We almost certainly know who will dominate in our absence, and we know their hostile intent.
One of the primary problems with our endless debates over (seemingly) endless American conflicts with jihadists overseas is that we rarely go back to first principles. We rarely take a step back and accurately define our strategic and tactical challenge. We don’t do this in debates between pundits, and we don’t do it in public arguments. Instead, all too often we resort to sloganeering and sniping, with serious pieces like those of my colleagues Andy McCarthy and Michael Brendan Dougherty (who disagree, by the way, with my counsel to stay in Syria) the welcome exceptions to the dreary rule.
Moreover, there is a distressing tendency to sweep together the last several Republican and Democratic administrations as if they’re all part of the same foreign-policy establishment that tries to do the same things the same way and then falls prey to the same temptations to turn to American military force as a first resort in the face of persistent Middle Eastern challenges. In reality, however, different approaches have confronted a series of difficult realities, and those realities have necessitated military intervention.
Let’s analyze our challenge as clearly and concisely as we can.
First, there exists a jihadist enemy of our nation and civilization that doesn’t just seek to harm our national interests, it actively seeks to kill as many Americans as possible, as publicly as possible — with the goal of so thoroughly destabilizing and demoralizing our nation that we make room for the emergence of a new jihadist power.
Second, this enemy exists not because of immediate and recent American actions (though it can certainly use some of those actions to recruit new followers) but because of an ancient, potent systematic theology. Never forget that one of the grievances Osama bin Laden listed as justifying his attack on America was the Christian Spanish reconquest of Muslim Spain. That event occurred almost 300 years before the American founding.
Third, while it is difficult to predict any given terrorist attack, this much we can say — when terrorists obtain safe havens, they become dramatically more dangerous. The creation of a safe haven escalates the threat and renders serious attacks a near-inevitability.
Fourth, for reasons too obvious to outline, terrorist safe havens are always in nations and locations that are either hostile to the United States or in a state of fractured chaos. Terrorist cells may operate in places like France, but a true safe haven cannot thrive in functioning, strong allied territory.
Finally — and this is critically important — the national obligation of self-defense is permanent. No functioning government that abdicates its duty to protect its citizens from hostile attack can remain legitimate. Preferably self-defense is maintained by deterrence. But when deterrence fails, a failure to engage the enemy doesn’t bring peace, it enables the enemy to kill your people.
Read more at the NR link.
There are no consistent, central guiding principles to any of Trump’s actions. He just does things in an impulsive, inconsistent, reactionary fashion. The result is growing geopolitical uncertainty and instability. He is making the world a much more dangerous place.
Note to Donald: Russia did not invade Afghanistan to “fight terrorism”. Russia invaded Afghanistan in support of a communist faction that had taken control of Afghanistan’s government by way of a military coup, and then summarily executed thousands of political prisoners and massacred opposing civilian populations.
@Deplorable Me: We had no business in the ME, after 911 they knew it was the Saudis, Saudi Arabia should have been sanctioned back into the stone age. The spread of their death cult ideology halted. It needs to be stopped now Europe is burning their once diverse beautiful cultures are being crushed by savages that never built anything. Canada seems to be following suit.
@Greg: I guess Obama considered long and hard before he did the tremendously stupid things he did? Trump has been tremendously successful in his agenda. There is no reason to believe the successes will not continue.
The Mujahideen were fighting the Soviet backed regime and the Russians. They were considered terrorists. Trump is correct. Liberals are wrong. Again.
You should consider joining a more interesting cult. Trumpism isn’t the only option.
You do realize that support for the Mujahideen against the Russian invaders of Afghanistan was central to the Reagan administration’s regional foreign policy, I assume. This wasn’t some liberal/Democratic Party idea.
@Greg: I prefer to simply be an American. I have no interest in joining the Democrat anti-America cult, that is for certain.
