In this post, I want to look at foreign policy. This blog is about Montana politics and policy in every aspect, and as a member state in the United States of America, foreign policies from Washington, D.C. affect us profoundly. I believe that Montana has a unique voice on the issue. So from time to time we may engage here on a topic of international relevance.
While this video from TruthRevolt would have you believe that the Middle East is simple–that it is a 1940s cowboy movie complete with black and white hats to denote who the good and bad guys are—I believe anyone smarter than a potato can see through the absurdity. The video would lead a person to believe that there is disagreement in Washington D.C. about foreign policy. As someone who has spent some time there and a lot of time thinking about my experience on “The Hill,” let me assure you: there is no such disagreement. There are two “sides” to a consensus of Washington, D.C. foreign policy period, end of story. Dissension will not be tolerated, you isolationist.
As it is with all things D.C. There is a “left” and “right” to the sides, but on this topic they pretty much only disagree in motivation and rhetoric; their actions and assumptions are exactly the same. The foreign policy neoconservatives, as represented here by TruthRevolt, somehow appear to believe that conflict in the Middle East started in 2008 (10 seconds into the video) and Iran became a country with no historical context whatsoever in 1979 (See here Ben Shapirio’s, “Obama’s Faith in Iran”). They engage in a history selection bias to craft a media narrative that is scaled to give you the impression that all our Middle Eastern woes are because of Democrats. Never mind that Democrats do exactly the same thing in the power seat while they are in office.
In a way, U.S. policy in the Middle East has been “progressive” since Wilson administration. But this version of progressivism is completely unlike the progressivism that most leftist activists, peace-loving liberals, and your average workaday union member believe in. D.C. Progressivism believes in the same core principles as the Neoconservatives and it shows when you look at their decisions in the last 25 years. We could go back much further but let us start there. The same rationale and assumption of America’s role as hegemonic power undergirds the decision to invade Iraq as it does the decision to stay in Afghanistan, as the decision to maintain troops in Saudi Arabia after gulf war 1, to bomb Kosovo, to draw a red line on chemical weapons, and to push for war and/or arms for rebels in Syria. You get the idea.
(1 Minute into the TR video) Maybe “attacking our enemies” did not work out as planned? No serious observer can deny that we really have 3 options for how to deal with Iraq at the beginning of the 2000s. Our options were:
1. Saddaam Hussein running the geographic area of Iraq, the U.S. playing a role insolating and containing him if he doesn’t play by the rules.
2. Topple the Hussain regime and commit to perpetual American troop deployments to Iraq, a 100 year commitment (according to Dick, McCain and so on).
3. Topple the stabilizing regime and allow the rise of militias who form Islamofascist (rather than secular fascists) governments when America either pulls out due to war weariness or financial ruin.
Neoconservatives and D.C. Progressives believe that number 2 was the best choice. Everyone else on the planet thinks number 1 was the best choice and we got number 3. Hooray for compromise, right?
The exact opposite is true in the case of Egypt, Syria and Libya. Neoconservatives think we should back the strong man, secular dictators and not attack an “ally” with rhetoric supportive of democratic regime change. Then they criticize Obama for doing the exact same thing they advocated for in 2002.
The Surge, oh wow. The misinformation on the surge is so massive it is staggering. The most serious data driven study on why the surge “worked” was done by a guy named Robert Pape (video presentation here), and the DOD’s own findings of the surge suggest that success was the overall reduction of troops from Iraq at the time. If this sentence blows your mind you might want to note, we were not the only country in Iraq. The surge was an inadequate backfill of the holes left over when other nations fled the country. That is why a surge “worked” in Iraq but failed miserably in Afghanistan. I have never seen an actual accounting of this difference from a D.C. foreign policy expert. Mr. Klaven then skips over how the Washington consensus at the time decided to give arms and armament to Syrian groups who turned out to be ISIS. Maybe because this was backed by so called “conservatives” like McCain and other hawks.
I am a fan of TruthRevolt’s work on domestic policy. I even like a lot of what David Horowitz has to say about modern liberalism and exposing the ideological underpinnings of the left. Horowtiz’s “Freedom Center” backs TruthRevolt, or at least its video segments.
America can oppose radical Islam and protect itself from radical Islamists while not taking the posture illustrated in TruthRevolt’s videos. America cannot and should not plan the collective security of the world. The Sykes-Picot Agreement lines are not handed down by God. They were drawn by regimes TruthRevolt would naturally find completely intolerable. Why would the U.S. commit 100 years of blood and chaos to lines drawn by men on a map for the spoils of an unneeded Victorian-era war? Those are the questions TruthRevolt should be asking, not, “How dumb is Obama’s foreign policy?”