The Middle East Is Not America’s Fight

19 09 2019

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

In an article entitled “The Iran War: Danger Lurks In Inaction,” Conrad Black—the Canadian-born, British former newspaper publisher, author and life peer—has written in The New York Sun:

Last weekend’s drone raid on the Saudi oil fields, along with the Israeli elections, opens a new chapter in Middle Eastern relations. Whether the attack on Saudi oil production, which has temporarily stopped more than half of it, was launched by Iranian-sponsored Yemeni Houthis or by the Iranians themselves is beside the point, as the Houthis had no independent ability whatever to acquire and use such weapons.

The Iranians are behind the incident. There is room for legitimate debate about the merits of the conflicting sides in the Yemen war, but there can be no doubt that by any standards, the direct attack on Saudi Arabia was an act of war, and as it was entirely dependent on Iranian weapons procurement and instruction, it is an escalation of the war-by-proxy between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Yemen with an outright act of war by Iran against Saudi Arabia.

There is no reason to believe, or even to recommend, that Saudi Arabia should turn the other cheek and engage in reactive pacifism. Because the Trump administration has ignored the efforts of American political factions, including recalcitrant Republicans, to ditch the Saudis, Washington retains great influence on the Saudi response to what is a severe provocation. This can be seen as a great opportunity, as it furnishes a justification for administering a heavy blow against the most troublesome regime in the world.

The United States would do well to take the trouble to line up allies. The Western alliance will be even more skittish than usual, given that the aggrieved party is the not entirely presentable Saudi regime. Saudi Arabia has been a joint venture between the House of Saud, an old nomadic desert family favored by Britain and France on the collapse of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire at the end of World War I, and the Wahhabi Islamic leadership. The feudal and absolute monarchy paid extensive Danegeld to the Wahhabis as they spread militant Islam throughout the Eurasian landmass and in Australasia and North Africa, in exchange for a free pass for the Saudi royal family.

The Saudi regime has gradually, under steady American influence, modernized the structure of the state, spread the petro-money around the population, and withdrawn from the Faustian bargain with fundamentalist Islam. It has followed the Arab version of the Chinese model: economic and (to some extent) social reform and general distribution of prosperity, without relaxing the authority or capacity of self-assertion of the state. The Saudis avoided the catastrophe of Russia and, briefly, Egypt, of trying to introduce democracy without elevating public standards of prosperity and education.

Saudi Arabia is, in any case, a much more reputable regime than the terrorism-promoting, bigoted theocracy of Iran — an almost friendless nation apart from a few other militant Islamic entities and as a nuisance of convenience that China and Russia and even Turkey encourage to irritate the United States and its Middle Eastern allies and protégés, especially Egypt, the Emirates, the Saudis, and Israel.

The struggle that is now escalating is among theocratic and secular Muslim countries, militant Islam, and Middle Eastern minorities — the Jewish state and Arab Christians — and the fairly arcane but often fiercely contested distinction between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, as well as a contest between petroleum-exporting countries, a field where Saudi Arabia has generally been preeminent. These waters have been muddied considerably by the effective elimination by the United States of overseas energy imports as its own production has been sharply boosted from shale-fracking and increased offshore exploration.

An incidental but useful clarification from this event has been the revelation of the absurdity and irrelevance of the extreme Green nonsense. The President was correct in announcing that he would release oil as necessary from the United States national petroleum reserves to stabilize world supply. Even 50 years from now, no part of the solution to such a problem as this will have anything to do with nostrums about windmills and solar panels.

Apart from the removal of the United States as the world’s chief petroleum importer, the Middle Eastern correlation of forces has also been altered by the disintegration of two prominent Arab countries, Iraq and Syria (formerly two of Israel’s most militant enemies), and the encroachment upon Arab affairs of the ancient foes of the Arabs, the Turks and the Persians (Iran).

The European rejection of Turkey has helped persuade that country’s strongman, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to imagine that Turkey has a role to play in Arab affairs, and the general clerical and nationalist belligerency of the Islamic Republic in Iran has assisted the Arabs in focusing on self-protection and shelving their diversionary preoccupation with Israel.

The fixation on Israel was always just an invented distraction of the Arab masses from the misgovernment their leaders inflicted on them, but now, and with Turkey and Iran meddling in Syria and Iraq, the Palestinians, who were generally regarded in the Arab world as sharpers like the Jews and Lebanese, are redundant to the pan-Arab interest, and Israel is a vital ally.

