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US Foreign Policy
Topic: US Foreign Policy (Read 48963 times)
2016 Foreign Policy Debates
Reply #550 on:
July 23, 2014, 08:49:57 AM »
Most of us here have tended to a strong US foreign policy, but at the polls in 2016 this may prove a very losing proposition. For several years now I have been underlining here that rudderless nature of US foreign policy. This article addresses this theme:
The Big 2016 Foreign Policy Debates
Rand Paul will fight the GOP hawks, and Joe Biden could run to the left of Hillary Clinton.
By William A. Galston
July 22, 2014 7:19 p.m. ET
These are tough times for internationalists, liberal and conservative alike. George W. Bush's overreach in Iraq undermined public support for the use of American power overseas, and Barack Obama has done nothing to rebuild it. Large majorities of Americans believe that our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan was a mistake. A July 21 Politico survey of likely voters in battleground states found that only 39% think that we have a responsibility to do something about the mess we left behind in Mesopotamia.
The survey also found that by a margin of 3 to 1, Americans reject the sweeping vision Mr. Bush enunciated in his second inaugural address and would instead confine the use of American military power to direct threats to our national security. In the same poll, completed before the downing of the Malaysia Airlines 3786.KU -2.17% passenger plane, only 17% thought we should get more involved in the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine.
The desire for some nation-building here at home is palpable and understandable. Nevertheless, the forthcoming presidential campaign is likely to feature an unusually spirited debate—within as well as between the parties—about America's role in the world.
The outline of this debate among Republicans is easy to foresee. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has articulated a coherent message of government restraint abroad as well as at home and has proved adept at making a libertarian-leaning agenda more broadly acceptable to conservatives. The young adults who flocked to his father's rallies seem especially receptive to his critique of military intervention and NSA surveillance. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose political instincts seem to have improved since 2012, has publicly challenged Mr. Paul for his alleged isolationism, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has positioned himself as his generation's torchbearer for a muscular internationalism based on American leadership.
Sen. Rand Paul Associated Press
Most Republican contenders are likely to side with their party's national-defense orthodoxy of recent decades. Still, Mr. Paul's self-confidence and political skills could carry him far in a divided field and might even gain him the nomination. That would be an earthquake within the Republican Party and present a tough choice for staunch hawks like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Mr. McCain has publicly said as much.
Although it may not occur, the Democrats are poised for a similar debate. The only significant difference between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008 was her vote for the Iraq war, which probably cost her the presidential nomination. Little has changed. During her tenure as secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton was among the administration's toughest voices during internal debates. She supported the use of American air power in Libya, and the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden. (Both Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Robert Gates opposed it.)
Strong legal support from Mrs. Clinton's State Department for President Obama's expansive use of drones surprised many observers. She was an advocate for the 2009 surge of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and favored maintaining a residual American force in Iraq after the end of our combat missions. While not opposed to nuclear negotiations with Iran, she has expressed mistrust about Iranian intentions and has opposed a policy of "containing" a nuclear-armed Tehran if diplomacy fails. As president, it seems reasonable to conclude, Mrs. Clinton would make decisions about using American power based on prudential considerations, not instinctive aversion.
For the record: Even though I opposed the Iraq war from the start, I believe that Hillary Clinton's judgment on defense and foreign policy issues has been right far more often than it was wrong and that she would serve our country well as commander in chief.
But rank-and-file Democrats are no less dovish today than they were in 2008. Although attention has focused recently on the clash between "populist" and "Wall Street" Democrats, the potential for an intraparty debate on foreign policy seems just as real. While Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has consistently denied her intention to run if Mrs. Clinton enters the race, Vice President Biden has made no such pledge. Estes Kefauver, the 1956 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, once remarked that the only known cure for persistent presidential ambition was "embalming fluid."
Mr. Biden is well-positioned to wage a left-leaning campaign on foreign policy as well as economic issues. Although he voted for the Iraq-war authorization in 2002, he argued vehemently against the Bush administration's surge in 2007, proposing instead the quasi-partition of Iraq into autonomous Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite zones. As vice president, he argued just as hard against Gen. David Petraeus's proposal (backed by then-Secretary of State Clinton) for a massive military surge and nation-building policy in Afghanistan. And he has taken U.S. military action against Iran off the table, declaring that "war with Iran is not just a bad option. It would be a disaster."
These issues matter, not just for the U.S., but for the world. During the Cold War, American retreat usually meant Soviet advance. Now it most often means anarchy. The question is whether the American people can be persuaded that they should care.
the trigger points for World War III are in place.
