Washington’s new plan for a 30,000-strong border security force; to be deployed in the north of Syria, to battle it out with ISIS is a worrying development all round. Not least because the terror group had no presence in the country prior to American behind-the-scenes meddling aimed at toppling the Assad regime, which of course gave way to full-blown military intervention. Add to this the fact that a prolonged US presence will inflame tensions among regional neighbours. And because Washington has such a fantastic record when it comes to border management in times of conflict. Not.Naturally, we know what we’re talking about; having spent the last 16 years living with US ‘engagement’ across our western border in Afghanistan.Indeed, Turkey has already condemned outright what it refers to as a “terror army”. After all, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) isn’t just any ordinary mishmash of rebel fighters. It is an umbrella group largely comprised of those from the People’s Protection Unit (YPG). And herein lies the rub. The YPG is considered a terrorist organisation by Ankara due, in part, to its ties with the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). But not only that. So, too do Syria, NATO, the EU and the US itself. Well, then. What could possibly go wrong?We have to say that we share Turkey’s concerns, likely including worry over an open-ended US regional presence; which is colonialism by another name and one that seeks to counter a resurgent Russia in the Middle East while keeping Iran in its place. But even more reasonably, Ankara’s fears have likely been sparked by what it has observed in our neck of the woods. For in neighbouring Afghanistan, the Washington war machine has spent more than a decade-and-half using its vast military might to overthrow the Taliban regime only to be doing the very same to get the latter to some sort of negotiated political settlement. And in between, it flirted with many a warlord; throwing millions of dollars their way on daily basis at the time of the Karzai regime. So, yes we can understand President Erdogan’s apprehension that the US will be taking its Afghan-quagmire-expertise to the Syria-Turkish border.But more than that, we would like to say that the emperor of Trump Town has no clothes; new or otherwise. For if he did, he would have managed to grasp the sheer hypocrisy of berating Pakistan over its courts releasing Hafiz Saeed from house arrest on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Nevertheless, some good might come of this American misstep. Namely, the anticipated battle between NATO and the US over the YPG question might serve to take some heat off this country; and may even impact the troop surge next door. After all, the Alliance’s real test will come in how, if at all, it succeeds in extricating itself from this new and improved potential quagmire that pits the US on one side with Turkey (also a NATO member) and the Organisation on the other. And it will not only be Ankara that eagerly awaits the outcome. *Published in Daily Times, January 17th 2018.