There is tension between strategists and Trump, Atlantic Council President Kempe says
İpek Yezdani – ISTANBUL
The U.S. administration is facing a split between strategists and President Donald Trump over Washington’s future roles in the Middle East, according to Atlantic Council President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Kempe.
“We are seeing the natural tension between the strategists who are trying to figure out how we will actually handle the future of the Middle East most appropriately alongside our allies and the president who is trying to deliver his constituency what he promised he would do for them,” he said during a press conference in Istanbul.
The Turkish edition of Frederik Kempe’s book “Berlin 1961” was promoted at a meeting organized by the Atlantic Council and Çalık Holding, the Turkish firm that has supported the translation of the book, earlier this week.
Asked about the U.S. administration’s Syria policy, Kempse said there is a “very unusual” president at the helm of the administration right now.
“He was elected by his constituency to be an insurgent. They wanted him to be different; they wanted him to not be the same as politicians who had come before him. So from the beginning of his promises, his campaign and his administration, he wanted to bring Americans back home. And he thought that his predecessors had spent too much blood and treasure on foreign soils.”
Kempe, however, stressed that over the time of his administration, he learned that this was not quite that simple. “But he still has that as a goal. I think what you are seeing is the natural tension between the strategists who are trying to figure out how do we actually handle the future of the Middle East most appropriately alongside our friends and allies, a president who is trying to deliver his constituency what he promised he would do for them. To that extent, there is probably a division of approach and if anything that told you there were divisions; it is the resignation of Secretary [James] Mattis and resignation of Brett McGurk,” he added, referring to the former U.S. envoy for the global coalition fighting ISIL.
“But there is no doubt that this is a different sort of president, and this is a president that in his third year is going to become more his own foreign policy advisor. He is more confident in his job, he is more confident in his instincts,” Kempe said.
Kempe said there was no doubt that when the U.S. was leaving the situation in Syria, they would leave over a vacuum.
“And the question is; who will fill that vacuum? There is no doubt that the Israelis are worried about that. That’s why you have seen the Israelis hit targets in Syria recently,” he said.
Kempe stressed that after the U.S. withdrawal, he believed there would be opportunities for Turkey to play a role inside Syria.
“Turkey is one of those countries that play a role in more region of the world than almost any country that I know of. If you look at the Black Sea, if you look at Europe, if you look at Middle East, if you look at the Caucasus, Turkey is involved in all of that,” he said.
Book available in Turkish
A lively meticulous account of a crucial year in history, “Berlin 1961” is now available in Turkish.
Kempe’s “Berlin 1961,” recently published in Turkish, discusses a period from the year that the Berlin Wall was first built.
Kempe provides in-depth analysis on the most decisive event in shaping the Cold War, based on a wealth of documents and interviews and filled with fresh insights.
The book, recognized as “a lively meticulous account of a crucial year in history” by The Economist magazine, is published with the contribution of Çalık Holding and by Doğan Egmont.