Reply #551 on:
July 30, 2014, 11:26:13 AM »
Great article. My guess is that despite it being in The Atlantic, most of you will find it compelling:
From the article:
Pacifist tendencies in western Europe coexist with views of power held in Moscow and Beijing that Bismarck or Clausewitz would recognize instantly. After the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia, the UN General Assembly ratified the concept that governments have a “responsibility to protect” their citizens from atrocities. But in the face of Syria’s bloody dismemberment and Ukraine’s cynical dismantlement, idealism of that kind looks fluffy or simply irrelevant. The Baltic countries are front-line states once again. The fleeting post–Cold War dream of a zone of unity and peace stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok has died. As John Mearsheimer observes in his seminal The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, “Unbalanced multipolar systems feature the most dangerous distribution of power, mainly because potential hegemons are likely to get into wars with all of the other great powers in the system.”
In this context, nothing is more dangerous than American weakness. It is understandable that the United States is looking inward after more than a decade of post-9/11 war. But it is also worrying, because the credibility of American power remains the anchor of global security.
Re: US Foreign Policy
Reply #552 on:
July 30, 2014, 03:54:51 PM »
Hey, elections have consequences. Who knew electing Bill Ayers' and Rev. Wright's most famous follower would turn out this badly?
Well, some of us did...
Re: US Foreign Policy
Reply #553 on:
July 30, 2014, 05:44:29 PM »
Not sure why you would think the piece would not be well-received in these quarters. indeed we might even joke it reads as if by a reader of these forums.
Henninger: Winds of War Again
Reply #554 on:
July 31, 2014, 10:38:18 AM »
Winds of War, Again
One wishes Barack Obama and John Kerry more luck in Ukraine and the Middle East than Neville Chamberlain had in Munich.
By Daniel Henninger
July 30, 2014 6:56 p.m. ET
If it's true that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, then maybe we're in luck. Many people in this unhappy year are reading histories of World War I, such as Margaret MacMillan's "The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914." That long-ago catastrophe began 100 years ago this week. The revisiting of this dark history may be why so many people today are asking if our own world—tense or aflame in so many places—resembles 1914, or 1938.
Whatever the answer, it is the remembering of past mistakes that matters, if the point is to avoid the high price of re-making those mistakes. A less hopeful view, in an era whose history comes and goes like pixels, would be that Santayana understated the problem. Even remembering the past may not be enough to protect a world poorly led. To understate: Leading from behind has never ended well.
In a recent essay for the Journal, Margaret MacMillan summarized the after-effects of World War I. Two resonate now. Political extremism gained traction, because so many people lost confidence in the existing political order or in the abilities of its leadership. That bred the isolationism of the 1920s and '30s. Isolationism was a refusal to see the whole world clearly. Self-interest, then and now, has its limits.
Which brings our new readings into the learning curves of history up to 1938. But not quite. First a revealing stop in the years just before Munich, when in 1935 Benito Mussolini's Italy invaded Ethiopia.
A woman in the Sudetenland, as Germany's troops arrive, 1939. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Before the invasion, Ethiopia's emperor, Haile Selassie, did what the civilized world expected one to do in the post-World War I world: He appealed for help to the League of Nations. The League imposed on Italy limited sanctions, which were ineffectual.
One might say this was one of history's earlier "red lines." Mussolini blew by it, invading Ethiopia and using mustard gas on its army, as Bashar Assad has done to Syria's rebel population. Mussolini merged Ethiopia with Italy's colonies in east Africa. The League condemned Italy—and dropped its sanctions.
In defeat, Haile Selassie delivered a famous speech to the League in Geneva. He knew they wouldn't help. As he stepped from the podium, he remarked: "It is us today. Tomorrow it will be you."
In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, not unlike John Kerry today, shuttled tirelessly between London and wherever Adolf Hitler consented to meet him to discuss a nonviolent solution to Hitler's intention to annex the Sudetenland, the part of Czechoslovakia inhabited by ethnic Germans. Hitler earlier in the year had annexed Austria, with nary a peep from the world "community." Many said the forced absorption of Austria was perfectly understandable.
One may hope Mr. Kerry and President Obama have more success with their stop-the-violence missions to Vladimir Putin, Kiev, Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Tehran, Afghanistan and the South China Sea than Neville Chamberlain had with Hitler, who pocketed eastern Ukraine—excuse me, the Sudetenland—and then swallowed the rest of Czechoslovakia, which ceased to exist.
But here's the forgotten part. After signing the Munich Agreement on Sept. 29, 1938—an event now reduced to one vile word, appeasement—Chamberlain returned to England in triumph. Many, recalling 1914-18, feared war. Londoners lined the streets to cheer Chamberlain's deal with Hitler. He was feted by King George VI. At 10 Downing Street, Chamberlain said the words for which history remembers him: "I believe it is peace for our time."
