Critics of President Trump feared what he might do to save himself as the walls closed in. We now know: He abandoned one of America’s best allies to be slaughtered.We should fear what he does next, if this latest horror goes unchecked.
For decades, the Kurds fought America’s enemies in hopes that America’s promises meant something. American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines fought and died alongside them. Now, Kurdish fighters in Syria are dying from Turkish bombardment amid the morale-crushing reality that American politicians are too cowardly to confront the president, who pulled U.S. troops from Syria despite warnings about the likely devastating effects on the Kurds.
I served as an Army doctor in Kurdistan in 2015 as the Kurds held the line between Mosul and Erbil. I saw Kurdish fighters with amputated limbs, just like America’s Iraq-war veterans. I was there to help prepare American and Kurdish troops to face ISIS’ chemical weapons.
These brave, friendly Muslim fighters were a dream come true for America in the Middle East. We could not have defeated ISIS without them. They did most of the heavy fighting, even in Arab areas. They suffered tens of thousands of casualties. They are fundamental to a stable Middle East, even though President Trump has made clear he prefers Saudi Arabia’s petro-theocracy and Turkey’s authoritarianism.
General James Mattis resigned as secretary of defense in protest of this betrayal, which opened the door for Turkey’s attacks on the Kurds. When ISIS resurges in the Middle East and streams into Europe, no ally will have any reason to trust us. We won’t be able to defeat any enemy with so little American blood spilled and treasure spent next time. We will see the costs of “America alone.”
To paraphrase the late-Senator John McCain, whom we miss so much today: Presidents don’t lose allies; nations lose allies. Americans must accept the reality that our president is a pathological narcissist.
We doctors diagnose someone as having narcissistic personality disorder if they have five of nine symptoms listed in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-V). Without needing to see him in my clinic, it is obvious that President Trump has all nine, including being interpersonally exploitative, envious, grandiose, haughty and lacking empathy. Worse still, narcissists lack the capacity to perceive a problem; doctors call such a blind spot ego-syntonic.
Our president is also an avowed counterpuncher. So as America punches him with impeachment and condemnation, he is punching back. He’s destroying our national unity, our financial future and our global alliances.
Pathological narcissists will sacrifice anything to save themselves, even their own family, their country and allies who bled with them. Furthermore, their weak ego makes them want to destroy those against whom they feel inferior, such as McCain and the Kurds. We see the costs in the bodies of our brothers.
Who will be next? The Baltics? South Korea? Taiwan?
The President believes he can get away with this because Republicans will let him. Throughout his campaign and presidency, Republicans have shown that they hate Democrats more than they love their country, allowing him to continue his partisan presidency and pretending they can’t see the costs.
With Kurdish blood on their hands, they cannot pretend anymore. Because of the structure of our Constitution, only Republican Senators can save our country from the wrath of a cornered pathological narcissist.
They must rise to the stature of the office they sought, break with Mr. Trump for abandoning an ally, and remove him from office before the next tragedy he will predictably perpetrate. Our founders meant the Senate to be a body of statesmen, of sufficient wisdom and courage to remove from office a president who endangered our republic.
A pathological narcissist will never stop. He doesn’t know how. As long as Republicans keep enabling this president by remaining quiet, he will keep abusing our country. Today, he sacrifices the Kurds and America’s reputation. Tomorrow, what?
Dr. Rob Cohen (Rob.L.Cohen.MD@gmail.com) is a physician and U.S. Army veteran of Operation Inherent Resolve. He hosts the DemoCRISES podcast. TwitterL @RobCohenMD.