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Was President Donald Trump blackmailed into withdrawing troops Syria? According to one prominent former U.S. military leader, that question is being bandied about by American allies in the Middle East.
Appearing on CNN’s New Day, Wesley Clark — the former NATO Commander and retired U.S. General — said that U.S. allies are questioning whether Trump was somehow coerced into the troop pullout by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“You have to ask: Why was the decision made?” Clark said. “I can tell you that people around the world are asking this. And some of our friends and our allies in the Middle East are asking: Sid Erdogan blackmail the president? Was there a payoff or something? Why would a guy make a decision like this?
“Because all the recommendations were against it. And it looked like all the facts are against it, too.”
In a tweet late Sunday night, the president claimed he’s received assurances from Erdogan that Turkish forces will “eradicate” what remains of ISIS in Syria.
Clark went on to say that allies are now questioning whether the United States will stand with them in their hour of need.
“What the United States had going for it [was] the reputation of reliable consistency — that we were going to be there through thick and thin. The decision on the spur of the moment as the president made undercuts all of that,” Clark said. He added, “That kind of decision sends a message around the world to South Korea, to our allies at NATO, to Japan. When the going gets tough, or for whatever reason no one can understand, suddenly a tweet comes out, the policy has changed. This is a really dangerous time for the United States and foreign policy because of this.”