Now is the time for the imposition of a solution: The Palestinians can have a modest state, but that’s all they get, and it must be conditioned on formal recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with internationally agreed frontiers. The Israeli election will almost certainly produce a grand coalition between the two main parties that could facilitate an agreement by producing a slightly more flexible government in Jerusalem, i.e. a somewhat more flexible Benjamin Netanyahu (though not one seriously contemplating retirement; the charges against him are nonsense and just part of hardball Israeli politics). Israel would benefit from a government independent of the Arabs, the religious parties, or the far left.

The United States must lead an effective coalition response to the Iranian aggression against Saudi Arabia. The NATO states that import oil, especially from Saudi Arabia, should be forcefully invited to join in augmented sanctions, and the United States should require those countries that trade profitably with the U.S. to join an embargo of Iran until it genuinely renounces its sponsorship of terrorist enterprises, including Hezbollah, Hamas, and, as long as the Yemeni civil war is bilaterally deescalated, the Houthi.

A serious coalition, including all the countries whose ships ply the Persian Gulf, should, under American leadership, accomplish the internationalization of the Strait of Hormuz, and discourage by force any Iranian attempt to restrict those waters. And the U.S. must (at the expense of the beneficiary countries) install serious air security over Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, and northern Iraq. Foreign drones should never have got anywhere near the Saudi oil refineries and collection points and would not be especially hard to intercept.

This attack was planned as meticulously as the 9/11 attacks and, like them, attempted to evade any particular national responsibility. The fact that there was no suicide element may be taken as slight progress for the world’s counterterrorists.

An air assault on Iranian oil facilities and nuclear military sites would be entirely justified, and this measure should be prepared as the next step, with the prior approval of a reasonable range of supportive countries, as the instant response to any further provocations. It would not be a great risk for the United States to lead a punitive air mission that would flatten Iran’s nuclear military program and crush it economically, and such a step would arouse no objections from any civilized country.

If the Saudis want to move to this more ambitious phase of retribution now, as long as the administration takes the time necessary to stiffen the backbone of the vocal but often almost invertebrate allies, and as long as it is planned carefully, there is no moral or practical reason to hesitate. Iran is an outlaw regime in chronic need of punishment, and the danger lies not in overreaction but in insufficient retaliation.[2]

Black is correct: “[T]he direct attack on Saudi Arabia was an act of war,” but it was not an act of war against the United States or the American people.  We were pushed into the Iraq War by Israel and its neocon shills; and that war alone cost more than 5,000 American lives with many more maimed, and trillions of dollars wasted, for nothing. Never again, even if Israel’s existence is at stake.

The United States is the largest energy producer in the world once again, and as I have written previously:

[W]e do not need the Middle East—or Israel—for anything anymore. Also, an overwhelming number of Americans elected Donald Trump to keep us out of foreign wars, not to embark on new ones.[3]

Pat Buchanan—an adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and a former GOP presidential aspirant himself—was correct when he stated:

To [former White House aide and Israeli shill, John] Bolton, Trump’s trashing of Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal was the first step toward a confrontation and clash to smash the Tehran regime. To Trump, it was a first step to a Trump-negotiated better bargain with Iran.[4]

Black is mistaken when he writes:

The Palestinians can have a modest state, but that’s all they get, and it must be conditioned on formal recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with internationally agreed frontiers.

Giving “crumbs” to the Palestinians, and abandoning any notions of a viable two-state solution, smacks of colonialism and apartheid, which are abhorrent in America and the West today.

Black is mistaken too when he writes:

The United States must lead an effective coalition response to the Iranian aggression against Saudi Arabia. The NATO states that import oil, especially from Saudi Arabia, should be forcefully invited to join in augmented sanctions. . . .

It is in America’s best interests to open our energy “spigots” wide, and supply Europe with its energy needs, and do the same with respect to China.  Among other things, this would boost the U.S. economy immeasurably; it would undermine the Russian dictator-for-life Vladimir Putin’s brutal regime; and it would enhance American jobs and our trading relationship with China, which desperately needs energy products to keep its flagging economy afloat and on an even keel.

