Category Archives: War

Why President Trump Has Struggled To Interest Voters In Ending America’s Futile Wars

Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East, War

“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost most Americans nothing.” says The Economist. Relatively few Americans have been personally touched. “That is why they continue.”

For once, the left-liberal magazine credits President Trump for trying to bring an end to what are “unproductive conflicts” [to put it mildly].

… [the] country has been remarkably unscathed by two decades at war. Iraq and Afghanistan vets represent much less than 1% of the population. America lost eight times as many soldiers in Vietnam, in less than half the time, when its population was two-thirds the current size. The number of recent wounded is correspondingly modest and most have been looked after with immense skill and no expense spared, as is right. Otherwise, few Americans have been touched by the conflicts at all.
… the wars have been funded by debt. Most Americans have had little reason to think their country is even at war. And lucky them because war is hell. But this disconnect helps explain why the country’s civil-military relations are as distant as they are. It also helps explain how America came to be locked in such long and largely unproductive conflicts in the first place. Its voters started to reckon with the rights and wrongs of the Vietnam war—then demand accountability for it—only after they felt its sting. By contrast Donald Trump, who almost alone among national politicians decries the latest conflicts, has struggled to interest voters in them—or indeed end them.

Though mostly wrong on the details, the president raises an important question of the long wars. What have they achieved? After thanking Mr Butler and Mr Dwyer for their service on Veterans Day (a ritual neither wounded man greatly enjoys, incidentally), their well-wishers might want to ponder that.?

MORE.

* Image courtesy The Economist.

Turkey’s Erdogan: Now Here Is A True Evil Aggressor

Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Middle East, War

“American leaders have been clueless about Recep Tayyip Erdogan. George W. Bush facilitated his becoming prime minister. Barack Obama proudly called him a friend. Donald Trump invited the invasion of Syria. The Department of Defense deludes itself into thinking the NATO ally of old one day will return. The State Department relies on its traditional instinct to appease”:

Warns Daniel Pipes:

Foreign policy poses the other great danger. Abducting dissident Turkish citizens, drilling in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, and invading a neighbor point to an arrogance that, given Erdogan’s isolated position, leaves him highly exposed. Some foreign misadventure – perhaps the Syrian one – could lead to his political demise as well as that of the AKP.

But why no mention of the massacre and ethnic cleansing of the Kurds? Come to think of it, Erdogan’s “foreign misadventures” are reminiscent of another super power. Hmmm.

Syrians, Kurdish, Turkish Realignment: Regional Conflicts Require Regional Solutions

America, Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Middle East, Military, War

The Syrian, Kurdish, Turkish realignment is not “a moment of geopolitical whiplash.” But rather, a return—we hope—to regional politics in the Middle East.

America thinks that it must and can be a decisive force for good in the Middle East. However, the region’s players march to their own drumbeat. Always have.

in fact, the move had been in the works for more than a year. Fearing U.S. abandonment, the Kurds opened a back channel to the Syrian government and the Russians in 2018, and those talks ramped up significantly in recent weeks, American, Kurdish and Russian officials told The Associated Press.

[Via AP]

In Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East 1789-1923, Efraim and Inari Karsh marshal prodigious scholarship to show that, “Twentieth-century Middle Eastern history is essentially the culmination of long-standing indigenous trends, passions, and patterns of behavior rather than an externally imposed dictate.” The trend continues.

Keep it regional. The Kurds are safest aligning with regional power players against Turkey.

* Image courtesy of VOA.

POTUS On Heartbreak At The Dover Air Force Base

Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Military, War

President Trump spoke movingly and poignantly today about comforting families waiting on the bodies of their dead boys at the Dover Air Force Base. POTUS mentioned Eisenhower’s prophetic warning against the power of the military-industrial-complex to launch and sustain wars.

In 2013, I wrote about the achingly beautiful ceremonies at Dover:

Watch this ceremony at the Dover Air Force Base. Soldiers receive the coffined body of a slain comrade on its arrival in Dover. They handle it with exquisite care, hands clad in white gloves. What a stark, pathos-filled, sad ceremony, every move so tender and respectful.

Yes, “every move so tender and respectful.”
And every death so futile.