The Syrian Kurds worked with the US against ISIS. That alliance ended the moment the fight against ISIS did. As England’s Lord Palmerston said, “Nations have no permanent friends or allies; they only have permanent interests.”
“If Trump does what Bolton and the others are warning, then America will look weak and it will become mired in another Iraq War. What’s more, threatening a world war with nuclear-armed Russia over humanitarian interests is a foolish endeavor of the sort usually reserved for navel-gazing academics, like former UN ambassador Samantha Powers, not a freewheeling businessman, like Donald Trump. “
“This is the endless treadmill that the civilised world is on: Libyans (and others like them) disturb the peace of the world. In turn, the West tries to kill those who would impose their will on others (because the others include us).
It is a recurrent police action and no more than that is needed; it is pointless to stay around to do some nation-building – the mistake of Afghanistan.”
“For the United States, it needs to not only temper its expectations (and therefore slow down the tempo of its intervention in the region generally, but specifically in Syria), and start focusing on larger geopolitical concerns. Obviously, the United States cannot (and should not) simply abandon the region, as many on the Far Right insist. But, we must be willing to give greater levels of support–and responsibility–to our local allies. That is our only hope for not breaking the American military in the quicksand of Mideast politics (which we presently are in danger of doing).”
“American war planners in the Trump Administration must, therefore, opt to hit Assad’s air force, but to leave him enough capabilities that he has a reasonable chance at stemming the jihadist surge that will inevitably come from the American air campaign. Trump must also use the 2,200 American troops in Syria as a bargaining chip to get Russia and Turkey to pull both Iran and Assad himself back from the hostilities, and help to create a negotiated settlement that not only ended the conflict, but helped to establish a more stable political environment in Syria.”
“No, it is not in America’s interest to simply ignore Assad’s repeated chemical weapons use, or to empower his regime — at the expense of our regional allies. That would actually force America to expand its role in the Mideast at precisely the time it needs to reduce its physical presence there. Thus, a retaliatory — proportional — strike against Assad for his chemical weapons attack would be a justified use of American force (and would actually solidify America’s position in the region, without expanding our role there).”
“How is a country gassing its own people—as awful as that is—an American interest for an America First president?”
“Thomas Aquinas once said, ‘if the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would leave it in port forever.’ This more than anything seems to represent the dominant mindset among America’s foreign policy elite. While Aquinas was a wise and quotable man, I find the concept of viewing American foreign policy as a ship with limits meant to be tested–even if it destroys the ship–to be very frightening (and irresponsible). Rather than captaining a ship in dangerous waters, I prefer to look at foreign policy as a medical doctor looks at healing a patient. The first duty of a medical doctor is to uphold the Hippocratic oath. That oath, which all doctors are required to swear fealty to, simply states, ‘First, do no harm.’ American foreign policy practitioners need to live by the Hippocratic oath as well. Imagine what the world would look like toady if the emergency men who populated the George W. Bush Administration lived according to the Hippocratic oath.”
“At a time when Saudi Arabia in particular is seeking to create a grand regional alliance to counter the rising Iranian hegemony, taking an open-handed approach to the refugee crisis being kicked up by Saudi Arabia and Iran’s regional proxy wars is one, sure way to win a major soft power victory in that ongoing struggle. It should also be America’s price of admission for dealing with this alliance: if the Sunni Arab states want American backing for this endeavor against Iran, these states must accept the lion’s share of Muslims fleeing the region’s various civil conflicts.”
The European Union is collapsing. Nationalism and regionalism are consuming the supranational entity. Between the refugee crisis and Russia’s aggressions, the EU simply cannot hold together. Therefore, the U.S. must take a new approach to Europe.