Team Trump missed the summit on Syria. In that, Patrick Lawrence sees another sign of Washington’s failure to accept its loss of diplomatic primacy.
Lost in the Memory Palace:
US Leads, But No One Follows
By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News
You would hardly know it from reading the U.S. press, but a summit of considerable significance took place late last month. German, French, Russian, and Turkish leaders convened in Istanbul Oct. 27 to create a comprehensive plan to end the seven-year war in Syria. On the agenda: increase humanitarian aid, rebuild ruined towns and cities, assist returning refugees, draft a new constitution and arrange internationally supervised elections. All this will take time, but the Syria story is evolving from one of conflict to one of reconciliation and reconstruction.
Two features of the summit deserve special note.
The four nations are not all fast friends, to put it mildly. But they drew together to find common interests in resolving what may count as the worst crisis since the Cold War’s end. Second, there was a conspicuous absence at the Istanbul gathering: the United States. Despite its prominent role in the Syrian conflict for at least the past six years, if not longer, the United States wanted no part of a many-sided summit dedicated to resolving it via negotiation.
A matter of days later came the Trump administration’s sweeping new sanctions against Iran, planned for many months and put into force at midnight on Nov. 4.
Never mind Washington’s adversaries: Even its traditional allies in Europe are resisting the United States. This new round of sanctions rank among the stupidest foreign policy moves of Trump’s two years in office. Two others were withdrawing from the climate pact in June 2017 and unilaterally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital six months later.
Three Things Now Clear
At this point, three things are clear about the Trump administration’s approach to global affairs.
No. 1: Team Trump’s foreign policies are easily the most incoherent of any administration in recent memory. The United States does or does not…