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World Sen. Mitt Romney raises a troubling theory about Trump and Turkey

05:50  18 october  2019
05:50  18 october  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Turkey dismisses US threats, amasses troops on Syrian border

  Turkey dismisses US threats, amasses troops on Syrian border Turkey said Tuesday it will go ahead with a military operation in northeastern Syria and won't bow to threats over its Syria plans, an apparent reply to U.S. President Donald Trump's warning. Turkey said Tuesday it will go ahead with a military operation in northeastern Syria and won't bow to threats over its Syria plans, an apparent reply to U.S. President Donald Trump's warning.

Sen . Mitt Romney delivered perhaps the most thorough Republican rebuke of President Trump ’s Syria withdrawal Thursday, calling Trump ’s But while that line will get lots of play, there’s something else Romney said that shouldn’t escape notice. He also floated a theory about how Trump arrived at the

The following is a transcript of Mitt Romney ’s remarks addressing the candidacy of Donald J His proposed 35 percent tariff-like penalties would instigate a trade war and that would raise prices for How about Trump University? And then there’s Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump

a man wearing a suit and tie: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Capitol Hill on Sept. 23.© Melina Mara/The Washington Post Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Capitol Hill on Sept. 23.

Sen. Mitt Romney delivered perhaps the most thorough Republican rebuke of President Trump’s Syria withdrawal Thursday, calling Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds there “a bloodstain on the annals of American history.”

But while that line will get a lot of play, there’s something else Romney said that shouldn’t escape notice. He also floated a theory about how Trump arrived at the decision: that he got bullied into it by Turkey and that he backed down.

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Sen . Mitt Romney , R-Utah, on Thursday slammed the Trump administration, calling the recently announced ceasefire between Turkey and Kurdish-led The cease-fire, announced after Pence’s meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara, agrees to halt Turkey ’s offensive in

Mitt Romney delivers a speech outlining the case against GOP front-runner Donald Trump at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.

“It’s been … suggested that Turkey may have called America’s bluff, telling the president they are coming no matter what we did,” said Romney, of Utah. “If that’s so, we should know it. For it would tell us a great deal about how we should deal with Turkey, now and in the future.”

Romney then returned to the idea that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan might have given Trump an ultimatum that was met with acquiescence.

“Are we so weak and inept diplomatically that Turkey forced the hand of the United States of America? Turkey!?” Romney said. “I believe that it’s imperative that public hearings are held to answer these questions, and I hope the Senate is able to conduct those hearings next week.”

To be clear, there have been suggestions that perhaps Trump got rolled by Erdogan, who has been pitching the idea that Turkey could take over the fight against ISIS in northern Syria for a long time. The possibility that Trump gave away the farm because Erdogan was particularly convincing or because of something else — Trump’s business interests in Turkey, his desire for Middle East withdrawals, etc. — is a well-trafficked theory among Trump’s opponents.

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Mitt Romney and Donald Trump Getty Images. Following Romney , Democratic Sen . Jack Reed of Rhode Island said the temporary cease-fire — hailed as a victory by both Trump and Turkey ’s foreign minister — doesn’t negate the fact that Trump ’s actions precipitated Turkey ’s incursion.

Sen . Mitt Romney (R-UT) said during a Senate floor speech Thursday that President Trump ’s decision to withdraw from Syria and allegedly “abandon the Kurds” “will stand as a Sen . Romney , a frequent Republican critic of President Trump , lashed out at President Trump ’s decision to withdraw from Syria.

But here is a U.S. senator — and a Republican one — suggesting not just that Trump got out-negotiated, but that he basically got told what was going to happen and ran away. Romney is entertaining the idea that a relatively small country forced the hand of the United States and also dictated to the supposed Dealmaker-in-Chief.

It’s important to emphasize that this is speculation. But it’s also not that far-fetched.

Trump spoke with Erdogan the day he abruptly announced the withdrawal. He also may be entering his final year as president, and Turkey has long wanted to go after the Kurds in northern Syria. If you’re Erdogan, you know that the next president almost definitely won’t be so amenable to your plans for the region.

You’ve also been pitching this idea more softly for two years without getting your desired U.S. withdrawal.

So why wouldn’t you eventually play this card? It might be a bluff that Trump could call and you’d come to regret, but it might also be your last, best chance to get a compliant U.S. president. And this is an issue of major emphasis for Turkey, which views Syria’s Kurdish fighters as terrorists who constitute a clear and constant threat to it.

Romney, at least, seems to think this might have indeed been what happened, and now he’s calling for hearings on it. Other Trump critics have called for the release of what Trump and Erdogan said on that call, similar to the release of the call with Ukraine’s president.

The White House certainly won’t want to disclose what was said. But we’ve seen with Ukraine that pressure can force disclosure. And at the very least, it seems fair to ask whether Turkey threatened to invade whether U.S. forces were there or not.

Some worries about nuclear weapons at Turkey base .
Frayed U.S. relations with Turkey over its incursion in Syria raise a sensitive question rarely discussed in public: It's a tricky matter for several reasons, including the fact that by longstanding policy, the U.S. government does not publicly acknowledge locations of nuclear weapons overseas. Still, it is almost an open secret that the U.S. has as many as 50 B-61 bombs stored under heavy guard at Incirlik air base in southern Turkey.

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