The Washington Post - 24.10.2019

(Nancy Kaufman) #1

T H U R S D A Y , O C T O B E R  2 4,  2 0 1 9 .  T H E  W A S H I N G T O N  P O S T EZ RE A

president’s promise?
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-
S.C.) opposed the withdrawal
but gave cautious backing for
the “safe zone” Trump says is
being created along the border.
He made clear he still thinks
there is a risk of resurgent
Islamic State terrorism that only
a U.S. presence can reliably
“While I agree that America is
not the policeman of the world, I
firmly believe the American
military is the most capable to
protect America and should be
used wisely to do so,” Graham
Trump is selling voters a
different message.
“How many Americans must
die in the Middle East in the
midst of these ancient sectarian
and tribal conflicts?” Trump
asked rhetorically as he
announced the lifting of
punitive sanctions meant to
deter Turkey.
The language echoed the
nativist isolationism that
shocked his political opponents
as Trump outmaneuvered them
during the 2016 election and
that he plans to employ during
his 2020 campaign.
“Turkey, Syria, and all forms
of the Kurds, have been fighting
for centuries,” he said, implying
that that was really none of
America’s concern. “We have
done them a great service, and
we’ve done a great job for all of
them. And now we’re getting

concerned about Russia’s newly
expanded role.
“I think we always watch the
Russians warily, wherever they
are,” the official said. “And so,
the deal between Turkey and the
Russians is something that’s
between them. We did not have
any role to play in that.”
That’s just the problem, Sen.
Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) suggested
in a tweet Wednesday.
“Erdogan has NOT agreed to
stop all military operations in
#Syria,” he wrote, referring to
the Turkish president, whom
Trump has invited to visit the
White House next month.
“#Russia is going to:
-Remove Kurdish forces from
east & west of current Turk
controlled areas, including
Kurdish cities
-Help #Turkey push all SDF
forces 30km south from entire
-Take control of 5 oil fields”
Trump said a small number of
U.S. forces will stay behind in
northern Syria to guard oil
infrastructure. The
administration official who
spoke to reporters would not
provide additional details about
the number or location of those
forces. Some troops are also
temporarily being stationed in
While Trump claims those
troops will come home soon, his
administration will face a
dilemma if tensions in Syria rise:
Keep those troops there to help
stabilize the region or send them
home anyway to fulfill the

America’s role more broadly in
the world, which has been
founded for 70 years on
American credibility.”
Trump did not mention the
deal between Turkey and Russia
reached Tuesday that pushes
Syrian Kurdish fighters from a
wide belt of Syrian territory just
south of Turkey’s border and
seals the Russian dominance in
Syria as the United States steps
Trump did not mention
Russia by name at all.
A senior administration
official, who spoke on the
condition of anonymity to
expand on the president’s
remarks in a call with reporters
later Wednesday, was asked
whether the White House is

back, bring them back.”
Foreign-policy experts along
with many lawmakers in both
parties continue to warn that
Trump has made a foolhardy
decision, and if the situation in
Syria quickly deteriorates,
Trump will own it ahead of the
“The president might have a
case that this is a rather minor
tactical decision on the ground
in a small part of the world that
doesn’t have a core American
interest, but he’s wrong in the
assessment that it doesn’t have
broader implications,” said
Douglas Lute, a former U.S.
ambassador to NATO. “That may
play well to the president’s base,
but it doesn’t play well to
anybody who understands

treasure and lives in pursuit of
high-minded internationalist
ideals anathema to his
nationalist world view.
“As a candidate for president,
I made clear that we needed a
new approach to American
foreign policy, one guided not by
ideology, but by experience,
history, and a realistic
understanding of the world,” he
said from a lectern in the White
House’s Diplomatic Reception
He claimed that his bold
action in yanking forces had
been a much-needed change.
The cease-fire and longer-term
security along the border would
not have happened without the
brief fighting that followed the
U.S. exit and Turkish invasion,
he said.
“This was an outcome created
by us, the United States, and
nobody else, no other nation.
Very simple. And we’re willing to
take blame, and we’re also
willing to take credit,” Trump
Trump is banking on getting
the credit come election time, at
least from the ardent supporters
he is hoping to turn out in
droves for his reelection effort.
His call to withdraw troops has
become an applause line at his
recent rallies.
“American combat troops
should not be at the center of
ancient sectarian conflicts all
over the world. Bring our
soldiers back home,” he said in
Dallas last week to crowd chants
of “Bring them back, bring them

