Calling for a time-out to regroup

You want to see revisionist history, just watch this 5:43 minute FOX News video of Senator John McCain bloviating on what we should do to “defeat” ISIS.  For every foreign crisis, McCain’s answer is to send arms or American troops/trainers.  McCain bashed the Obama administration for walking away from Libya after Qaddafi was executed, leaving a gaping power vacuum.  But the “coalition” air campaign in Libya was sold by McCain and Madame Secretary Clinton based on a pack of lies and half-truths – there was no imminent humanitarian crisis.  There also was no democratic political opposition waiting in the wings to turn Libya into some oasis of democracy.  What was in Libya were violent Al Qaeda affiliates, many of whom traveled to Iraq to fight Americans and whom Qaddafi was cooperating with America on fighting.  McCain met with Gadaffi ,a partner in the war on terror in 2009, but as soon as Secretary Clinton beat the war drums in 2011, he did an about face.

In Libya, as in every other American intervention since 9/11, we didn’t have any real follow-on plan, so John McCain is right there, but he skips the part that he was part and parcel of selling the air campaign to oust Gadaffi, which allowed these jihadists to capitalize on the power vacuum we  helped create.  He did not have any plan to offer for the aftermath – he never does!  He can be counted on to get on TV and do this saber-rattling routine, “arm them, send trainers,  we need boots on the ground, blah, blah, blah…”  You can expect Lindsey Graham to follow-up the charges of  President Obama doing nothing to defeat ISIS and angrily demand “action”.

Frankly, I’m sick of the misguided, reckless, foreign policy pontifications  coming from top leadership in both parties.  Secretary Clinton ratcheted up the Libya campaign based on a bunch of fear-mongering claptrap – not solid intelligence on the ground.  Senator McCain hired the lying piece of O’Bagy- age after she got sacked from the Institute for the Study of War.  Just who is Ms O’Bagy, former captain of the Egyptian women’s soccer team, self-professed Syrian expert, fake doctorate degree holder?  We don’t know her background, just like we don’t know the background of Clinton sidekick, Huma Abedin.  We now know Secretary Clinton had Sid Bluementhal providing her intelligence on her private email server, which raises question about the source of his intelligence, the vetting of that information and what role her private sources of intelligence played in her decisions.  Senator McCain has Elizabeth O’Bagy to decipher the forces on the ground in Syria for him (Lord, help us all).  In the White House, the President appears to have handed over the reins of power and the adult responsibility of making the tough decisions to Valerie Jarrett, while Ben Rhodes gets tossed talking points from which to concoct soap operatic “narratives”, which serve in the place of facts.

In Syria, Assad went from Hillary’s “reformer” and John Kerry’s  “friend” to some madman butcher in Damascus.  We’ve been regaled with demands to arm the “moderates” – ahem, in this brutal civil war, we’ve still got “experts” on that hunt for illusive moderates…  That said, shut-up already about sending more troops, training Iraqi troops (who would suggest this crap after we dismantled Saddam’s army and spent years unsuccessfully training Iraqi  security forces???), arming more rebel bands of who-the-hell knows whom they really are (let’s agree, it’s doubtful they’re moderates).

First let’s talk about what are the US interests in the region – make a list and explain why it’s a US interest – convince me, an average American citizen.  Next tell me who are America’s allies and adversaries in the region and then break down the remaining factions and players into some groups and define who they are.  Then give me a real intelligence assessment of the refugee crisis and how that will complicate security across the region for decades and be a destabilizing factor for the foreseeable future.  Tell me about the multitude of factions and who their enemies and allies are (be careful here, sides switch frequently, so by the time we arm and train a group, they might have switched sides, carting our weapons with them and willing to use those weapons against us).

What happens if we defeat ISIS – we’re back to the same thing – another power vacuum.  We need some end game plans before we aid, arm, bomb, “defeat” anymore “evil-doers” to help “freedom-fighters” .  A strategy based on reality, not pipe dreams and wishful thinking would be nice.

Senator McCain is right about President Obama “leading from behind”, but to lead from the front requires us to first define our American interests and our long term goals in the region.  To reach some consensus on our American interests, it would behoove our political leaders to pick up some books on the history of the region and get to understand the complex political dynamics there.  Then, America, as a wanna-be world leader, if I were in charge, well, I’d put on my big girl panties, and open direct, frank talks with the leaders in the region and with other world leaders – heck pick the 4 other permanent members of the UN security council for starters.  To date, we’ve seen John Kerry choking in his own swirling Syrian sandspout of overblown rhetoric and the Russians rescued him by intervening with Assad.  Lately Kerry’s been bowing to the mullahs in Iran so much he’ll need a top-notch chiropractor to straighten his spine, but perhaps growing some backbone is a futile effort.

