In face of mounting criticism against its decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, the Trump administration has changed its tune quite dramatically. Now the full weight of the military establishment, from the Pentagon to the State Department, is castigating Turkey for its military operation and threatening severe consequences if it is taken beyond the “acceptable limit.”

Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said the government “could shut down the Turkish economy if we need to”, while US secretary of defence, Mark Esper, recently warned that Turkey was not “green-lit to carry out” the operation and a whole raft of sanctions were in the works as well. Meanwhile a chorus of US lawmakers and senior officials has been ratcheting up pressure with more comments like this.

This outrage however is half-hearted and best and disingenuous at worst. No one can deny that the space for the Turkish military operation was made after US President Donald Trump gave the order to withdraw troops from Kurdish controlled Syria after a phone call with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The US president allowed this operation to happen; claiming that Turkey is going beyond bounds is false outrage. The duplicity of this outcry can be judged from the fact that despite the Treasury Department securing “very significant new sanctions authorities” against Turkey, they have claimed there is no intent to use them yet. The sabre is being rattled safely from a distance.

Similarly while the US administration may claim that we are “not abandoning our Kurdish partner forces” the blunt truth has already been revealed by the President. Donald Trump has said quite publically that since Kurds are fighting for their own land and didn’t come to US aid during World War II, the US has no obligation to help them.

The US has allowed this operation to happen through its own actions, now it is trying to save face – and doing a terrible job of it.