Every week, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question:What Should U.S. Policy Be In The Middle East?
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason :Our leaders need to acknowledge that what is happening in the Middle East is not a simple clash of cultures. We must recognize this is a fight between good and evil and address it as such. Whether we like it or not we have been drawn into this war and to fight it successfully we have to be all in. We have seen the restraint exercised under the Obama administration in Iraq and Afghanistan allow our enemy to grow and expand its influence as radicalized jihadists commit acts of horror, barbarism, and terror across the world. We cannot do nothing as another Holocaust unfolds. We must refuse to accept a new normal and not become desensitized to these horrific attacks on innocents which are occurring with greater frequency.
It’s too easy to turn a blind eye to the barbaric acts radical Islamists are committing and accept the progressive narrative that this is not true Islam, and that Islam is a religion of peace. Our policy should be to strengthen alliances with other countries who understand the existential threat a growing Islamic State means to every country in the entire world and not just in the Middle East.
Our next president will be challenged with restoring and rebuilding our military, both morally and physically. If we continue on this downward trend we will be unable to fight and destroy this enemy. We should use every tool at our disposal to seek out and kill this enemy of the free world. Without strong leadership from the United States the world will be unable to defend itself against this evil. I hate to imagine a world where evil is the victor.
JoshuaPundit: Hmmm! Well, in order to have policy, you have to have goals. Our goals to date, as near as I can figure them out appear to be empowering Islamists at home and abroad, appeasing the Saudis and the Emirates on one hand and Iran on the other, and bringing as many Muslims into America as possible along with periodically lying to the American people that the violence they see going on almost daily has nothing to do with Islam!
These appear to have been the goals of our last three presidents, but somehow they seem…well,counterproductive and self defeating to all of us except for the personal fortunes of certain presidents, their families and closely allied groups of elites.
So I guess I'll have to come up with my own list, won't I?
They divvy up to our actions at home and our actions abroad. Loosely stated,they include permanent and realistic steps to secure America's national security, a return to what's worked before in these situations, really purging America of what some people call radical Islam and I call Islamism, Salafism and Wahhabism among other things, and giving the American people a realistic view of what Islam actually is to most Muslims globally, as opposed to your nice next door neighbor.
At home, along with zealously guarding our borders, we need to rescind the refugee/permanent residency status of most if not all of the Muslims Obama brought in by gaming our laws, since the Administration has finally admitted they haven't even been vetting them. Citizenship given these people during at least the past 8 years also needs to be revoked on a case by case basis, since it was given by executive order without any normal vetting in most instances.
We likewise need to reopen the second Holy Land Foundation trial, which would put most of the leaders of CAIR, MPAC, NAIT, ITNA, and most of the other Muslim Brotherhood fronts in jail. No double jeopardy issue their either, since they were never tried in the first place but undoubtedly would have been with a non-Islamist friendly administration. The Brotherhood itself and its associated front groups should be declared terrorist entities and outlawed as such, and any federal employees with Brotherhood ties, particularly in law enforcement, the military, the DOJ, State Department and DHS should be investigated thoroughly and dismissed as necessary.
Mosques, especially those owned by ITNA should be placed under major surveillance, and the imams thoroughly vetted. Jihad mosques should be shut down and their imams deported. A major campaign should be launched among American Muslims to turn in jihadis in their midst and it needs to be explained publicly exactly why it's in their best interest to do so.
Public school and university curriculums should be rigorously vetted for Islamist propaganda that presents a dawa-friendly presentation of Islam and its history as opposed to a balanced, reality based one. Schools that refuse to comply would lose all federal funding. Call it reverse indoctrination if you like.
Foreign funding of religious entities in America should be prohibited, at least from a list of designated countries . So should any compensation whatsoever to Federal employees from a foreign government (or at least designated governments) for a period of 20 years following their leaving government service. That should effectively end the retirement 'magic carpet' pension plan now funded by the Saudis and The Emirates enjoyed by so many of our public 'servants' after they leave office after doing these foreign governments' bidding during their tenure. That includes our presidents.
