Forget for a moment the manner in which Donald Trump has sold out the Kurds during an admiring late-night call with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s strongman; his US troop withdrawal, which caught White House advisers by surprise: the bombastic tweets that followed. All these were vintage Trump. But we should not let the noise obscure the signal. America has been trying to extricate itself from the Middle East for years. Trump is only following in the footsteps of Barack Obama.

It used to be said it was better to be Britain’s enemy than its friend; Britain made deals with its enemies and betrayed its friends. The Kurds might feel the same way about the US. As long ago as 1975, after Washington withdrew CIA support from an Iraqi Kurd uprising, Henry Kissinger said: “F**k the Kurds if they can’t take a joke.” Trump’s decision to abandon America’s most important ally in Syria is reckless — not least because it opens the way for an Islamic State (IS) resurgence. But his betrayal is...

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