With the Middle-East seemingly unravelling, the hawks, interventionists, and just plain "engagers" are coming out of the woodwork to indict President Obama's foreign policy vision, which was to extricate the United States from conflicts around the Middle-East and southwestern Asia; use drones to do the "dirty work" in such countries as Afghanistan, Pakistan, & Yemen; and pivot the focus of U.S. foreign policy to east Asia.
And with regard to the Iraqi government's unwillingness to conclude a security deal with the United States - which would've kept a contingent of U.S. troops in Iraq longer - these critics argue the Obama Administration could've gotten such a deal... if it had had the necessary resolve.
(I suspect that will be one of those historical questions which will long be debated.)
This WASHINGTON POST column encapsulates the central arguments of the "engagers"...
Question: One seriously doubts President Obama has the stomach to intervene in a substantial fashion in Iraq. Maybe some drone strikes, one supposes.
But could you imagine ANY future president delivering a speech making the case for renewed U.S. military intervention in Iraq (or somewhere similar)... and actually PERSUADING a substantial majority of the American people?
Meanwhile, the ultimate irony of the current situation: Iraq becoming the instrument for bringing Iran and the United States together.
The WALL STREET JOURNAL reported Sunday the United States was preparing to open talks with Iran about ways to deal with the Islamist Sunni insurgency. Even U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on CBS's "Face the Nation" the United States needed Iran's involvement to head-off a government implosion in Baghdad.
I recall my conversations with the late General Bill Odom, former director of the National Security Agency of the United States, that sooner or later the United States and Iran would be drawn together - mullahs or no - given the two countries' common interests. Not that the "courtship" won't be awkward.
Consider this column from The GUARDIAN's Ian Black...
Minimalists vs Engagers. The article backs the engager side. I back the minimalist side. Neither is going to give us the results we want, but one bankrupts our nation, gets our people killed, and the other says, this is a long running civil war [like the Hatfields and McCoys] between the various religious factions in the Middle East.
We are NOT wanted there, they wanted us out, and Obama gave them what they requested. There will always be terrorist threats, unless we go in and take over all those nations killing all the Muslims. THAT is NOT an option. So given the fact those folks hate each other, hate us, and want to continue to fight THEIR own civil war, we should just stay out of it.
I don't see Europe, Russia, or China sticking their noses into this, and neither should we.
No nation-building overseas; we need to start rebuilding OUR nation.
Biden, the minimalist was correct; Hillary the engager was wrong.
Mon, Jun 16, 2014 8:25am
One seriously doubts President Obama has the stomach to intervene in a substantial fashion in Iraq. Maybe some drone strikes, one supposes.
I don't think anyone wants one single U.S. soldier "on the ground" in Iraq for many different reasons...most Americans do not want one more single American to die for that country if they (the Iraqis) aren't willing to fight for their own country.
None of the main countries in this world supports terrorists... so wouldn't a spectacular drone campaign be a win-win for Iraq, Americam and the world? A successful drone campaign would/should highlight our country's military technology/power and might even take away some of the Iranian influence the Iraqis are now pursuing.
Mon, Jun 16, 2014 8:29am
I don't think anyone wants one single U.S. soldier "on the ground" in Iraq...except for McCain, politicians like him, and the military-industrial complex.
Mon, Jun 16, 2014 9:16am
Imagine if the U.S. and its ego didn't feel the need to bring democracy to all the places that don't want it, and stopped sending aid and putting troops there. In a year, the saved monies would allow us to rebuild all the bridges and roads in need.
Mon, Jun 16, 2014 9:27am
As the NYT adds..."the latest attack, if proved, would also raise the specter of the war in Iraq turning genocidal, particularly because the insurgents boasted that their victims were all Shiites. There were also fears that it could usher in a series of reprisal killings of Shiites and Sunnis, like those seen in the Iraq war in 2005-7."
The current state of affairs in Iraq worries me. It should worry everyone who cares about the future of our country and Western civilization. The fears of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers' generations are being fulfilled by a different enemy.
World War II had spread as Germany and Japan sought to expand territory by conquering all nations in sight. With the loss of many lives, we stopped their expansion. By the end of the 1940’s, Western leaders such as Churchill were warning that the Communists in Russia were striving to be the next Germany and overwhelm every nation in sight. In hindsight, he was wrong. Russia was paranoid (for good reason) and sought a buffer, an “Iron Curtain” to protect Russia from a third German assault.
