Trump’s Troops and the Folly of Intervention
By Kennedy Applebaum
August 23, 2017
Since the staged event of 9/11, the United States and its European allies have, without moral, political or legal justification, destroyed the cultures, societies, secular governments and infrastructure of much of the greater Middle East, thus creating a huge terrorist cauldron. And now we don’t know what to do about it. In many cases, but not all—the tyranny of the Taliban for example, as marked by the subjugation of women, predated 9/11—it is easy for ordinary informed people to understand why these terrorists might seek revenge. And although we are forbidden to express this opinion in the public media [will censorship of Quemado Institute now go ballistic?], the reactions of mainly Muslim Middle East victims are so inevitably human, I have no doubt many intelligent Westerners discuss, in the privacy of their livingrooms where frank talk can still take place, this revenge phenomenon as a reasonable response to being massacred.
The ease of undertanding their drive for retaliation underscores how dangerous this largely Muslim revenge could become. One cannot stress too often, of course, that most Muslims are not vengeful, but that most vengeful refugees from the Middle East are Muslim. With this in mind, one can readily imagine a total social annihilation of European peace and security, such that no woman could walk unprotected anywhere in the European Union. That is one definition of the end of a civilization.
It is harder to imagine such social annihilation on the more isolate North American continent, where refugees cannot simply pile on boats and land on our shores. But among those refugees America welcomes, an unknown fraction harbor murderous revenge, ready to surface on a hair-trigger impulse.
The polarization of reactions to Donald Trump’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan makes evaluating his wisdom, or lack thereof, a difficult exercise. His former enemies applaud the move; his former supporters feel betrayed. I will leave it to others to analyze Trump, as this is not my purpose here. But the analyses are telling.
For the curious, a full transcript and video of Trump’s address on Afghanistan with commentary is available at Information Clearing House. There are also several excellent commentaries from alternate media pundits such as Justin Raimondo of AntiWar.com; Karin Brothers at Global Research; Stephen Lendman at Global Research; and an article on Trump’s betrayal by Finian Cunningham at Information Clearing House. Praise for Trump’s decision from neoconservative think tanks are well represented in an analysis by the Brookings Institution; a report on Afghan stragegy by the Brookings Institution; and last but far from least, revelations about Afghanistan’s trillion dollar mineral resources by the Brookings Institution.
Stop and Step Back
When one has made vast mistakes and committed errors of judgment so egregious they result in uncontrollable existential threats—and the threat of an end to European civilization has already been elucidated—it is time to stop, step back, cease all action, and reevaluate. If one continues to act in the midst of turbulent threat, that action is apt to be based on panic, hence irrational and ineffective. This is the nature of President Donald Trump’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan: irrational and ineffective.
Once we have stopped creating problems and stepped back to reevaluate, what we must do is take charge—not of foreign nations, but of ourselves.
The United States needs immediately to:
- Withdraw all forces from Afghanistan and the entire Middle East as fast as these troops can be evacuated, within less than a week.
- Stop all arms sales to the region.
- Cut off all financial assistance to governments and political factions in the region.
- Close US borders to refugees from the Middle East.
These actions, or cessations of action, will result in new problems which must subsequently be met. The key word is subsequently. New problems cannot be met until after we stop creating the old ones. Confusion among analysts and officials—be they Trump, his cabinet, the deep state, or alternate media commentators—about the best US strategy for the Middle East, is caused by trying to solve too many problems at once. And confusion is rampant. Stop first. Then address the problems created by stopping.
Sudden withdrawal all US forces from the Middle East would leave power vacuums in some areas and peace and relief in others. It is impossible for anyone on earth to know which places are which. Why? Only local people know whether power vacuums are worse than US military presence. And these local people are not in touch with the rest of the world, except occasionally via spotty reporting mixed with opinion and agenda. Therefore it is safe to say that nobody knows the real picture, and we have to accept our blindness. Alternate media analysts, even me, claim all American military intervention is wrong, based on a few stark examples, like Donbass and Libya. It is easy to jump to this conclusion. But nobody really knows. And we have to quit pretending we do.
And since we can’t know what the consequences of withdrawal are, or even where or whether it is better to withdraw, we might as well ignore this question for the present. That simplifies the picture. So when the Brookings Institute claims that withdrawal from Afghanistan would lead to a dangerous power vacuum that could exacerbate terrorism, they are confused by the fact that they are trying to solve too many problems at once. They do not really know the consequences. First withdraw. Then reevaluate.
Stopping all arms supplies to the Middle East would no doubt entangle the US in legal and diplomatic challenges. There are contracts and treaties, after all. So the US would have to stop supplying arms by decree, then deal with the consequences later. The US now supplies arms to Saudi Arabia, with which the Saudis kill human beings in Yemen. Compassion (a nonentity in the official dialogue) aside, this a waste of armaments and a waste of American productivity. Stop this supply by decree, and let the Saudis pick up the pieces.
As for defence contractors at home, the US Government, with its 700 billion defence budget, can buy these weapons and store them domestically. This will boost our military strength. And why do we need a strong military if we’re bringing our forces home? Because strength is the first requirement for taking charge of oneself. One needs full-capability defences. To realize the importance of this, look at Russia under Putin.
Suddenly cutting all financial assistance to Middle East governments and political factions will have no negative impact on the welfare of the United States. We should not pick and choose who to support and who not to, because again, we do not know. No one on earth can possibly know which faction to finance and which to abandon. So if we can’t know, abandon them all, and assess the impact later.
The last item, closing our borders to Middle East refugees, will arouse antagonism among the liberal-progressive-left, as Paul Craig Roberts calls them. Yet until the revenge of mainly Muslims subsides, it is necessary for the time being that we calm the terrorist scare. I say “scare” rather than “threat”, because again, we do not know, nobody knows, how big a threat terrorism could become on US soil. As for humanitarian concerns, the EU governments are not humanitarian when they welcome refugees who rape European citizens. Rather these governments are totalitarian, and in fact cruel, to the citizens threatened with rape. If refugees are going to rape, and sometimes even kill, people of their host country, they are signing away the right of their brothers and sisters to safe haven.
Closing our borders to refugees would be only be for the time being. It is part of the process of stopping action until we reevaluate. If our withdrawal from the Middle East dampens the revenge of the Muslims who are angry, that would change the picture. If terrorist incidents stopped, which they might, as ISIS has intimated, then barring Middle East refugees is no longer an issue. Whatever the consequences of closing our borders, these can be dealt with after we close our borders, when in a state of calm, we can assess the balance of humanitarian concerns.
Stopping, stepping back, taking charge of ourselves would divest in Americans a self-respect and moral integrity that we in this country have not enjoyed for decades. And the military industrial complex need not even suffer.