Trump: Putin Is NOT Happy About Syria Withdrawal. Putin: I Am Happy About Syria WithdrawalPhoto courtesy of Getty Politics Features Syria
It almost feels naive and pointless and quaint to focus on things like “truth” coming from President Trump’s mouth as we limp toward 2019, but just for nostalgia’s sake, let’s hearken back to a time when blatant lies by our commander-in-chief meant something. So, you read yesterday that the U.S. is planning to withdraw all troops from Syria. The pundit class spent very little time on whether this was a good decision or a bad one on its merits—since that question is kind of complicated—and immediately devolved into the “does Russia like this or not?” discourse.
Trump fell for it hook, line, and sinker, because he basically only cares what people in the media are saying about him, and he was adamant that Putin is “not happy” about the withdrawal:
….Russia, Iran, Syria & many others are not happy about the U.S. leaving, despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and others, who they hate, without us. I am building by far the most powerful military in the world. ISIS hits us they are doomed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2018
Let’s ignore, for now, the fact that Trump previously claimed that ISIS had been defeated, and directly contradicted himself in the tweet above. Let’s instead focus on the Russia claim. Don’t worry—you don’t have to focus long. Vladimir Putin, speaking today at an annual press conference, put the lie to that claim. From The Daily Beast:
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed President Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria—during his annual marathon press conference—suggesting that it was long overdue.
“American troops should not be in Syria and have been there illegally,” he said, according to a ticker-tape account from the Russian news agency RT. “If the decision to withdraw them was taken, that’s the right decision.”
There you have it! I mean, it was self-evident beforehand that Russia would be glad to have us out of there, since they see it as a sphere of influence in which we were getting in the way, but now it’s been spoken in plain language by a Man Who Would Know.