An April 17 letter’s contention that President Joe Biden is “easily played by foreign despots” was dubious. But the same letter’s statement that President Donald Trump was “feared and respected by our enemies” was utterly divorced from reality.

In June, CNN reported that, “In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, (Trump) was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan … that the calls helped convince some senior U.S. officials … that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States.”

After a call with Erdogan in 2019, he ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria, giving permission for Turkish troops to occupy that territory and displace Syrian Kurds. These Kurds were our allies in the fight against the Islamic State; they fought and died on the ground while the U.S. provided air power. To forestall disaster, the Kurds announced a deal with Syrian President al-Assad, agreeing that his troops could advance into far northern Syria and occupy territory it hadn’t controlled since 2012. It was a big victory for the regime and “a disastrous day for American Middle East policy,“ as BBC News reported in October 2019.

At a 2018 conference in Helsinki, Trump asked Putin about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Afterward, Trump said, “Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be,” according to the BBC. He knew beforehand that the American intelligence community had concluded Russia interfered to boost his chances in his bid for president.

Trump was played by our enemies and dismayed our allies. He did grievous, possibly irreparable, damage to American foreign policy.

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Roger B. Day


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