Next, Black has written:

An air assault on Iranian oil facilities and nuclear military sites would be entirely justified, and this measure should be prepared as the next step, with the prior approval of a reasonable range of supportive countries, as the instant response to any further provocations. It would not be a great risk for the United States to lead a punitive air mission that would flatten Iran’s nuclear military program and crush it economically, and such a step would arouse no objections from any civilized country.

If the Saudis want to move to this more ambitious phase of retribution now, as long as the administration takes the time necessary to stiffen the backbone of the vocal but often almost invertebrate allies, and as long as it is planned carefully, there is no moral or practical reason to hesitate. Iran is an outlaw regime in chronic need of punishment, and the danger lies not in overreaction but in insufficient retaliation.

Wow!  This smacks of the warmongering by those who brought us the Vietnam War and the Iraq War; and it must be rejected categorically by the American people.  They do not want war; and thankfully Black does not occupy any policy role in the West vis-à-vis the Middle East.

Bald Eagle and American Flag --- Image by © Ocean/Corbis

© 2019, Timothy D. Naegele


[1]  Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass). He and his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, specialize in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and Timothy D. Naegele Resume-19-4-29). He has an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal (see, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commendation_Medal#Joint_Service). Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g., www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2]  See https://www.nysun.com/national/latest-ploy-against-trump-is-to-conjure/90804/

[3]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/the-state-of-our-union-2019/#comment-17209 (“Warmonger: Enemy Of The American People”)

[4]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/the-state-of-our-union-2019/#comment-19656 (“Echoes Of The Despicable John Bolton”)


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10 responses

19 09 2019
H. Craig Bradley

TIME FOR SOME DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

I think most informed Americans see a need to punish Iran. Iran is acting in a manner that appears designed to goad us into a direct military conflict. However, as President Trump said the other day: “There are a range of alternative actions such as tougher sanctions, and targeted or “proportional” military strikes, or even cyber warfare”. President Trump does not need or want a war at this time. He can not be forced to engage in one with Iran. He did not take the bait.

Well, we have had these same policy options for some time, so its a matter (test) of will here. If President Trump appears to do nothing, then the message to Iran is go ahead and do it again somewhere else, as there is no penalty or consequence for doing so. Looking weak is not the right message to send to a belligerent like Iran. In addition, it would not be my idea of a deterrent. Therefore, some visible action in response is required by the President. Its his decision alone.

19 09 2019
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Craig, for your comments.

I disagree vehemently with your first sentence.

As I stated in the article, and previously:

[A]n overwhelming number of Americans elected Donald Trump to keep us out of foreign wars, not to embark on new ones.

The Middle East is not our problem, fight or concern, period.

As I have written previously too:

Donald Trump is correct: let the parties in the Middle East fight it out; and when the dust settles—or the nuclear clouds part—we can then see who is still standing, if anyone.

The Middle East is not our fight, just as the Iraq War and the Vietnam War were tragic mistakes. The U.S. is the largest energy producer in the world again, and essentially energy independent. We do not need the Middle East anymore, including Israel—which has been a burden without benefits for almost 70 years.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/is-israel-doomed/#comment-7993

19 09 2019
H. Craig Bradley

PETRODOLLARS OR YUAN ??

We have an agreement with Saudi Arabia since the 1970’s in which the Saudi’s agreed to price their oil in U.S. Dollars and all purchases of Saudi Oil by any customer or nation must be settled in U.S.D. exclusively. In exchange, we guaranteed their security with our military. This is the Petrodollar arrangement that has kept the dollar as indispensable around the world all these years. It was promoted by then Sec. of State, Henry Kissinger.

Breaking this four decade agreement potentially means they are free to price in other currencies and settle in whatever currency they want to. China is looking to expand the use of their own “funny money” the Yuan anywhere they can, as is Russia. Europe is developing an alternative to the U.S. controlled SWIFT international payment system, as well. So, financial changes along with many other ones are in-play globally. If the dollar loses its exclusivity, then we pay a price and not a small one. So, you have to look at all the issues, not just the emotional ones or what is first apparent.

20 09 2019
Timothy D. Naegele

I have advocated for a long time that we deny Russia access to the SWIFT payments system, and effectively bring it to its knees.

China is not in good shape; and our economic and military might are second to none in the world today.

With respect to Saudi Arabia, we owe them nothing; and “1970’s agreements” are worth essentially what Barack Obama’s agreement with Iran is worth today, or even less.