Asia appeared to offer a clear example of Communism being on the move for world domination. Thus, we were told Communism must be fought wherever it appeared. Again, in hindsight, it appears to have only been a popular reaction to colonialism and poverty. The Koreans were not intent on invading New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S. Neither were the Chinese. Truman was correct; MacArthur was wrong.
Now we face a new enemy: An enemy focused not on an economic theory but a religion. A religion that considers forgiveness and forgetting to be sinful. This is the enemy the leaders of the 40’s and 50’s feared. This enemy has proven its hatred of the West by attacking N.Y.C. and Washington, D.C. They have attacked the United Kingdom and Spain. They have gone from being a rebellious terrorist force to being the (almost) rulers of nations. They obtained this status by waiting for our administration’s short attention span to move on to a new crisis dujour.
They know we have no stomach for new fighting. But we are not being given a choice. We can fight them in Syria and Iraq or we can wait and fight them in the U.S. and U.K. But we will be fighting them. Do I want to send troops to Iraq? No, primarily because I believe we would lose. But we must prepare for a new world war. A war that will be fought in our country.
Mon, Jun 16, 2014 12:02pm
There is a way out... And that is to realize as the Brits did, that they could no longer dominate the world, and find allies that can...
China is our partner. Like it our not, simply for size alone. Like Britain of old and the U.S., neither of us could win against the other, so we might as well be friends....
Reaching forward to the next century, Obama should ask the Chinese to intervene with sufficient manpower.... They are deemed neutral, and they, as a civilized nation, also have to deal with the problems mentioned above by JimH. Conservatives...
It is funny how people can readily see the menace when it invades and infects other nations, but cannot see it right before their very eyes, when it is sponsored and paid for by multi-national corporations....
But conservatism - or should I say, use of conservatism to exert oneself over others - almost destroyed England after Charles II... under Cromwell... They will always be around and will always need to be fought... (just as communism destroyed Russia for the same reason....)
There will be those hawks (employees of the industrial security complex which makes up a huge majority of Washington D.C. natives, which explains the Washington Post's editorial take) who think we should take it on instead of the Chinese...
But do the rest of us really care? We don't need Mid-East oil anymore... Aren't we tired of eating sand, and shouldn't we be the ones investing in our own economy and infrastructure, as have the Chinese these past 14 years?
Handing this to the Chinese, is smart, brilliant, and should build a bond between us equal to that of Europe and us now...
Mon, Jun 16, 2014 1:26pm
Um, China isn't exactly a trusted U.S. ally... China seems to be growing closer to Iran and Russia these days.
But I do agree that we should NOT send any troops into Iraq to take out ISIS for the Iraqis... apparently several hundred Marines are on the way to assist in the evacuation of the $2 Billion U.S. Embassy in Baghdad (I read that 5,500 people work there...is this true?) Are they going to hand this new embassy over to ISIS or bomb/destroy it before leaving? My guess is "we" are handing it over...to a group worse than A-Q and a group that promised to visit N.Y.C. ASAP.
JimH: If our Southern border continues to "leak" we won't even have a war against our perceived world enemies... ever read of the Trojan Horse?
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 16, 2014 1:37pm
JimH: Excellent points. I believe the issue, possibly for both you and me, is we haven't fought a war to win it completely since 1945.
That is the only way to fight a war, fight it to win. That would mean going into Iraq and probably Iran right behind it, and conquer those nations as we with our allies did with Germany, Italy, and Japan. Then have NATO set up a new government for each nation, Marshall Plan 2014.
Since we won't do that, I see no reason to bother getting our men/women killed or wasting more Trillions of dollars in an exercise in futility.
I totally agree with you, radical Islamic/Muslims will eventually end up being fought here, so I would prefer to fight them over there. Sadly, we are not the nation we were in 1945, and our enemies know it. So as you said, we'll eventually end up fighting that war in the U.S.
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 16, 2014 1:40pm
EarlGrey: Excellent point, Trojan Horse indeed.