@Greg: The invasion took place in 1979, The USSR was still communist then, we had a weak clueless Democrat as president. in 10 years, 1989 down came the wall, just 10 years for the Republicans to utterly destroy a world Super Power. Funny how it is under Barry they again became a thing to worry over. And the Chinese holy sh!t with their direct access to the head of he State Departments private system and our computer systems both government and NGOs wide open to hackers they seemed to have some muscle to flex as well.
https://www.geekwire.com/2018/trump-signs-legislation-back-quantum… we have a bit of catch up to do.
So, if Carter was so clueless, why did Reagan enormously expand his policy of supporting the Mujahideen resistance?
It was the Russian’s story that they were terrorists, not Carter’s or Ronald Reagan’s. Where does Trump get his information, anyway?
They were spending tremendous amts of money on this failed expansion. All while being squeezed with other sanctions. The Union fell without a nuclear war or our guys and their guys in a shooting match. Meantime we were investing in nuclear deterrents. Affectionately called StarWars.
You really have no grasp on your own history.
Really? My own history includes having voted for this man in two consecutive presidential elections:
Ronald Reagan’s final speech as president, on immigration, January 1989.
Since then, the Republican Party has devolved. With Donald Trump, it has gone totally off the rails.
@Greg: You also voted for Obama, the worst President in history and the biggest failure ever.
I disagree. Most Americans don’t agree. Obama still has high approval ratings two years after leaving office.
@Deplorable Me: We remember how the media bashed Regan at every step. I bet in 20 years or so Greg will tell everyone he voted for Don. lol.
@Greg: ALL Americans agree; he was a dismal failure. Bush has a high approval rating now, too. So, what does that prove? With 99% worshiping media, why isn’t Obama’s “approval” 100%?
That would be an inaccurate statement, since I’m an American, and I certainly don’t agree. Then there’s the Gallup poll result, from a survey taken over a year after Obama left office:
Obama’s First Retrospective Job Approval Rating Is 63%
I recall Reagan being very popular. Those who disagreed with his policies generally liked him. Even strong partisan disagreement tended to be respectful, if not cordial. Claims that the media was as pervasively critical of Ronald Reagan as of Donald Trump are entirely and purposefully false. The media of the day generally gave Reagan the benefit of the doubt. Reagan understood and steadfastly maintained the dignity and decorum required of his office. That, if nothing else, commanded respect.
@Greg: You really have no memory at all. It was only like every other Republican only good one was a dead one. https://www.mrc.org/media-reality-check/liberal-medias-reagan-bashing-record
See, there you go. Why isn’t he higher? What did he do wrong? Where did the media cover his failures?
Just like the candidate Obama, the legend Obama is a manufactured article, an empty suit, a mirage. In reality, he abused government power, ran guns to Mexico, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent people including a Border Patrol agent, weaponized the IRS, DOJ, IC, FBI to do his liberal bidding, unleashed ISIS on the world, had the worst recovery from a recession in history, allowed Iran to have their way with him and the nation and made a fool of the entire nation before the world.
January 11, 2019 — The US military has begun its withdrawal from Syria
@greg: Lets have a ticker tape parade for the returning heros. Kissing in the streets VS Day splashed across the headlines.
Touting the CFR is the wrong thing to do for most conservative patriots
No this time we are not leaving behind equipment to be used by “freedom fighters” then fund them to genocide Christian civilians, not this time.
We are not leaving the ME there are plenty of bases close enough swat pesky terrorists should they become a difficulty.
January 31, 2019 — Senate Rebukes Trump Over Troop Withdrawals From Syria and Afghanistan
@Greg: I’m wondering, did you notice how successful Trump’s initiative to strengthen NATO by forcing the other members to participate more fully? Did you also notice the ongoing success of the tariffs imposed on China in getting them to address their unfair trade practices? How about his success at getting N. Korea to act like human members of the planet?
Yeah, all of these are vehemently opposed by the establishment. It seems Trump has some pretty good “instincts”… or maybe he just knows what he is doing, but it challenges the status quo.
No, I haven’t noticed. This bit of b.s. is recycled meme that Trump & Company unsuccessfully attempted to roll out last July. FOX News decided to have another go at it.
Gosh, as usual you are absolutely, 100%… wrong.
I didn’t see Fox mentioned anywhere. Can you show me where it is?
