Turkey invades Syria–US caught in the middle: Mark on the radio

So Turkey is sending tanks and warplanes across its southern border into Syria, ostensibly fighting ISIS but really fighting Kurdish forces there. I talked about this a few minutes ago with host Bob Bartolomeo on KQV Radio in Pittsburgh.

I can’t help but make this comparison: Vice-president Joe Biden is in Turkey when Turkey invades Syria and battles Syrian Kurds. After Israel, the Kurds are the best US ally in the region. Biden warns the Kurds to withdraw. OK. In 2010, Biden was visiting Israel. The Israelis announced the next step in a well-known plan to build some apartments in a Jewish neighborhood that straddles the old border between Israel and the West Bank. Biden went apoplectic, and the “new settlement” announcement caused a mini-crisis in Israel-US relations.

Just goes to show…nothing makes sense in this region. Turkey’s invasion puts the US in a tough spot, watching one ally clobber another. As usual, the problem is that the US, as a matter of law, has to deal with governments and countries at the expense of other parties. It can’t come out and say, OK, the Mideast is undergoing a historic realignment where the old borders and old countries will fade, and how about if we get out ahead of this and back a sovereign homeland for the Kurds, who are now split among Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran? Why not? Because it’s borderline illegal under US law, and it goes against the habits of centuries of diplomacy of dealing government-to-government.

Except when it comes to the Palestinians. The world has accepted that the Palestinians deserve their own state. They have a good legal basis for that–the 1947 partition approved by the UN called for a Palestinian state, but that was swallowed up by Jordan. But…if the Palestinians deserve a state, so do the Kurds, all the more so.

It’s time for the West to get ahead of history for a change.

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