Joseph Sabino Mistick: Real value of loyalty lost on Trump | TribLIVE.com
Joseph Sabino Mistick, Columnist

Joseph Sabino Mistick: Real value of loyalty lost on Trump

Joseph Sabino Mistick
1783653_web1_1774563-4c267863dd864233bb6387aa6e66fc41
AP
President Trump talks with Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan at a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels July 11, 2018.

I am not an expert in foreign relations or diplomacy. But I do understand the nature and importance of loyalty.

President Trump’s unilateral decision to abandon the Kurdish fighters in Syria is an invitation to Turkey to cross the border and annihilate the Kurds. This seems clueless.

The Kurdish fighters in Syria are our allies. Turkish President Recep Erdogan believes that they are his enemies, terrorists to be destroyed at the first opportunity.

After a phone call last Sunday with Erdogan, Trump took Erdogan’s side against the Kurds who have loyally fought alongside our own troops. Thousands of Kurds have died fighting our enemies in the Middle East, and Trump’s policy abandons them to a man whose goal is to wipe them out.

There was a time when Trump talked like he understood the importance of loyalty. Just last year, when Kurdish journalist Rahim Rashidi asked him if America would still support his people after they had helped defeat ISIS in Syria, Trump firmly gave them what we now know was false hope.

“We have to help them. I want to help them. They fought with us. They died with us. They died. We lost tens of thousands of Kurds, died fighting ISIS. They died for us and with us,” he said.

“They’re great people. And we have not forgotten. We don’t forget,” Trump promised.

Trump has rankled our old friends and allies since he took office, challenging agreements and treaties, purposefully abandoning America’s international leadership role. And he is shattering the post-World War II order that has prevented world wars, and has proposed nothing in its place.

But this betrayal of the Kurds seems even more impulsive, more immediate and even more un-American. And Trump’s staunchest political allies in the Republican Party have gone south on him over this one, even though their gripes are more about strategy than loyalty.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, generally a Trump cheerleader, challenged the president in his own arena, tweeting, “So sad. So dangerous. President Trump may be tired of fighting radical Islam. They are NOT tired of fighting us.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”

Trump has never understood the real meaning of loyalty. Six days after taking office, Trump told FBI Director James Comey, “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.”

And at his first Cabinet meeting, Trump loved it when his top appointees gave him the same treatment dictator Kim Jong Un gets in North Korea, groveling and heaping praise upon him.

Trump seems to think that sucking up to him is loyalty, but real loyalty is a funny thing. In order to get loyalty, you have to give loyalty.

Loyalty, unlike talent or skills or expertise, cannot be hired or purchased. And it cannot be demanded or forced.

After Rahim Rashidi, the Kurdish journalist, heard Trump’s promise to remain loyal to the loyal Kurds, he told The Washington Post, “It’s given us something. He’s given us hope.”

And now he has turned on them.

Joseph Sabino Mistick is a Pittsburgh lawyer. Reach him at [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.