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Column Peter van der Heiden | Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me

What the heck is going on with those Kurds? They could have known – no, they should have known – what would happen the minute a Republican would become Commander in Chief in the USA. Don’t they remember George Bush – no, not the one that is responsible for creating ISIS and overall chaos in the Middle East, George Dubya, but his father, the one that went to war with Iraq over that oil well with a flag on it, Kuwait. Don’t they remember what Bush the elder did? He rallied the Kurds into rebellion against Saddam Hussein, who was the personification of evil at the time, only to turn on them like they were bad cheese the minute he ended the war without toppling Saddam. As a result, the Kurds were prosecuted in Iraq like never before, to the point of attacking them with poisonous gas. That, my Kurdish friends, is the way Americans – or at least, Republican American presidents – pay you back for your support and loyalty.

So, they could have known from their own recent history how it would turn out. And of course, they had it coming. Trump was totally right when he mentioned that the Kurds didn’t help the Americans on the beaches of Normandy – so what were they thinking now? Did they think American aid came for free? And they were paid good money for their support, Trump said – and money is the only thing that counts in the world of this gold-plated president. Obviously, it is only a coincidence that Turkey not only is a bigger trade partner than the non-existing Kurdish country, but also has a lot of Trump property – including two Trump Towers. (Two Trump towers, as in Twin towers? Al Qaeda, are you listening?)

And even if the Kurds hadn’t learned from their own history, there is a lot of history around that illustrates the way America treats other peoples. Clean skies when the interests align, but conflicts and even violence when they don’t. The country is even built on that principle – that Boston Tea Party wasn’t a real jolly tea party, you know. The American history is soaked with alliances turned bad and agreements being violated. Remember the Mujahedeen? Financed and trained by the CIA to fight the communists – but one of the most bitter enemies of the USA after they succeeded. The Soviet-Union? Armed by ally America in the second world war, and after that the biggest adversary. South Vietnam? Left hanging out to dry after the Americans left. And if you think this short list is not convincing enough – ask Geronimo, ask Sitting Bull, ask Crazy Horse, ask Chief Joseph. Oh wait, you can not ask them anymore, because they were native American chiefs who had, together with their peoples, agreements and even treaties with the Americans – that didn’t stop the American government to commit genocide on them.

How naïve the Kurds have been. And how naïve are we, thinking that the USA has anything other than its own interests at heart. And now, now that country is led by a president-businessman, that interest lies with trade partner Turkey, not with a freedom seeking people like the Kurds. The home of the brave and the land of the free turns out to be nothing more than a coward that is not interested at all in freedom, not when that freedom is the freedom of others. So, in this case: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice – still shame on you, America!

This column by Peter van der Heiden was part of the Current Affairs Lecture The Turkish Invasion of Syria | Current Affairs Lecture by political scientist Gerry van der Kamp and political philosopher Evert van der Zweerde.