20 09 2019
RayUSA

I too strongly disagree with your first sentence and, I might add, your second as well, to which I will attempt to address.

In the circles I travel in, no one wants another war in the Middle East. Punishing Iran militarily, as you state, would lead to just that. Israel and its US proxies the NeoCons are desperately attempting to maneuver us into attacking Iran. Is it possible that someone other than Iran was behind the drone attacks? Isn’t it strange that all of the big jets, including their titanium engines, just “vaporized,” yet numerous parts of these drones didn’t? Curious to say the least.

Back to Iran, who is it that is doing the “goading”? Is it really Iran, as you claim, or, is it the US with its crippling sanctions against the people of Iran?

We have a long history of poking our noses into other nations’ affairs, often provoking serious consequences. Our embargo on Japan is just one example. FDR’s embargo on Japan provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor, which led to the real goal; the back door entry into the European conflict.

War is mankind’s most hideous crime. It should be fought rarely and only when the survival of the nation is at stake. Even if Iran is behind this, which I find to be doubtful, it really does not effect the security, and certainly does not put in doubt our survival !

20 09 2019
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Ray, for your comments.

Also, it must be noted that a Saudi hit team viciously murdered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

And like the sudden and brutal attack by Israel on the USS Liberty in international waters that killed 34 brave men and injured others, we may not know anytime soon who was responsible for the attacks on Saudi Arabia.

See, e.g., http://www.gtr5.com/ (“USS Liberty Memorial”) and https://www.timesofisrael.com/tillerson-says-netanyahu-skillfully-played-trump-using-misinformation/ (“[Former U.S. Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson says Netanyahu skillfully ‘played’ Trump using misinformation”—”‘It bothers me that an ally that’s that close and important to us would do that to us,’ he said”)

20 09 2019
Timothy D. Naegele

Can Trump Still Avoid War With Iran?

This is the title of an article by Pat Buchanan—an adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and a former GOP presidential aspirant himself—who has written:

President Donald Trump does not want war with Iran. America does not want war with Iran. Even the Senate Republicans are advising against military action in response to that attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

“All of us (should) get together and exchange ideas, respectfully, and come to a consensus — and that should be bipartisan,” says Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch of Idaho.

When Lindsey Graham said the White House had shown “weakness” and urged retaliatory strikes for what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls Iran’s “act of war,” the president backhanded his golfing buddy:

“It’s very easy to attack, but if you ask Lindsey … ask him how did going into the Middle East … work out. And how did Iraq work out?”

Still, if neither America nor Iran wants war, what has brought us to the brink?

Answer: The policy imposed by Trump, Pompeo and John Bolton after our unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

Our course was fixed by the policy we chose to pursue.

Imposing on Iran the most severe sanctions ever by one modern nation on another, short of war, the U.S., through “maximum pressure,” sought to break the Iranian regime and bend it to America’s will.

Submit to U.S. demands, we told Tehran, or watch your economy crumble and collapse and your people rise up in revolt and overthrow your regime.

Among the 12 demands issued by Pompeo:

End all enrichment of uranium or processing of plutonium. Halt all testing of ballistic missiles. Cut off Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Disarm and demobilize Shiite militias in Syria and Iraq. Terminate support for the Houthi rebels resisting Saudi intervention in Yemen.

The demands Pompeo made were those that victorious nations impose upon the defeated or defenseless. Pompeo’s problem: Iran was neither.

Hezbollah is dominant in Lebanon. Along with Russia and Hezbollah, Iran and its militias enabled Bashar Assad to emerge victorious in an eight-year Syrian civil war. And the scores of thousands of Iranian-trained and -allied Shiite militia fighters in the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq outnumber the 5,200 U.S. troops there 20 times over.

Hence Tehran’s defiant answer to Pompeo’s 12 demands:

We will not capitulate, and if your sanctions prevent our oil from reaching our traditional buyers, we will prevent the oil of your Sunni allies from getting out of the Persian Gulf.

Hence, this summer, we saw tankers sabotaged and seized in the Gulf, insurance rates for tanker traffic surge, Iran shoot-down a $130 million U.S. Predator drone, and, a week ago, an attack on Saudi oil production facilities that cut Riyadh’s exports in half.

This has been followed by an Iranian warning that a Saudi attack on Iran means war, and a U.S. attack will be met with a counterattack. We don’t want war, the Iranians are saying, but if the alternative is to choke to death under U.S. sanctions, we will use our weapons to fight yours.

