Tulsi Gabbard’s rightful criticism of US interventionism in Syria indicates that she’s Americans’ best chance to defeat the War Party.

Last week, Tulsi Gabbard accomplished something new and important in US politics. Not only was she the most Googled candidate, as in the earlier debates. According to a poll by the Drudge Report, Tulsi also won the debate by a wide margin; and she did it by telling the truth about the Syrian War. In addition, Tulsi put the other Democratic candidates on notice. The rest have been tepid, at best, on the war issue. Their indignant statements about Trump’s so-called betrayal of the Kurds shows that every one of them supports the US policy of foreign intervention in effect since September 11, 2001.

Tulsi set herself apart from the rest on this vital issue. She is calling out the Democratic Party for supporting the horrible regime change war against Syria, and for employing Al Qaeda to do it. She is correct. The only time the Democrats supported Trump was when he bombed Syria. And now, they cynically indict him for pulling back US forces from the north, thereby allowing the Turks to invade and attack the US government’s Kurdish allies.

But US support for the Kurds was never a noble endeavor; it was always a matter of expedience. Obama’s alliance with the Kurds served the US objective of regime change in Syria. The Kurds also helped to occupy the oil fields east of the Euphrates River. The fight against ISIS was merely a pretext for our military presence in northeast Syria. At critical moments, US ambivalence toward ISIS exposed the actual Janus-faced American purpose. For example, after leveling the Arab city of Raqqa, the US could easily have finished off the ISIS force there, but instead allowed the remnants to escape to the south, obviously in the expectation and hope the terrorists would engage the Syrian army. The failed US policy was “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

The US presence in Syria was always illegal. The US was not invited in. It had no UN mandate and virtually no international support, apart from Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf sheikdoms. The US sent its terrorist minions (so-called freedom fighters) into Syria to overthrow Assad, and to deny the Syrians access to their own oil. This was the foreign policy of an imperial rogue state—not that of a free people who respect international law and the territorial integrity of nations.

The US, by its repeated aggressions, has shown it respects neither.

Let us be clear. There was never going to be a Kurdish state. All of the nations in the region, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey, are united in opposing the creation of a Kurdish rump state anywhere in the Mideast. It is the tragedy of the Kurdish people to be scattered across all of these four nations—and to remain stateless. The Turks invaded because they view an autonomous Kurdish entity on their southern border as a security threat.

Like it or not, Trump’s pullback had a positive result. The Kurds awakened to their stupid mistake of believing US lies. It was naive of them ever to think the US would sponsor a Kurdish mini state. The good news is, the Kurds have done what Russia long recommended. They have cut a deal with Assad and rejoined Syria. This was always their best option; and is the most hopeful turn of events in the region, in many months.

At this stage, Turkish leader Erdogan will probably call a halt to his invasion. Because, now, in addition to the Kurds, he faces the battle-hardened Syrian army supported by the Russians. And Erdogan’s worst nightmare is a war with Russia. So, I predict he will terminate his invasion and enter into some hard diplomacy with Assad and Putin. The upcoming talks will determine the peace and the future of the region. The US will not be a party to these talks, at least, not directly, and for good reason. After having done everything humanly possible, since 2011, to destabilize and dismember Syria, the US does not deserve a seat at the table.

To be sure, the Syrian war is not over. US-backed terrorists still occupy Idlib province, their last stronghold.

Given the importance of what Tulsi accomplished, i.e., winning a national debate by talking truth to power, it is no wonder the pro-war corporate media have escalated the attacks upon her. Last spring, before Tulsi was a factor, CNN dismissed her as “that goofy surfer from Hawaii…” Now that her clear words have stung the Democratic Party (which should be called the War Party), the media has smeared Tulsi as a “Russian asset.” No surprise that Hillary, herself a war criminal, has also chimed in with the same insult.

Despite the predictable demagoguery, there has been a noticeable shift. Thanks to Tulsi Gabbard, we are on unfamiliar ground. I have been observing US politics since the 1960s, and I do not recall anything comparable to the present political moment. For the first time since the nomination of the anti-war candidate George McGovern in 1972, we have a peace candidate who handily wins debates. But this time, we have a candidate who is also smarter and more articulate than McGovern ever was: a woman who could easily defeat Trump in 2020, or whoever the Republicans choose to run.

But here is the question: Are the Democrats awake to their good fortune? Will they grasp at this amazing opportunity, or choose to replicate their failure in 2016? The bottom line: Is there enough integrity and intelligence in the Party to recognize that Tulsi has tapped the source of past Democratic strength, i.e., the grass roots? Whether the Party of Wall Street likes it or not, the people of this country, Republican, Democrat, and Independent alike, want a decisive end to the US war policy. And the only way to accomplish that is to support the first candidate in living memory who can and most assuredly will deliver.