Winston Churchill, in a speech to the House of Commons, dissented: "This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup." Hitler, as sometimes happens in history, had negotiated in total bad faith, with no interest in anyone's desire for peace. When World War II ended in 1945, it had consumed more than 50 million people.
The U.S.'s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, though fought by a dedicated professional military, are said to have turned America in on itself, as two big wars did to Europe. The idea is that Americans are tired of their world role now. But tireless men like Hitler always finds advantage in other nations' fatigue.
Some note the current paradox of the public's low approval for Mr. Obama's handling of everything from Iraq to Ukraine to Gaza, while the same polls show a reluctance to involve the country in those problems.
But there is no contradiction. The U.S. public's resistance reflects coldblooded logic: Why get involved if the available evidence makes clear that America's president won't stay the course, no matter how worthy the cause?
After returning from Munich, Neville Chamberlain told the British to "go home, and sleep quietly in your beds." After 1914 and 1938, one wishes it could be so now. Wars, in their causes and timing, are unpredictable. What is not impossible is recognizing the winds of war. Doing less than enough, we should have learned, allows these destructive winds to gain strength.
VDH: American Indifference
Reply #555 on:
August 03, 2014, 11:32:01 AM »
PS: Readers here will recognize that I take a harder line than VDH in my criticism with regard to the SOFA failure in Iraq.
Hillary's Foreign Policy
Reply #556 on:
August 13, 2014, 07:38:03 AM »
The Message From That Hillary Interview
She would be the best-prepared president on foreign policy since George H.W. Bush.
By William A. Galston
Aug. 12, 2014 6:57 p.m. ET
Jeffrey Goldberg's interview in the Atlantic magazine with Hillary Clinton has made headlines, with good reason. Her critique of President Obama's Syria policy was pointed and persuasive, as was her assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood's missteps in Egypt.
But what lay beneath the headlines is far more important. The interview revealed a public servant instructed but not chastened by experience, with a clear view of America's role in the world and of the means needed to play that role successfully. If she entered the race and won, she would be better prepared to deal with foreign policy and national defense than any president since George H.W. Bush, whose judgment and experience helped end the Cold War and reunify Germany without a shot being fired.
Although Mrs. Clinton's tart remark that " 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle" has evoked reams of commentary, the words that preceded it are far more important: "Great nations need organizing principles." The former secretary of state expressed enthusiasm for the role the U.S. played in defeating communism and fascism. The question since 1991 has been, what now?
During Bill Clinton's administration, the answer seemed clear enough: Build prosperity by incorporating the workers of Asia, Central Europe and the former Soviet Union into the global economy. The rising tide would create an expanding middle class, which would bolster new democracies and move authoritarian governments toward democracy. So the U.S. should take the lead in promoting open trade and peacefully advocating open government. The winds of history were in our sails.
Mrs. Clinton has thought hard about this, and here is what she told Mr. Goldberg: "The big mistake was thinking" that "the end of history has come upon us, after the fall of the Soviet Union. That was never true, history never stops and nationalisms were going to assert themselves, and then other variations on ideologies were going to claim their space." She cites jihadi Islamism and Vladimir Putin's vision of restored Russian greatness as prime examples. She might well have added China's distinctive combination of political authoritarianism and pell-mell economic growth ("market-Leninism"), which is seen elsewhere as an orderly alternative to democratic messiness.
The rise of violently aggressive anti-democratic ideologies was one rebuttal of the end-of-history theory. Another was the global economic crisis, discrediting the so-called Washington consensus that had dominated world affairs since the early 1990s. Central bankers, it turned out, were not wise enough to eliminate financial panics. Although too much regulation could stifle growth, too little could open the door to reckless risk-taking.
George W. Bush's response to jihadi Islam—global democracy-building backed by American might—came to grief in the sands of Iraq. But a policy built on avoiding that failure, says Mrs. Clinton in the Atlantic, runs risks of its own: "Part of the challenge is that our government too often has a tendency to swing between these extremes" of intervention and non-intervention. She adds: "When you're down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, you're not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward." If Mr. Bush's porridge was too hot, Mr. Obama's is too cold.
But moderation is a means to ends, not an end in itself. So what would be the ends, the animating purposes of Mrs. Clinton's foreign policy? Her interview suggests, first, that we must take the fight to jihadi Islamism, which is inherently expansionist. In that connection, she says, she is thinking a lot about "containment, deterrence, and defeat." When unarmed diplomacy cannot succeed, she adds, we should not be afraid to back "the hard men with guns."
Second, we should drive a tough deal with Iran, or none at all. "I've always been in the camp," Mrs. Clinton says, "that held that they did not have a right to enrichment. Contrary to their claim, there is no such thing as a right to enrich."