America might emerge victorious in such a war, but the cost could be calamitous, imperiling that fifth of the world’s oil that traverses the Strait of Hormuz, and causing a global recession.

Yet even if there is no U.S. or Saudi military response to Saturday’s attack, what is to prevent Iran from ordering a second strike that shuts down more Arab Gulf oil production?

Iran has shown the ability to do that, and, apparently, neither we nor the Saudis have the defenses to prevent such an attack.

A more fundamental question arises: If the United States was not attacked, why is it our duty to respond militarily to an attack on Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia is not a member of NATO. It is not a treaty ally. The Middle East Security Alliance or “Arab NATO” chatted up a year ago to contain Iran — of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states — was stillborn. We are under no obligation to fight the Saudis’ war.

Nor is Saudi Arabia a natural American ally.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman runs an Islamic autocracy.

He inserted himself into first position in the line of succession to the throne of his father, who’s in failing health. He locked up his brother princes at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton to shake them down for billions of dollars.

He summoned the prime minister of Lebanon to the kingdom, where the crown prince forced him to resign in humiliation. He has ostracized Qatar from Arab Gulf councils. He has been accused of complicity in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

With his U.S.-built and bought air force, the Crown Prince has made a hell on earth of Yemen to crush the Houthis rebels who hold the capital.

The question President Trump confronts today:

How does he get his country back off the limb he climbed out on while listening to the Republican neocons and hawks he defeated in 2016, but who have had an inordinate influence over his foreign policy?

See https://buchanan.org/blog/can-trump-still-avoid-war-with-iran-137515 (emphasis added)

Of course Buchanan is correct.

The shills for Israel in Washington are as thick as fleas. They pushed the United States into the tragic Iraq War; and they are trying desperately again to push us into a war with Iran.

Some of them are evil “Israel Firsters,” who must be stopped at all costs. Others are simply useful stooges, who are as un-American as Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

It is unlikely that President Trump will go to war anytime soon. After all, an overwhelming number of Americans elected him to keep us out of foreign wars, not to embark on new ones.

Also, the greatest force for war in the Middle East, Israel’s Netanyahu, may be gone soon—which cannot happen fast enough.

8 10 2019
Timothy D. Naegele

Never Again In The Middle East: Not One More American Life

Pat Buchanan—an adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and a former GOP presidential aspirant himself—has written:

The backstage struggle between the Bush interventionists and the America-firsters who first backed Donald Trump for president just exploded into open warfare, which could sunder the Republican Party.

At issue is Trump’s decision to let the Turkish army enter Northern Syria, to create a corridor between Syrian Kurds and the Turkish Kurds of the PKK, which the U.S. and Turkey regard as a terrorist organization.

“A disaster in the making,” says Lindsey Graham. “To abandon the Kurds” would be a “stain on America’s honor.”

“A catastrophic mistake,” said Rep. Liz Cheney.

“If reports about US retreat in Syria are accurate,” tweeted Marco Rubio, Trump will have “made a grave mistake.”

“The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake,” said ex-U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, “we must always have the backs of our allies. ” But of our NATO ally of almost 70 years, Haley said, “Turkey is not our friend.”

Sen. Mitt Romney called it a “betrayal”:

“The President’s decision to abandon our Kurd allies in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal. It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”

Trump tweeted this defense of his order to U.S. forces not to resist Turkish intervention and the creation of a Turkish corridor in Syria from the eastern bank of the Euphrates to Iraq:

“The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades. … I held off this fight for … almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.”

When, in December, Trump considered ordering all U.S. troops home from Syria, Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned in protest.

Behind this decision is Trump’s exasperation at our NATO allies’ refusal to take back for trial their own citizens whom we and the Kurds captured fighting for ISIS.

The U.S. has “pressed France, Germany, and other European nations, from which many captured ISIS fighters came, to take them back, but they … refused,” said a Sunday White House statement. “The United States will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost. … Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.”

What are the arguments interventionists are using to insist that U.S. forces remain in Syria indefinitely?

If we pull out, says Graham, the Kurds will be forced, for survival, to ally themselves with Bashar Assad.

True, but the Kurds now occupy a fourth of Syria, and this is not sustainable. We have to consider reality. Assad, the Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah have won the war against the Sunni rebels we and our Arab friends armed and equipped.