Abroad, similar steps are necessary
The first thing we have to realize is that we have three potential and/or actual allies in the region – Israel, Egypt under al-Sissi and The Kurds. The rest are superfluous, especially since we no longer need their oil. We need to empower our allies so they'll look after our interests in the region and to have marginal relations with the others at best.
The biggest problem we have is not with the Arabs but with what's been called the Northern Tier, the three non-Arab states of Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. One of them has nuclear arms, another is rapidly getting there thanks to the negligence and appeasement of two consecutive presidents and the third had the largest conventional army in Europe.
Iran is the most deadly of the three at this point, thanks to the funding and the appeasement they received from President Barack Hussein Obama. Contrary to the lies we were told, Iran still regards America as the 'Great Satan' and has regarded itself at war with America since 1979. And these are by no means rational actors with any fear of Mutually Assured Destruction, as anyone who knows anything about Iran's Twelver Sect that dominates the country would tell you. The Hidden Imam is actually supposed to arrive to conquer the world for Shi'ite Islam in the midst of war and apocalypse.
Obama's appeasement has cemented the current regime in place, has made them even more aggressive, and has given them billions to fund their illegal nuclear weapons program and improve their conventional military.What we've done is the equivalent of giving a mentally unstable criminal a loaded gun.
Unfortunately, this makes the job of fixing the problem a lot messier than it would have been if we had done it in the second Bush Administration or had not threatened the Israelis to stop them from doing the job for us.
As it stands now Iran's nuclear facilities and major military bases need to be taken out completely, even if it takes tactical nukes to do it as it will undoubtedly do in hardened sites like Fordow. Their navy, such as it is, needs to be destroyed, as does their natural gas and oil infrastructure including Kharg Island, Iran's oil tanker 'filling station.'
This is necessary so that the same problem doesn't crop up again for some time. Iran without oil and gas has no interest for China, and while Russia might be upset at one less market for its arms industry, a Russia with better relationship with a new U.S. president might actually be willing to work out any differences, particularly if we're smart enough not to invade with ground troops and take over a country on Russia's border. Certainly they aren't going to get into a war they cannot afford over Iran. Nor can Russia afford to rebuild Iran for it's own purposes.
Aside from the deterrent effect, Iran's reversal of fortune at our hands will also send a valuable message to other bad actors in the region. it works like that with honor/shame cultures – at your throat or at your feet.
Turkey is a more difficult problem in its own way, since the West made them a NATO ally at a far different time when the rulership of the country was quite different different. They simply aren't allies in the usual sense of the word anymore, and Ataturk's secularization of the country has essentially been reversed by Erdoğan and the AKP.
That means lessening ties with the current regime without actually severing them. We should get our of our base in Turkey at Incerlik (you know, the one the Turks surrounded with their military and cut off power and water to for a week or so) as soon as possible. And it also means telling Erdoğan in no uncertain terms that he needs to get his military out of that juicy slice of Northern Syria he just seized and stop brutalizing the Kurds. Turkey's economy is already shaky and the mention of possible sanctions as well as the recent example of our preemption of Iran should make it an easy decision for Erdoğan. Erdoğan also needs to be reminded of Article Five in NATO's charter, just in case he gets any crazy ideas of following the old Ottoman route of conquest into the Balkans with his army.
With Erdoğan's withdrawal, we could then assist the Kurds in establishing their new state, Kurdistan, as a U.S. client in Northern Syria and the adjacent areas of Iraq. It's something we should have done twenty years ago.
As a side note, the war on ISIS is essentially lost, or at least moving to a different phase. While Mosul and Rakka can possibly be taken eventually, ISIS has infiltrated the 'refugees' coming to Europe,Canada and the U.S. and the war is going to shift to counter terrorism domestically. As odious as Basher Assad is, he's a safer bet then the 'moderate' jihadis Obama's funding and arming. Syria, like Iraq is destined to become a failed and possibly truncated state. Aside from rescuing what's left of Syria and Iraq's Christians, there's little we can do to prevent that, nor should we. Definitely, we shouldn't have any ground troops there.