If your mind was not closed and nailed shut with hatred and ideology you might have noticed.
@Deplorable Me, #73:
Stoltenberg knows what Trump likes to hear. He can be placated with flattery.
Another brilliant geopolitical move by Captain Clueless:
U.S. Announces It Will Withdraw From Nuclear Arms Control Treaty With Russia
Do you think NATO members will feel safer with a new arms race?
@Greg: We should stay in all agreements that one side ignores?
That makes sense to you?
Is there any way you can stop yourself from the, trained like a dog, knee jerk negative reaction to the Presidents actions?
Many in the government have been in it for 30 years or more, all make promises, try the same ideas repeatedly with the same results, that is we get screwed, or our young men get to go off and get blown to bits and spill American blood. Where we go to “nurture democracy” ever accepts it in its best form, so we “nation build” pouring the American taxpayers sweat into corrupt and failed states. Hasn’t worked not in 100 years or more.
Try something different, Ahhhhhh thats not how we do things!
@Greg: Yeah, because Russia has been violating it and other nations, like China, need to be a part of a NEW treaty. “Flexible” Obama, of course, simply ignored the violations. Because… flexible.
So, NATO lies? Should we be a part of such an organization? Are you recommending withdrawing from NATO?
Trump calls bluffs. He called NATO’s. He called N. Korea’s. He called China’s. He has them all dancing to his tune. Obama just bowed and shipped plane loads of money.
Uh… no. That would require the intellect to be able to evaluate facts instead of simply repeating what he is told to repeat. Notice that when we oppose a totalitarian dictator that is oppressing his people and causing them to starve, the left takes the side of the dictator. Because… Trump.
Walkers baby saved after Evers attempted abortion of the deal
I’m sure The Great Negotiator can work that out in short order—maybe something along the lines of the agreement that brought North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs to a total standstill. Maybe he could shut down the government again if they refuse to talk.
@Greg: So, if negotiations don’t result in instant success, just give up? Like Obama’s SOFA negotiations, which he failed at, gave up on and resulted in ISIS? Maybe when you BELIEVE in something, you stay with it and succeed… like TRUMP does.
The point is that you don’t trash what you already have without a clue how to get something better. Trump is clueless. He attempted to unilaterally trash the Iran nuclear deal without a clue what to do next. Now the European community is planning to work around his U.S. trade sanctions to maintain it. Unless I’m missing something, all he managed to do was erode unity with our allies, handicap U.S. businesses, and strengthen Iran’s relationship with Russia.
You can blame the S.O.F.A. constraints entirely on the administration that hurriedly shoved the thing through shortly before turning the results over to the Obama administration to deal with. While you’re at it, blame them for creating the entire screwed up situation to begin with. Our intelligence community warned them what could happen, and it did.
@Greg: If Trump were as criminal as you make him out to be, if he was a dolt or clueless why hasn’t hound dog face Mueller been able to pin anything on him?
Those “allies” trying to get around sanctions are globalist socialist and we can cut their trade off and miss nothing.
Why not who says we need a treaty that means nothing to them. Just act as if nothing happened cause it might make Greggies MSM nervous? Nervous of ANOTHER win they need to hard spin into a horrible situation?
What the hell are you talking about? You get something better by negotiating a better and updated treaty. Do you think you can start that while you have a treaty in place that the other side is cheating on? We can’t counteract THEIR cheating if we are honoring the treaty. This may actually bring Russia to the table to change their behavior. Regardless, it’s far better than paying the opposition to allow you to accept their terms, as the previous idiot employed.
No, you can’t. It was intended to be renegotiated because the conditions at the time of the expiration of the SOFA could not be known when it was negotiated. Obama simply didn’t try very hard because he just wanted to pull the troops out and wallow in the headlines. His failure fully displayed is incompetence. His Iran deal confirmed it. At least we have a leader with some balls now.
Our IC warned that Hussein had WMD’s. The only threat of failure was if some blithering idiot did what Obama did. Oh, and then he and Hillary did the same thing in Libya… with similar results. The “brain trust”.