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US creates new chaos in Middle East

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U.S. President Donald Trump (L), and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan. (Xinhua/Liu Jie - Xinhua/Reuters)

US President Donald Trump on Monday imposed sanctions on Turkey, raising tariffs on Turkish steel up to 50 percent and halted negotiations over a $100 billion trade deal with Turkey.

Trump was believed to acquiesce to Turkey’s attacks on Kurdish forces after he announced the withdrawal of the last 1,000 US troops from northern Syria. However, after Turkey’s attacks had been opposed internationally, Washington imposed sanctions in a hurry.

Washington’s adjustment of policies in service of its own interests has ignited drastic changes in the Middle East. To sanction Turkey seemed more like a tactic – the Turkish lira devalued less than one percent against the US dollar, while the lira slid to a record low in August 2018 after the US announced it would sanction the country.

People around the world are saying that being a US ally is far less beneficial on security. The Kurds have fought alongside US troops against the Islamic State (ISIS), but have been abandoned by the US easily. What a lesson.

The latest US sanctions on Turkey are also widely regarded as a manifestation of an unstable US policy. The sanctions were more like a move to deal with international public opinion rather than a declaration to defend justice and sovereignty. The White House could change its policy again someday. Many people don’t believe the sanctions on Turkey will last long.

Turkey’s attacks on Kurdish forces have stirred the Middle East. But Turkey is being widely criticized for violating Syria’s sovereignty. Turkey’s target is the Kurds who have contributed a lot in fighting ISIS. Ankara is not convincing to label the Kurdish fighters as terrorists.

Another absurdity the turbulence in the Middle East has showcased is the mutability of US policy due to the country’s selfishness. The US is a superpower with irreplaceable influence in the Middle East. However, opportunism can be seen in US moves, which is preferred by small countries. In addition, deeply affected by US leader’s personality, US policies in the Middle East are quite illogical. This has increased uncertainty in the region.

Is the US really going to abandon the Middle East? If so, Washington should pull itself from the region smoothly and avoid wrecking havoc in the region or making its people suffer. The US should be blamed for the chaos after withdrawing from the northern Syria.

No one believes that the US will completely leave the Middle East. Washington wants to keep its presence only where it can profit. As for northern Syria from where the US cannot substantially benefit from, it will fly the coop regardless of possible serious consequences.

US selfishness and mutability have become the biggest reason for instability around the world. Washington has launched trade wars, triggered Turkey’s attack on Kurds, and made UN’s climate campaign difficult to carry out. Regrettably, the US can hardly be constrained within the current international order. Even rising nationalism within the US cannot prevent the US government from making irrational decisions. Global Times

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