From today’s (Sö 4.02.) Yahoo News I just learned that the USA do not intend to protect the Syrian Kurds of Afrin against the Turkish invasion. The reason seems to be that the USA have up to now talked in different ways about different groups of Kurds, which is “of course” much more important than such facts as that the Kurds have been fighting ISIS in cooperation with the USA, or that they are actively trying to set up a much more democratic living style than that propagated by the likes of Erdogan … .
It all reminds (not for the first time) of the experience of a German businessman who, after spending his professional life in the import-export business, was summing up his experiences by saying that the people with whom he had most liked to do business were the Japanese, while least liking to do business with Americans, for the reason that “they always try to cheat you” (mainly via small print).
It is of course such a question why the USA do as they do (accepting that their credibility as allies is seriously damaged). One reason will of course be the wish “to save American blood” by not having to send more troups to an area where live ammunition may be used. Another reason may be that Turkey is a “NATO partner” (and never mind that it is certainly not any more any democratic system). One can of course ask what NATO partner Turkey is meanwhile good for. Is it needed as a defence against Russia? Not really, nor as a protection of the Middle Eastern oil fields (the USA have, due to fracking, enough oil and gas, and with further development of alternative sources of energy these sources of energy will become ever less important). Nor can Turkey threaten the USA with a flood of refugees (the USA will anyway simply not take them). Of “Western values” Turkey is refusing to be a representative (which one could well take as a reason to stop cooperation with it at least AS LONG AS it pursues its authoritarian course). Which leaves Turkey’s function as a guard on the access to the Black Sea (how important is that, and is this waterway not anyway officially an international one?), and then there is of course the fact that Turkey buys American weapons (even pays for them, what the Kurds cannot afford).
I can of course invite the reader to come up with further reasons to excuse the USA’s refusal to support their Kurdish brothers-in-arms. But as long as I do not see further, good reasons, it looks to me that the USA consider NATO first and foremost as a convenient market for the products of their Military-Industrial Complex plus also as a recruiting-ground for helpers in US military adventures (see the invasion of Iraq), but that they will, if there is a danger of a serious conflict with a big power (such as Russia), refer to some small print (e.g. does Article 5 of the NATO treaty NOT expressly demand MILITARY action in support of other NATO members) and withhold any support which might harm “American interests”.