish fighters were reported to have been killed and 33 wounded (NYT)

October 9

U.S. Moves to Take About 40 ‘High Value’ ISIS Detainees, Including Britons Who Abused Hostages (NYT)

Trump downplays U.S. alliance with Syrian Kurds, saying ‘they didn’t help us in the Second World War’ (Washington Post)

Trump agrees sanctions needed, but only if Turkey doesn’t act "humanely” (CNN)

Bipartisan senators propose sanctions on Turkey unless it exits Syria (France24)

Kurdish Forces repel Turkish ground forces on border, spokesperson says (CNN)

Turkish military hit 181 targets in Syria operation (CNN)

Prison holding ISIS detainees hit in Turkish airstrike (CNN)

Trump’s GOP allies condemn president after ‘sickening’ Turkish incursion (Politico)

The War for Post-U.S. Syria Has Begun (Foreign Policy)

  • “For now, this week has borne witness to a rare occurrence in the geopolitics of the Middle East—cross-national agreement among almost every regional country except Turkey. They all agree that Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria threatens not only the future of the Kurds but also the basic stability of the entire country.”

Turkey Launches Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds (NYT)

Stay updated on the 21st Century’s Superpower Struggle!

China-US Trade War

Trump Reaches ‘Phase One’ Deal With China and Delays Planned Tariffs (NYT)

  • “The initial deal, which Mr. Trump said had been reached “in principle” would involve China buying $40 billion to $50 billion worth of American agricultural products, along with agreeing to guidelines on how it manages its currency. The agreement also includes some provisions on intellectual property, including forced technology transfer and would give American financial services firms more access to China’s market, the president said.

    In exchange, the United States will not go ahead with plans to raise tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30 percent next week. But the president has not made a final decision on whether to increase tariffs further on Dec. 15, as he has threatened.

    The first phase could be signed when Mr. Trump appears alongside his Chinese counterpart at a meeting of global leaders in Santiago, Chile, in November.”

  • Comment: I think we all know by now that “in principle” with Trump means nothing.

China Drags US Entertainment/Media into trade spat (Axios)

US announces visa restrictions on Chinese officials for Uighur abuses (Axios)

China reluctant to agree to a broad US trade deal with talks reset (CNBC)

The US-China trade rivalry is underway in Africa, and Washington is playing catch-up (CNBC)

Chamber sees possible U.S.-China currency agreement, tariff delay (Reuters)

African Swine Flu Drives Record High Chinese US Pork Imports (Bloomberg)

Chinese state oil firm withdraws from $5B Iran energy deal (AP)

Trump Green-Lights Some Sales to Huawei (NYT)

Hong Kong at ‘tipping point’ with warning unfurled at PLA barracks (CNN)

Hong Kong’s Lam refuses to rule out Beijing’s help w/ protests (The Guardian)

Just How Big of a Deal Is China’s DF-17 Missile? (The Diplomat)

Pakistani PM Khan to meet China's Xi to discuss Kashmir, CPEC (Reuters)

Keep up with the latest geopolitical gambits and gains!

Impeachment Updates

October 11
  • Depositions scheduled next week:

    1) US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland – Oct 17

    2) Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent

    3) Counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl

October 10
October 9
October 8