So YES, close our borders and deport illegals; the DEMS won't like this as those are future DEM voters, but it needs to be done, sadly.
We need to retake the U.S. for LEGAL Americans.
Mon, Jun 16, 2014 2:27pm
This is for Earl... It seems odd that all parties on this page have an extreme dislike for McCain and Graham... But I've always thought Americans to have a healthy dislike for groveling opportunists....
Today McCain said this.....
"anyone who declared the withdrawal from Iraq a success should be canned,"
In 2010... McCain said this......
"Last American troops leave Iraq... I think President Bush deserves some credit for the victory.:"
Another interesting factor is that in Syria over the past year, the Kurds beat back ISIS in all conflicts...
Mon, Jun 16, 2014 9:08pm
kavips: I think we all agree on McCain...it would be great to replace that ancient pro-war neocon. Now if only all sides could agree to work together on other topics we all agree on...like ending Common Core and ending NSA's spying on private American citizens. Ahh the things that could be accomplished by working together on issues we (from all spectrums of political ideology) agree on...that would petrify the politicians.
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jun 17, 2014 12:07am
EarlGrey: I think you may be on to something. Well said.
Tue, Jun 17, 2014 2:30am
Ending Common Core would be good.. There is a bill in the General Assembly, HB 334, which - if passed - would forever change education for the worst in Delaware... It would switch Delaware over to the Smarter Balanced Assessments, as other states are passing rules to bail out of the standardized tests...
The prime problem is they are very poorly crafted tests which encourage guessing which defeats the whole purpose of having them....
As for the NSA, ironically you mentioned it, for I just heard that the building in Utah which Snowden disclosed has over 50,000 servers all interconnected and holds between 7-9 exabytes of data.... They can download the whole internet... and do...
If you remember last September when it opened, they said they had problems and it would open late... Apparently, when they tested it that first time, it was so powerful it shut down two supercomputer internet hubs, and would have shut down the entire internet if they hadn't aborted the test....
This opens the question of how is it arranged? My guess it would be by person, for that would make the most sense. They tap on Mike of Delaware and have access to all he's done, all phones and IP's associated with him, and to all his voice calls as well... They could then go down to Pizza...
With that vast knowledge, they could predict Mike's behavior. To the point that they could arrest him before his crime that they think he's about to commit, because he is on the algorithm for violence and destruction. Sadly, there is no way to prove otherwise that you weren't about to commit a crime, if they say so...
The NSA is too big. It needs to be shut down. Right now, they have too few people to be dangerous. Unless they think you are dangerous, then they can haul you away without trial.....
But in the wrong hands, it is scary stuff... Coupled with the ability to haul you away without trial... and the ability now after the Boston bomber, to override Posse Comitas, and engage the civilian population on the authority of the commander in charge....
We are very close to a East German police state....
Tue, Jun 17, 2014 7:04am
Kavips is making a LOT of sense here. The NSA MUST be stopped.
As far as Iraq, containment may be the best solution. How you achieve that at this point, I don't know. I think Mr. Obama should start by consulting God. Fat chance of that, of course.
Tue, Jun 17, 2014 8:58am
"We are very close to a East German police state...."
Yep...and that's why Tea Party, Republicans, Democrats, Progressives, Libertarians, Independents, Greens, etc. need to unite and let our voices be heard!
They have so much information to sift through...that at this point in time it actually makes the job of finding "bad guys" more difficult...and it's SPYING on everyday CITIZENS without warrant. What happened to our Fourth Amendment rights? Maybe they should follow the laws of our country and get warrants for a wire-tap like they used to when someone was suspected of doing wrong...we are headed straight for the Minority Report and thought-crimes will be prosecuted.
Tue, Jun 17, 2014 9:02am
...can the Governor of Utah cut the water supply to the NSA site? Their servers would melt ;)
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jun 17, 2014 10:21am
Let me make it unanimous, I agree with Kavips, Mrpizza, and EarlGrey that the NSA must be stopped and yes, as Kavips said, we are very close to an East German police state.
I like EarlGrey's suggestion for the Utah Governor, cut off the water supply to the NSA site. Very creative, yet low tech, and not expensive to do.
Tue, Jun 17, 2014 8:47pm
Just remember, it was ole Mr. Pizza who first warned you about the police state.
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