Third, we should distinguish clearly between groups we can work with and those we can't. For example, Mrs. Clinton would exclude Hamas on the grounds that it is virulently anti-Semitic and dedicated to Israel's destruction. She does not believe that Hamas "should in any way be treated as a legitimate interlocutor." Her commitment to Israel's defense is unswerving, including a willingness to call the rise of European anti-Semitism by its rightful name.
Fourth, the U.S. should vigorously advance the cause of women's rights around the world, not only because justice demands it, but also because the empowerment of women promotes economic growth and social progress.
And finally, because many American values "also happen to be universal values," we should take pride in ourselves and make our case to the world. Today, Mrs. Clinton says, "we don't even tell our story very well." As president, clearly, she would do her best to change that.
Reply #557 on:
August 20, 2014, 06:48:05 AM »
meltdown? what are you kidding? the man's a genius
Reply #558 on:
August 20, 2014, 07:17:44 AM »
OTOH from one of my favorite "opinion" thinkers
Fareed Zakaria: Obama’s disciplined leadership is right for today
By Fareed Zakaria Opinion writer May 29
“Because of his unsure and indecisive leadership in the field of foreign policy, questions are being raised on all sides,” the writer declared, adding that the administration was “plagued by a Hamlet-like psychosis which seems to paralyze it every time decisive action is required.” Is the writer one of the many recent critics of Barack Obama’s foreign policy? Actually, it’s Richard Nixon, writing in 1961 about President John F. Kennedy. Criticizing presidents for weakness is a standard practice in Washington because the world is a messy place and, when bad things happen, Washington can be blamed for them. But to determine what the United States — and Obama — should be doing, we have to first understand the nature of the world and the dangers within it.
From 1947 until 1990, the United States faced a mortal threat, an enemy that was strategic, political, military and ideological. Washington had to keep together an alliance that faced up to the foe and persuaded countries in the middle not to give in. This meant that concerns about resolve and credibility were paramount. In this context, presidents had to continually reassure allies. This is why Dean Acheson is said to have remarked in exasperation about Europe’s persistent doubts about America’s resolve, “NATO is an alliance, not a psychiatrist’s couch!”
But the world today looks very different — far more peaceful and stable than at any point in decades and, by some measures, centuries. The United States faces no enemy anywhere on the scale of Soviet Russia. Its military spending is about that of the next 14 countries combined, most of which are treaty allies of Washington. The number of democracies around the world has grown by more than 50 percent in the past quarter-century. The countries that recently have been aggressive or acted as Washington’s adversaries are getting significant pushback. Russia has alienated Ukraine, Eastern Europe and Western Europe with its recent aggression, for which the short-term costs have grown and the long-term costs — energy diversification in Europe — have only begun to build. China has scared and angered almost all of its maritime neighbors, with each clamoring for greater U.S. involvement in Asia. Even a regional foe such as Iran has found that the costs of its aggressive foreign policy have mounted. In 2006, Iran’s favorability rating in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia was in the 75 percent to 85 percent range, according to Zogby Research. By 2012, it had fallen to about 30 percent.
In this context, what is needed from Washington is not a heroic exertion of American military power but rather a sustained effort to engage with allies, isolate enemies, support free markets and democratic values and push these positive trends forward. The Obama administration is, in fact, deeply internationalist — building on alliances in Europe and Asia, working with institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations, isolating adversaries and strengthening the global order that has proved so beneficial to the United States and the world since 1945.
The administration has fought al-Qaeda and its allies ferociously. But it has been disciplined about the use of force, and understandably so. An America that exaggerates threats, overreacts to problems and intervenes unilaterally would produce the very damage to its credibility that people are worried about. After all, just six years ago, the United States’ closest allies were distancing themselves from Washington because it was seen as aggressive, expansionist and militaristic. Iran was popular in the Middle East in 2006 because it was seen as standing up to an imperialist America that had invaded and occupied an Arab country. And nothing damaged U.S. credibility in the Cold War more than Vietnam
my second post after Gms first post here of the day
Reply #559 on:
August 20, 2014, 07:23:14 AM »
From Krauthammer who for reasons unclear to me gives Hillary credit for being right and admits only her motives may be questioned
Re: US Foreign Policy
Reply #560 on:
August 20, 2014, 07:25:38 AM »
Dr. K is a good guy, but sometimes I wonder what he's thinking...
Re: US Foreign Policy
Reply #561 on:
August 20, 2014, 09:09:01 AM »
On the point in question, her interview is not without merit.
The interview was posted here; if we don't watch out any and all of our candidates will not be able to handle her on this issue.
