Tag Archives: middle east

Foreign Policy: Less is More

Good news seldom comes from the CIA. Whether it’s secret missions hidden from U.S. taxpayers and citizens or funding secret wars without congressional approval.

The Telegraph reports “[m]illions of dollars worth of weapons sent by the CIA to Jordan for Syrian rebels was stolen by Jordanian intelligence chiefs and sold on the black market.” To add insult to injury, the weapons were stolen by Jordanian military officers — supposedly allies of the U.S.

Unfortunately, this type of incident is not unique and happens quite often. It’s easy to blame the CIA’s incompetence or greedy Jordanian officers for this recurring blunder, but, in reality, the problem is U.S. foreign policy.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a close ally to the United States. But, when close allies steal military supplies from you—maybe it is time to cut back.

The Department of Defense budget for fiscal year 2015 was $495.6 billion in discretionary funding. The U.S. spends more than the next seven countries combined. With approximately half a trillion dollars being spent every year on defense, is the U.S. safer? Is the world safer? I would posit that it is not. A brief look at the Middle East shows a region which seems to have imploded, from Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, to Afghanistan.  

Syria is a great example. The U.S. recently sent soldiers into the region and is supporting rebels fighting the Syrian regime. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is fighting the both Syrian rebels and government itself. Meanwhile, the Syrian regime is fighting both the rebels and ISIS and is backed by Russian airstrikes and Iranian funded militias. The Syrian situation is an obvious no-win situation, yet there are calls from for U.S. foreign policy to do more.

The U.S. cannot be the world’s policeman, and it should not spend like it. Half a trillion dollars is an outrageous bill to pay, and it does not make the American people or the world safer. If members of Congress were serious about cutting spending, they would start with defense. Every dollar needlessly spent on defense is a dollar less in the taxpayer’s pocket.  

The stolen shipment of weapons signifies the recklessness and wastefulness of war. The American people should demand more from their foreign policy—or, in this case, demand less of it.

More Bombs in Syria Aren’t the Answer

Tragedies lead to emotions running high. The terrorists that murdered 130 people in Paris are not to be taken lightly. Those 130 lives deserve much more than passive apathy in response to this brutality. But they also deserve more than hasty recklessness.

A foreign policy that rationally assesses its prior successes and failures, looks at the long-term consequences of its actions, and prioritizes the safety of people against terrorism is the answer to the recent barbaric Paris attacks. The temptation to immediately retaliate by bombing ISIS targets in Syria should not be pursued without careful consideration of the costs. Reason must temper our anger.

Public policy, guided by politicians focused on short-term public opinion, is often shortsighted and brash, especially in the wake of tragedies. Responding to pressure that we “must do something,” and motivated by anger and hate, people pursue thoughtless vengeance, rather than deciding on a course of action through rational deliberation.

Yes, justice should be swift, but we must figure out what justice is before acting.

Read the rest on AntiWar.com here.

UK airstrikes would play straight into the ISIS strategy

Following the horrific and tragic events in Paris the House of Commons is considering today whether it should commit to airstrikes in Syria, in order to combat the threat posed by ISIS. As the times’ current agent of evil, it is necessary that action be taken to eliminate this barbaric threat to civilization. That being said, the actions should not come from Great Britain but from the region where these attacks are originating.

It is important to understand the nature of how ISIS operates in the region, and how it draws in new recruits. Their goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate, and they seek to achieve this through whatever violent means they deem necessary.  But ISIS’ strategy relies as much on recruitment as on  their ability to keep those within their sphere of influence docile and subdued. Airstrikes from western nations only seek to strengthen their hand on both these counts.

In reality, there is nothing that ISIS would like more than for the UK, and other western nations to not only send airstrikes, but to launch an invasion with boots on the ground. This may seem counterintuitive, but there is a method to their madness.

The children of Iraq who faced the operations of our military in 2003 are the fighting age males who are now joining ISIS. For every wedding or village hit by a western drone, more and more people have been spurred into joining Islamic extremists.

This is certainly not a justification for their actions. But we must understand that intervention in the middle east comes with heavy consequences. Even if involvement is kept only to the level of airstrikes, it is unlikely to have positive results.

read the full article at CapX.