In President
Trump’s telling
Wednesday, his
withdrawal of all
but a few U.S.
forces from Syria
makes good on
his promise to shake off the sand
of faraway Middle East conflicts
and to let other countries play
policeman for a change.
Trump hopes his decision will
please his most loyal political
supporters, who tend to love it
when he pokes a finger in the
eye of the naysayers. Thus,
Trump proudly owned what his
critics see as a debacle born of
willful ignorance.
“Let someone else fight over
this long-bloodstained sand,”
Trump said at the White House.
He declared a “major
breakthrough” as a U.S.-backed
cease-fire along the Syrian-
Turkish border largely held and
claimed that he is saving
American and Kurdish lives
while pulling the plug on
indefinite U.S. military
Even close political allies of
Trump’s have called it a blunder
to abandon Syrian Kurdish allies
and open the door to Russian
and Turkish control of a
strategic crossroads between the
Middle East and Europe.
But Trump has taken to
wearing their scorn as a badge of
honor — evidence not that he
has made a foolish decision but
that he is breaking with foreign
policy conventions he has
derided as costing too much

Trump tries to rebrand Syria exit as a political promise he kept to supporters




A California writer known for
dispensing advice on parenting
was sentenced Wednesday to
three weeks in prison for schem-
ing to buy a fraudulent college
admission test score for her son,
prosecutors announced.
Jane Buckingham, author of
“The Modern Girl’s Guide to
Motherhood,” became the 10th
parent to receive prison time
among the 11 sentenced so far in
the college admission bribery
scandal. Prison terms for others

have ranged as high as five
months. Prosecutors had recom-
mended six months of incarcera-
tion for Buckingham.
At a hearing in Boston, U.S.
District Judge Indira Talwani sen-
tenced Buckingham to three
weeks behind bars, one year of
supervised release and a $40,
fine, according to the U.S. Attor-
ney’s Office in Massachusetts.
Buckingham, 51, of Los Angeles,
pleaded guilty in May to one count
of conspiracy to commit mail fraud
and honest-services mail fraud. She
admitted she had agreed to pay ad-

mission consultant William “Rick”
Singer $50,000 to arrange for a cor-
rupt test proctor to take the ACT for
her son in 2018.
Court records show the son pre-
viously had obtained two strong
ACT scores on his own, ranking in
the 92nd and 94th percentiles.
But Buckingham worried that
would not be good enough to get
him into the University of South-
ern California, records show, so
she plotted with Singer to get a
better score. She supplied Singer
with a sample of her son’s hand-
writing to help the proctor cheat.

“I know this is craziness,” Buck-
ingham told Singer in a telephone
call, according to court records. “I
know it is. And then I need you to
get him into USC, and then I need
you to cure cancer and [make
peace] in the Middle East.”
The fraudulent score the son
received was 35 out of a possible
36, and Buckingham ultimately
paid $35,000, according to court
records. The son was unaware of
the cheating, prosecutors said,
and was not charged with any
Singer, mastermind of the scan-

dal’s bribery schemes, has plead-
ed guilty to racketeering conspira-
cy and other crimes.
Buckingham, a marketing ex-
ecutive, made a name for herself
as a provider of practical tips for
working moms. In a promotional
video, she said: “You know, at the
end of the day, all we really want to
know is how do we raise confi-
dent, self-reliant kids. Well, guess
what — if you want to have a
confident kid, you need to be a
confident parent.”
This month, she apologized for
her crime in a letter to the judge.

“I have hurt the parents and
students who don’t have the re-
sources my family has,” Bucking-
ham wrote. “My actions showed
them that, in a system already
stacked against them, people with
more money and resources were
finding yet another advantage
that they did not deserve and were
not entitled to. That is not right.
“I know that I can never truly
make amends to these other stu-
dents and families, but I will
spend the rest of my life trying,”
she wrote.

Parenting guru gets 3-week prison sentence in college admissions scandal

President Trump says the cease-fire on the Syrian-Turkish border
would not have happened without the fighting after the U.S. exit.

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