What we have not seen is America offer anything in the region that has improved regional stability since 9/11.   Our policies (well-meaning in intent) have resulted in catastrophic regional instability and everywhere we’ve added more fuel (military aid, both weapons and/or troops) is more unstable, more factionalized  than before we got involved.   Perhaps it’s time to take a deep breath and do some deep soul-searching on what it is we are really trying to do in this region, define what our American interests are, what we can feasibly do to help stabilize the region, and find ways to put a damper on this raging inferno rather than tossing more fuel onto it.

Here are some of my ideas on the big picture strategic objectives for America, maybe, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and other American leaders could start explaining how they see America’s role in the world:


Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Military, Politics, Terrorism

9 responses to “Calling for a time-out to regroup

  1. JK

    “Then give me a real intelligence assessment of the refugee crisis and how that will complicate security across the region for decades and be a destabilizing factor for the foreseeable future.”

    I’d guess maybe we could (to keep ’em [the refugees] from being a source of instability over there) repeat what we did – me using “we” figuratively – anyway, we could repeat what we did in the late ’90s.

    Take a bunch of the refugees from over there and re-settle ’em someplace where they’d have a shot at real peace and economic opportunity. Someplace accepting where they’d not be likely to get on the FBI radar.

    I’d suggest maybe the Minneapolis/St Paul region of Minnesota.

    Integrate ’em right in with the Somali ex-pat community.

    That was quite a brainstrain solving the refugee crisis – you’ll LB give me some period of time to come up with solutions for that other piddling stuff?

  2. Someplace accepting where they’d not be likely to get on the FBI radar.

    Yes, quite a brainstorm JK, now don’t whisper that one too loudly, or the Obama administration will embrace it….

  3. Btw, JK, one of my sons thinks the best thing to do with that powder keg is for the US to back-up and let it explode. Then deal with what’s left…… maybe salt the earth or something…

  4. McCain met with Gadaffi ,a partner in the war on terror in 2009, but as soon as Secretary Clinton beat the war drums in 2011, he did an about face.

    JK has pointed out to me that McCain was the one beating the war drums first – I’ll accept his fact-checking graciously. McCain is always ready for the US to use force without any real strategy.

  5. I rarely agree with Pat Buchanan on anything and I sure don’t want to choose between the Sunnis and Shias, because both come with a helluva lot of terrorist baggage, but before we keep jumping into these smaller territorial battles or the larger war for predominance in the Islamic world, I can agree that we need to define American interests in the region.

    Buchanan, from my viewpoint, holds a decidedly anti-Israeli predilection – so yes, he would want the US to side with Iran, the most virulent anti-Israeli of the two houses of Islam. Before we start picking between the better of two terrible sides, perhaps we need to talk to Israel as the only democracy in the region, our European allies, Russia and China and try to find some agreements on putting out fires rather than adding fuel to them. We do need to be firm with Iran and the House of Saud that we aren’t going to play their game.

    With ISIS – if we really want to “defeat” them – then we need to have some idea how to deal with the power vacuum that will be left. To “defeat” ISIS means we will end up propping up Assad, because the Russians are resupplying him and the Iranians are in Iraq exerting Shia dominance. So, our air-war on ISIS is really only aiding an expansion of a Russian/Iranian sphere of influence, one might even suggest, control in the region. Tough choices for us, definitely, and if we do back out of the fight against ISIS in Iraq, the same outcome with the Russians and Iranians will occur, but the Russians and Iranians will have to use a lot more energy to defeat ISIS. Obama ceded Iraq to Iran by pulling US troops out of Iraq.

    ISIS is getting a lot of military support from somewhere – do we know where? I’m a skeptic that they’re buying it all on the black market. Are the Saudis quietly arming them? We end up being used and stabbed in the back so often in this region, that I am wary. First, though I think we need to define our interests in the region, which goes beyond Buchanan’s trying to sum it up as who are America’s enemies. We have strategic interests, economic interests, interests defined by multinational agreements we’ve signed, etc., so we need to analyze and prioritize our interests.

    Did you notice that Buchanan’s analysis skipped the part about Iranian leaders publicly proclaiming, “Death To America!”, right after Kerry kissed their feet on the nuclear issue? So, ISIS sure isn’t the only, perhaps not even the biggest, “threat” to America in that pit of vipers… where the Religion of Peace reigns supreme.

  6. JK

    Can’t disagree. In either part or parcel.

    And there is blowback, always.

    From 2005;

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