Merkley: ‘Trump doesn’t understand importance of allies’


Oregon Democrat sits on Senate Foreign Relations Committee

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Sen. Jeff Merkley said the Trump Administration “created a vacuum of power” with its decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and “pulled the rug out from under” the Kurds.

In a satellite conversation with KOIN 6 News, the Oregon Democrat who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Trump’s decision was great for Iran, Russia, Syria and ISIS.

“In 1972 we asked the Kurds to revolt against Saddam Hussein. We supported them for 3 years and then we cut a deal with Iran — which had asked us to help the Kurds revolt against Saddam and Iraq — and we immediately pulled the rug out from under the Kurds then,” Merkley said. “That left them extremely vulnerable to retaliation against them by Saddam Hussein.”

Then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who was the architect of that plan, said, “Covert action is not to be confused with missionary work,” Merkley said. “In other words, he had no regrets about abandoning a key ally who had sacrificed their lives in the fight against Saddam Hussein.”

“Apparently,” he continued, “Donald Trump doesn’t understand the importance of allies in this case.”

Putting the broken connection with the Kurds is going to be extremely difficult. “Imprisoned ISIS fighters could be released and cause some havoc in the region. So it is a losing strategy on every level.”

He hasn’t heard how European allies are feeling about the US decision, but said it reinforces a series of Trump decisions that abandoned previous agreements the US made, such as the JCPOA and the Paris Climate Accord.

Merkley has long called for the impeachment of Donald Trump. “I powerfully believe in the concept of equal justice under law. That means if an ordinary American would be indicted for a crime or an action, the president should be indicted as well. In this case, that means the House (of Representatives) should have acted.”

During Watergate, he noted, the prospects of impeaching and removing Richard Nixon changed “during the hearings in the House because more and more information became available about the conspiracy President Nixon had conducted. So I don’t think we can presume to know how the Senate will end up without knowing how the investigation of the House will end up.”

And he hopes one thing becomes clear as the investigation unfolds.

“Hopefully each senator will treat this as a situation where they’ll ask themselves, ‘What would I do if a President of the other party was the person on which this evidence bears?’ In other words, it needs to be country before party.”

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