We are told that the Kurds will be massacred by Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan, who sees them as terrorist allies of the PKK.

But the Turks occupied the Syrian border west of the Euphrates and the Kurds withdrew without massacres. And how long must we stay in Syria to defend the Kurds against the Turks? Forever?

If we depart, ISIS will come back, says Cheney: “Terrorists thousands of miles away can and will use their safe-havens to launch attacks against America.”

But al-Qaida and ISIS are in many more places today than they were when we intervened in the Middle East. Must we fight forever over there — to be secure over here? Why cannot Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States deal with ISIS and al-Qaida in their own backyard?

Why are ISIS and al-Qaida over there our problem over here?

“This will throw the region into further chaos,” says Graham.

But if Trump’s decision risks throwing the region into “further chaos,” what, if not wholesale U.S. intervention, created the “present chaos”?

Consider. Today, the Taliban conduct more attacks and control much more territory than they did in all the years since we first intervened in 2001.

Sixteen years after we marched to Baghdad, protests against the Iraqi regime took hundreds of lives last week, and a spreading revolt threatens the regime.

Saudi Arabia is tied down and arguably losing the war it launched against the Houthi rebels in 2015. Iran or its surrogates, with a handful of cruise missiles and drones, just shut down half of the Saudi oil production.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is awakening to his nation’s vulnerability and may be looking to negotiate with Tehran.

Among those objecting most loudly to an American withdrawal from the forever wars of the Middle East are those who were the most enthusiastic about plunging us in.

And, yes, there is a price to be paid for letting go of an empire, but it is almost always less than the price of holding on.

See https://buchanan.org/blog/is-trump-at-last-ending-our-endless-wars-137583 (“Is Trump At Last Ending Our ‘Endless Wars’?“) (emphasis added)

First, there was the senseless Vietnam War—brought to us by JFK, Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara—in which friends of mine died for nothing.

Then, there was the Iraq War—brought to us by Israel and its neocon shills and surrogates in Washington—in which more than 5,000 Americans died and many more were maimed, and trillions of dollars were wasted, for nothing.

No more wars, certainly in the Middle East, even if Israel’s survival is at stake. The Middle East is not America’s fight, and never will be.

Pat Buchanan is correct:

Among those objecting most loudly to an American withdrawal from the forever wars of the Middle East are those who were the most enthusiastic about plunging us in.

Israel, first and foremost—behind closed doors.

. . .

On a personal note, the Kurds have been our friends and allies. An independent state of Kurdistan should be created for them, just like Armenia is an independent state, and the same is true of Israel.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenia (“Armenia”) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdistan (“Kurdistan”)

8 10 2019
H. Craig Bradley

AMERICA AND AMERICANS FIRST

Like it or not, the political tide has turned. President Trump wants no more foreign wars or entanglements and is taking progressive steps to unwind previous commitments in the Middle East and elsewhere. America is shrinking its global footprint and can no longer afford the costs of being “the world’s policeman”. In short, Americans are fed-up with endless foreign wars and conflicts.

We need to pull back and that is exactly what President Trump is doing in Syria and elsewhere. The Neocons of former presidential administrations were dedicated to nation building and military interventionism as a foreign policy tool. The dismissal of neocon and warmonger, John Bolton was part of Trump’s break from the folly of former Presidents. We need a break. Plus, with $1 Trillion a year deficits, we simply can not afford any more military (mis-)adventures.

I say its been a long time coming. The Kurds need to stand on their own two feet, as they say. We can still sent them weapons and ammo, but they need to fight their own battles. We need to take care of America First. Screw the rest of the (whole) world. The world, after all, is just shit anyway.

8 10 2019
Timothy D. Naegele

Spoken like a true isolationist, Craig.

Yes, I agree that we must employ/deploy an “America First” national policy/strategy, which President Trump is doing. I want the Kurds to survive and prosper, like the Armenians are doing today. And yes too, Americans are tired of foreign entanglements; and we must pick and choose carefully where we get involved.

But we have enemies abroad who would love to destroy the United States and the American people; and they must not be “neglected” or overlooked. They include China, Russia, North Korea and various terrorist groups around the globe. This is where our focus must be, not on the “cesspool” that is the Middle East.

With our energy independence and dominance comes the ability to cut the Middle East loose, and let the “chips fall where they may,” which is what President Trump is doing.

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