In a related vein, how would Cruz, or Paul, or ? handle the following?
Departure Interview with Gen. Flynn
Reply #562 on:
August 21, 2014, 12:22:50 AM »
Re: Departure Interview with Gen. Flynn
Reply #563 on:
August 21, 2014, 12:34:04 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on August 21, 2014, 12:22:50 AM
Sounds like a good guy. Sorry he's leaving, but I doubt the buffoons at the white house listened anyway.
Pay no attention to the declaration of war
Reply #564 on:
August 21, 2014, 05:33:15 PM »
I'm pretty sure the IS thinks it represents a religion. Funny enough, they cite key religious texts to support their actions.
The Neo NeoCons
Reply #565 on:
August 26, 2014, 02:39:52 PM »
ISIS makes liberals rediscover the necessity of hard power.
Aug. 25, 2014 7:22 p.m. ET
So now liberals want the U.S. to bomb Iraq, and maybe Syria as well, to stop and defeat ISIS, the vilest terror group of all time. Where, one might ask, were these neo-neocons a couple of years ago, when stopping ISIS in its infancy might have spared us the current catastrophe?
Oh, right, they were dining at the table of establishment respectability, drinking from the fountain of opportunistic punditry, hissing at the sound of the names Wolfowitz, Cheney, Libby and Perle.
And, always, rhapsodizing to the music of Barack Obama.
Not because he is the most egregious offender, but only because he's so utterly the type, it's worth turning to the work of George Packer, a writer for the New Yorker. Over the years Mr. Packer has been of this or that mind about Iraq. Yet he has always managed to remain at the dead center of conventional wisdom. Think of him as the bubble, intellectually speaking, in the spirit level of American opinion journalism.
Thus Mr. Packer was for the war when it began in 2003, although "just barely," as he later explained himself. In April 2005 he wrote that the "Iraq war was always winnable" and "still is"—a judgment that would have seemed prescient in the wake of the surge. But by then he had already disavowed his own foresight, saying, when he was in full mea culpa mode, that the line was "the single most doubtful" thing he had written in his acclaimed book "The Assassins' Gate."
Then the surge began to work, a reality the newly empowered Democrats in Congress were keen to dismiss. (Remember Hillary Clinton lecturing David Petraeus that his progress report required "a willing suspension of disbelief"?) "The inadequacy of the surge is already clear, if one honestly assesses the daily lives of Iraqis," wrote Mr. Packer in September 2007. The title of his essay was "Planning for Defeat."
Next, Mr. Packer pronounced himself bored with it all. "By the fall of 2007, my last remaining Iraqi friend in Baghdad had left," he wrote a few years later. "Once he was gone, my connection to the country and the war began to thin, even as the terror diminished. I missed the improvement that came with the surge, and so, in my nervous system, I never quite registered it." This was Mr. Packer in Robert Graves mode, bidding Good-Bye to All That.
And then came Mr. Obama. Was ever a political love more pure than what Mr. Packer expressed for the commander in chief? Mr. Obama, he wrote in 2012, was "more like J.F.K. than any other president." Or was T.R. the better comparison? "On foreign policy, Obama has talked softly and carried a big stick." He had "devastated the top ranks of Al Qaeda." On Iran, he had done a "masterful job." On Syria, "the Administration was too slow in isolating Assad, but no one has made a case for intervention that has a plausibly good outcome."
As for Iraq, Mr. Obama withdrew "after eight years of war in a way that left the U.S. with almost no influence—but he could have tried to force matters with the Iraqis and left behind far more bitterness."
Elsewhere, Mr. Packer has written that "American wars in Muslim countries created some extremists and inflamed many more, while producing a security vacuum that allowed them to wreak mayhem." This is the idea, central to the Obama administration's vision of the world, that wisdom often lies in inaction, that U.S. intervention only makes whatever we're intervening in worse.
It's a deep—a very deep—thought. And then along came ISIS.
In the current issue of the New Yorker, Mr. Packer has an essay titled "The Common Enemy," which paints ISIS in especially terrifying colors: The Islamic State's project is "totalitarian." Its ideology is "expansionist as well as eliminationist." It has "many hundreds of fighters holding European or American passports [who] will eventually return home with training, skills, and the arrogance of battlefield victory." It threatened a religious minority with "imminent genocide." Its ambitions will not "remain confined to the boundaries of the Tigris and the Euphrates." The administration's usual counterterrorism tool, the drone strike, is "barely relevant against the Islamic State's thousands of ground troops."
"Pay attention to other people's nightmares," he concludes, "because they might be contagious."