Our foreign policy in the Middle East should be to protect and support our allies and to confine ourselves to marginal relationships with any other actors.
Stately McDaniel Manor: The story goes, if memory serves, that when he served as Secretary of State, George Schultz would initiate newly minted ambassadors by inviting them into his office and asking them to point out their country on a world map. They would invariably point out the nations they had been assigned, whereupon Schultz would point to America and exclaim: “No. This is your country.”
Presumably, the point was not lost on such highly educated individuals. It has surely been lost for at least the last eight years.
Diplomacy is a prelude to war, an attempt to prevent war, a logical extension of Carl Von Clausewitz’s aphorism:
“War is the continuation of politics by other means.”
Unless our diplomacy is backed up by the very real threat of bad consequences for our enemies, including war, diplomacy degenerates to what we have witnessed under Hillary Clinton and John Kerry: “tell us what you want and please don’t embarrass us too much.”
We have, if Donald Trump wins, a very long period of rebuilding. Here’s a brief list:
Foreign policy must be about what is best for America, first and foremost. Altruism comes in second, at best.
Our enemies must fear us–really fear us.
Our allies must know they can trust us.
We must never enter into a military alliance–or remain in one–unless we are willing to honor all of its obligations. Make no agreement we won’t honor, and honor all we make.
Terrorist armies/nations must be destroyed.
Every terrorist must be killed.
Nations that help terrorists must be seriously punished.
Terrorists must be captured and interrogated. The information obtained must be carefully corroborated and used.
The Iranian regime must be destroyed, not only for the American lives they’ve already taken, but for the lives they intend to take in the future.
The threat of war with America must equal the certain and rapid threat of obliteration, death for the leaders of our enemies, and destruction for their regime.
The world must know that an attack on Israel, Taiwan, or other terrorist targets–if they survive until January, 2017–is an attack on America.
No idiots, weaklings, corruptocrats, and self-important twerps shall represent the United States in Diplomacy.
Any attack on our diplomatic personnel or facilities must be punished, rapidly and brutally.
The presumption that everything Barack Obama did while president in foreign policy was harmful to America must guide our efforts. Everything he did must be undone unless it can be shown to actually be to the benefit of America.
For starters, shoring up our ties with Israel should be at the top of our list.
Barack Obama who has refused for eight years to acknowledge that Jerusalem has all but destroyed our alliance with Israel.
Puma By Design : For starters, shoring up our ties with Israel should be at the top of our list.
Barack Obama who has refused for eight years to acknowledge that Jerusalem has all but destroyed our alliance with Israel.
Keeping in mind the adage, “that if you dance to the music….,” Netanyahu should remain cautious. Obama closing in on the final days in the White House is bound to do something unseemly, something which Israel may one-day regret for example, a caveat Obama failed to mention when negotiating $38 billion in military aid over the next 10 years.
Then there is Iran who have summer warned that “Hezbollah has 100,000 missiles that are ready to hit Israel to liberate the occupied Palestinian territories if the Zionist regime repeats its past mistakes.” continues to step up their game as more about the Iran nuclear deal is made public.
Iran’s Zolfaqar tactical ballistic missiles are “capable of evading jamming signals in electronic warfare” is scheduled to become operational in March 2017 and able to reach Israel.
Iran must be reined in but Barack Obama, their enabler has created a monster while at the same time weakening the United States and our military.
Not good for Israel, not good for the Middle East which is a disaster courtesy of POTUS44. As a result, POTUS45 will have his hands full.
The Glittering Eye : It's hard to come up with a plan that's shorter than booklength. Here are the highlights of what I think we should and shouldn't do with respect to the Middle East:
- we should stop supporting Islamists. That includes the radicals we're supporting in Syria, Turkey, and the Saudis. The present Iranian government cannot be our friends.
- we should maintain a lower profile, generally.
- end the drone war
- maintain a force of about 20,000 troops in Afghanistan with a mission of counter-terrorism rather than counter-insurgency.
- tighten up on visas issued to individuals from the Gulf States.
Well, there it is!
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