By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. So much for the Kurds

Here are your Monday power lunch talking points: There isn't much former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats can say publicly these days on specific policy since he departed the Trump administration on Aug. 15 (a day, a source close to Coats told us, was President Trump's choosing). Coats held down one of the most sleepless jobs in the world. He knew the true hotspots and dire threats. So we have to wonder what Coats is thinking this morning when we learned that President Trump has ordered U.S. troops away from Syria following a phone call with Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to the Washington Post, Erdogan said in a speech Monday that the U.S. withdrawal began soon after their phone call. 

As for America's Kurdish allies, who did the heavy battlefield lifting to rid ISIS from northern Iraq and Syria, well, they're screwed. Trump has now set up a truly explosive showdown between Turkey and the Kurds. Turkey has long been paranoid of any type of Kurdish state or militia. Axios  reported: The Kurds have long feared Turkey would cross the border and kill them if U.S. troops left Syria. Don't be surprised if Erdogan moves swiftly into this betrayal and breach, with senior Pentagon officials unclear on what type of operation Erdogan's "Peace Fountain" will be and how it will impact America's stalwart Kurdish allies. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a major Trump ally, was horrified of this decision, calling it "impulsive."

Trump tweeted: “It is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.” Trump believes ISIS has been defeated, when intelligence experts say it will have the ability to reconstitute itself. If it does, Americans will not be able to count on the Kurds to do our bidding. Or any American ally, for that matter. 

2. Braun suspends 5th CD campaign

Steve Braun has suspended his 5th CD campaign, citing health reasons. "During an annual check-up with my doctor in September, an issue was identified that requires me to step away from campaigning for 5th District for the next few months," Braun said in a statement. "I am both frustrated and disappointed to have to suspend my campaign at this critical juncture. Now more than ever, we need to send individuals to Washington who have the capability, the experience and the willingness to address the problems we face." It comes as the GOP field is expanding, with Chuck Dietzen, Beth Henderson (wife of Atlanta businessman and former U.S. Senate candidateTerry Henderson)Col. Kent Abernathy entering the race over the past week, joining Micah Beckwith, Kelly Mitchell and Danny Niederberger.

3. The marijuana island

With the election of Ryan Mears as Marion County prosecutor, there will soon be a marijuana island in the center of Indiana. Mears announced last week he will no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases and by Friday had moved to dismiss close to 150 cases. Mayor Joe Hogsett, who backed Tim Moriarty for prosecutor, and IMPD did a "not so fast" by mid-week, but it is hard to believe Indy cops will keep busting people when they know their cases will be dismissed. Why do the paperwork? Essentially, about a sixth of the state's population will live in a decriminalized pot zone, while the rest of the state won't. Gov. Eric Holcomb told HPI  in July he did not favor decriminalization. As for Hogsett, less than a month before his expected reelection, he lost a showdown, and it may have been the marijuana issue that paved the way for Moriarty's defeat.

4. Whistleblowers & Pence

Over the weekend, we learned that another CIA whistleblower (with direct knowledge of President Trump's Ukraine call) will emerge. Trump is threatening "impeachment" against Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Adam Schiff, and Sen. Mitt Romney (pssssst ... Mr. President, members of Congress can't be impeached). We know GOP Sens. Romney, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins are having severe heartburn over Trump seeking help from China to slime the Bidens. And the GOP defense, courtesy of Rep. Jim Jordan and Sen. Ron Johnson, is along the lines of "he was just joking" about that China thing. Vice President Pence, who lunches with Trump on Tuesday, will be dispatched to Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia to barnstorm against Dem Reps. Cindy Axne, Angie Craig, Elissa Slotkin and Abigail Spanberger, all impeachment inquiry backers.

5. Historic GM strike continues

The UAW strike against General Motors is entering its fourth week and negotiations are in trouble, described by the Detroit News as "tumultuous" after no compromise on job security and new hire pay. It is now the longest strike in decades. It has idled 46,000 GM-UAW members at 55 GM facilities including those in Fort Wayne, Marion, Kokomo and Bedford.

Have a great week, folks. The next weekly Howey Politics Indiana  will be published Tuesday morning. It's The Atomic!