Correcto-mundo. Which brings us back to the questions confronting the Bush administration on Sept. 12, 2001. Are we going to fight terrorists over there—or are we going to wait for them to come here? Do we choose to confront terrorism by means of war—or as a criminal justice issue? Can we assume the cancer in the Middle East won't spread so we can "pivot" to Asia and do some more "nation-building at home"? Can we win with a light-footprint approach against a heavy-footprint enemy?
Say what you will about George W. Bush: He got every one of these questions right while Mr. Obama got every one of them wrong. It's a truth that may at last be dawning on the likes of Mr. Packer and the other neo-neocons, not that I expect them ever to admit it.
Re: (US) Foreign Policy - Disproportionate Response
Reply #566 on:
August 28, 2014, 10:20:40 AM »
Liberals and anti-Israelis often admit Israel is being bombed and attacked but blame or accuse Israel of making a disproportionate response. It seems to me this is an entire topic in itself, which we should address regarding US foreign policy.
Isn't disproportionate response the essence of deterrence and deterrence is the essence of national security.
Denying the right to do that is put our national security at risk. (And same obviously for Israel)
Looking it up on Google I see wikipedia calls it "Massive retaliation"
and Foreign Policy magazine calls it "An eye for a tooth":
Deterrence is tough to achieve against the suicide bomber types but I think we have learned that leadership (such as OBL) value their own live, just not those of the rank and file.
Current example. I.S. is threatening to behead another journalist if US does not end air strikes. Shouldn't it be the other way around. You behead one American and you set your own mission back by years.
My daily 2 cents
Reply #567 on:
August 28, 2014, 10:34:09 AM »
Haven't the Israelis proved the only thing the radicals understand is force?
I understand the libs think we just continue to be NICE for decades the radicals or their offspring will eventually learn the life of the love generation. That violence begets violence and Netanyahu's methods only fosters more hate and violence propagating the endless cycle.
While we dither not only did ISIS solidify but Iran is closer to nuclear weapons. If one thinks ISIS is a grave threat with small arms and a few armored vehicles just imagine Iran with nucs.
But don't fear. Hillary will be tough.
And Rand who won't be has no chance of election - thank God.
US Interventionists abetted the rise of ISIS
Reply #568 on:
August 28, 2014, 01:52:25 PM »
How U.S. Interventionists Abetted the Rise of ISIS
Our Middle Eastern policy is unhinged, flailing about to see who to act against next, with little regard to consequences.
By Rand Paul
Aug. 27, 2014 6:35 p.m. ET
As the murderous, terrorist Islamic State continues to threaten Iraq, the region and potentially the United States, it is vitally important that we examine how this problem arose. Any actions we take today must be informed by what we've already done in the past, and how effective our actions have been.
Shooting first and asking questions later has never been a good foreign policy. The past year has been a perfect example.
In September President Obama and many in Washington were eager for a U.S. intervention in Syria to assist the rebel groups fighting President Bashar Assad's government. Arguing against military strikes, I wrote that "Bashar Assad is clearly not an American ally. But does his ouster encourage stability in the Middle East, or would his ouster actually encourage instability?"
The administration's goal has been to degrade Assad's power, forcing him to negotiate with the rebels. But degrading Assad's military capacity also degrades his ability to fend off the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Assad's government recently bombed the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS in Raqqa, Syria.
To interventionists like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, we would caution that arming the Islamic rebels in Syria created a haven for the Islamic State. We are lucky Mrs. Clinton didn't get her way and the Obama administration did not bring about regime change in Syria. That new regime might well be ISIS.
This is not to say the U.S. should ally with Assad. But we should recognize how regime change in Syria could have helped and emboldened the Islamic State, and recognize that those now calling for war against ISIS are still calling for arms to factions allied with ISIS in the Syrian civil war. We should realize that the interventionists are calling for Islamic rebels to win in Syria and for the same Islamic rebels to lose in Iraq. While no one in the West supports Assad, replacing him with ISIS would be a disaster.
Our Middle Eastern policy is unhinged, flailing about to see who to act against next, with little thought to the consequences. This is not a foreign policy.
Those who say we should have done more to arm the Syrian rebel groups have it backward. Mrs. Clinton was also eager to shoot first in Syria before asking some important questions. Her successor John Kerry was no better, calling the failure to strike Syria a "Munich moment."
Some now speculate Mr. Kerry and the administration might have to walk back or at least mute their critiques of Assad in the interest of defeating the Islamic State.
A reasonable degree of foresight should be a prerequisite for holding high office. So should basic hindsight. This administration has neither.
But the same is true of hawkish members of my own party. Some said it would be "catastrophic" if we failed to strike Syria. What they were advocating for then—striking down Assad's regime—would have made our current situation even worse, as it would have eliminated the only regional counterweight to the ISIS threat.
