Seth J. Frantzman – It’s a black day but it’s also a lesson for anyone dealing with America. As Reagan said: Trust, but verify. There are no shortage of people out there who looked to America, that shining city, and thought it will help them achieve the rights and values abroad that America has at home, whether people in southeast Asia such as the Hmong, or Hungarians in 1956, or Cuba, or so many other cases.

Unfortunately despite the genuine decency and good intentions of most individual Americans, the system is stacked against these people. Anyone who read the readouts of US policy regarding eastern Syria understood the US never really hosted the SDF or helped them get a seat at the table in Geneva or elsewhere, it was preparing this failure for a year or more, hoping the SDF will give the last full measure before the US leaves.

Did good people think that more can be done. Maybe even made verbal promises? Yes.

It is unfortunate in my travels across this region most people don’t trust the US, they openly say that allies of Russia or Iran can trust Russia or Iran. Russia or Iran says it supports X (whether Assad or the Houthis) and they get support. The US brand, powerful still, is tarnished by these policies.

I taught US foreign policy to Palestinians at al-Quds University for five years…there was a point where I couldn’t even explain it anymore, such were the reversals of the policy…to students who came one year with some faith in some policy, only to find it evaporate.

In my last four years I told people again and again that maybe Americans are fundamentally decent, but do not put too much trust in policies or values or lip service whether it is Kerry or the current ones.

Trust, but verify.