Our so-called foreign policy experts are failing us miserably. The Obama administration's feckless veering is making it worse. It seems the only thing both sides of this flawed debate agree on is that "something" must be done. It is the only thing they ever agree on.
But the problem is, we did do something. We aided those who've contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. The CIA delivered arms and other equipment to Syrian rebels, strengthening the side of the ISIS jihadists. Some even traveled to Syria from America to give moral and material support to these rebels even though there had been multiple reports some were allied with al Qaeda.
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the London newspaper, the Independent, recently reported something disturbing about these rebel groups in Syria. In his new book, "The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising," Mr. Cockburn writes that he traveled to southeast Turkey earlier in the year where "a source told me that 'without exception' they all expressed enthusiasm for the 9/11 attacks and hoped the same thing would happen in Europe as well as the U.S." It's safe to say these rebels are probably not friends of the United States.
"If American interests are at stake," I said in September, "then it is incumbent upon those advocating for military action to convince Congress and the American people of that threat. Too often, the debate begins and ends with an assertion that our national interest is at stake without any evidence of that assertion. The burden of proof lies with those who wish to engage in war."
Those wanting a U.S. war in Syria could not clearly show a U.S. national interest then, and they have been proven foolish now. A more realistic foreign policy would recognize that there are evil people and tyrannical regimes in this world, but also that America cannot police or solve every problem across the globe. Only after recognizing the practical limits of our foreign policy can we pursue policies that are in the best interest of the U.S.
The Islamic State represents a threat that should be taken seriously. But we should also recall how recent foreign-policy decisions have helped these extremists so that we don't make the same mistake of potentially aiding our enemies again.
Mr. Paul, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Kentucky.
I disagree with a lot/most of this, but it presents some challenging questions
Reply #569 on:
August 28, 2014, 03:37:04 PM »
Losing the War On Terror Is Winning Us The World
Recently I drew a lot of flak for a blog I wrote in which I called our allied nations of GWOT, the “Western Empire,” and mentioned that our imminent action on Syria to deal with the Islamic State threat may be one of our own successfully developed and executed plans. I said that we would take what is ours.
I’m going to use just one of the examples of the messages I got, but please don’t anybody think I am berating or disrespecting this man’s opinion, and don’t let it deter you from further commenting. This is for the sake of discussion, so feel free to share your ideas as well.
murphySo this commentor failed to realize that I am not ignorant of the history of western colonialism, I was actually referring to it in the present tense. You’re fooling yourself if you think that colonialism is nothing more than a history subject, which I hope to touch on in this rant.
Also, he mentions that ISIS needs to be destroyed, and the thought of people cheering on Western colonialism is stupid and disappointing. What he’s not understanding is that ISIS, or whatever the name will continue evolving to, is an ideology that will never be wiped out. What’s more, is that the Islamic State’s continued existence of horribleness benefits us by legitimizing our perpetual war. Why wipe them out and leave the resource rich battlefield when we can practice containment? Why create a cure when the money is in the treatment?
If you’re a combat veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, you’ve probably battled with the question, “WTF are we doing here?” I know I have. I started off as a hard charging young Republican off to fight for Toby Kieth’s idea of a free America. Well balls-deep into my second extended deployment, I sat high on the side of a bare rocky mountain staring across the waddi at another bare hillside in the tribal areas of Eastern Afghanistan. I repeatedly asked myself how it could be possible that the key to keeping the free world free was me sitting in a such a desolate part of the world where the local villagers don’t care what’s going on two miles down the river, let alone the goings-on in America. I still killed with the same ferocity because I was born a warrior, and whether the wars were justified or not, the people we were targeting were terrible human beings. However, my belief in the cause had changed.
Then I got out and went to college, and those feelings of betrayal and disenfranchisement grew. No longer was I just living in my little microcosm of just trying to keep my guys alive. I could afford to look at the bigger picture, and I didn’t like what I saw. “Did we really lose the war?” I asked myself. Was I really just a puppet being manipulated for a corrupt, corporation controlled government? Was I the real terrorist? I battled these doubts for years, and when someone would thank me for my service, I would respond graciously, but I wanted to say, “For what? Ruining the economy? Making us more enemies?”
Like many veterans, I was lost. I had no closure, and I just wanted to know what it was all for. I researched for years. Reading the Long War Journal on a daily basis and watching and reading between the lines of anything I could get my hands on concerning GWOT. At first it didn’t make sense. Why would we be giving Pakistan billions of dollars if we know that the ISI is directly funding the Haqqani Network and other terror groups that are fighting us in Afghanistan and attacking India? Why would we be arming and funding al-Qaeda in Libya when they were our sworn enemies in Iraq? Well it’s because we’ve wanted strongman Gaddafi gone, and now he is.
Currently, Libya is an extremist war zone shaping up to be the next Syria. Egypt and UAE just launched airstrikes against Islamist militias in the region in the name of their own security without notifying the US, and Washington is pissed. That’s our pot, and we need it to boil a little longer before we step in to stabilize it. You know, the freedom we keep fighting for.
Look at Syria. The same thing was attempted. A strongman we branded as a dictator and wanted removed, Assad, and coincidentally a hoard (Marc: sic ) of savage Salafists trying to destroy him in the name of Islam and Sharia law. Unlike Libya however, Assad is hanging in there. Watching repeated combat videos, I can’t help but cheer for the man. He represents the least terrible armed entity in the nation. Unfortunately for him, his reign is scheduled for termination by the West, and he will be removed. So as much as I love to see him continuing to hold out, I support his ouster and our guaranteed follow-on mission of battling the Islamist militias in the name of Syrian freedom and security. We will have Syria.
I don’t want to get into too many conspiracy theories, but have you heard the one about al Qaeda being created by the West? I don’t know if that’s true or not, I don’t have the evidence, and if I did I might think it’s just as likely to be misinformation. That’s the world we live in. However, humor that idea for a minute. I think it would be impossible for the CIA to directly control al-Qaeda. If anything, I picture it more like when African villagers make a bunch of large plains animals stampede through a mine field to clear it. Although the people are not directly in control of the escaping animals, they are still using them to achieve their desired effect, all while the animals think they are operating on their own accord.
Considering these Islamists are so extreme in their beliefs that they are willing to execute children, it’s not hard to believe that they’re also not the most skeptical, critical thinkers concerning where their orders are coming from, especially when your leader claims to be a direct descendant of Muhammad, and the word of God. Additionally, these groups need funding and supplies, which makes them susceptible to owed favors and outside influence.
Even if this were true, it doesn’t change the fact that they do pose a serious threat to everybody. Even if they were a creation of the West, it doesn’t change the fact that tens of thousands of Muslims are joining their ranks to be martyred or kill for the ideals of the group. They are very very real, and they are very very bad people. So I guess it’s lucky for us that we have the perfect enemy. A foe so vile, that everyone in the world supports their demise, and therefore gives us justification to be in these resource rich areas all while keeping any other entities that may want the resources far from them. It’s like having a vicious dog to guard your yard. He will attack everyone, including you, but you know how to manipulate and operate around it by throwing the occasional bone, creating a diversion, or kicking its ass. Everyone else just keeps their distance. The region becomes a no-man’s land unless you are the powerful American military or that of her allies.
So back to the commentor. He called my piece “stupid and disappointing coming from a journalistic blog.” Is everyone aware of the current state of so-called journalism? The news media is a propaganda mill fighting over table scraps that are nothing more than generic, sterilized talking points. As far as “disappointing” goes… I think what’s truly disappointing is that nobody seems to be catching on to what our foreign policy is really about. It’s not coincidence that the same thing is happening across the world. We’re not fighting terrorists for the sake of other nations’ freedom. We didn’t fail in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, etc… We are the most powerful nation on Earth. The destabilization of the region was the intended consequence, and we (US backed Western nations) are the benefactors that are now allowed further influence and occupation in the region. As much as you and others want world peace (like that’s a thing or even a possibility), the world has just gotten too small, populations too large, while the resources are finite. We are not at war with Islam or terrorism… we are in an ongoing and rapidly escalating proxy war for resources with China and Russia. There is no way we can afford not to control as much as we can for the sake of appeasing ignorant hypocrites that think the world can be all hugs and rainbows, a notion they learned during a privileged lifetime of opportunity afforded to them by our underhanded neo-colonialistc ways.
The reality of it, is that the world is a cold place, and human beings are inherently violent conquerors. We are a superpower that must take equally super and often ruthless measures to maintain our “super” status, all while allowing clueless, morally superior pacifists to bad mouth the institution that has ensured that the biggest obstacles they face in life are cellular contracts and road construction delays. They have no clue, and therefore no appreciation, that their government and its allies are slitting throats for them to maintain their comfortable way of life.
I’m not a sociopath, and I’m not a shill for the government. In fact, I think the erosion of the Constitution and its amendments here at home is appalling. However, if you think our foreign policy has been a failure, then you’re not seeing it for what it really is… an ingenious masterpiece.
Colonialism is as alive and well as it has ever been, it is just done in the dark. Powerful nations will take what they need, that is what keeps them in power.
So call me delusional, a war-monger, or whatever you want, but for my brothers and sisters in arms, from every nation that has fought side by side with us in the Global War On Terror, I am claiming victory for the Western Empire.
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