“Unless American leaders begin accepting limits on what pure military force can achieve (without becoming doves), and more fundamentally, inherent limitations on their power to conduct war, then a sound strategy will never be crafted in war. Rather, we will continue to “do stuff.” Action will be conflated with accomplishment. And, threats will never be mitigated. Instead, they will simply multiply–even as we increase our expenditures and commitments to the conflict.”
“The next time some hack tries to argue that the War in Afghanistan was the “good war,” just remember Shakespeare’s old line about life being a “Tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Much like his jog through the deserts of Iraq, former President Bush’s War in Afghanistan lost sight of the real enemy: jihadist terror networks in favor of an unpalatable regime (in this case, the Taliban).”
“Fear drove American policymakers to abandon practices they deemed as too cumbersome for protecting Americans from terrorists. Their assumption was both right and wrong. I do believe that the CIA’s torture program helped to break otherwise implacable terrorists in time to save some American lives (and give other viable intelligence on terror operations and organization).”
“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).”
“Until we achieve that kind of innovation and prosperity, then, the United States will continue to be mired in history and hegemony and unipolarity will be a thing of the past. Thus, we will be forced to operate in a balance-of-power paradigm in which the Chinese are very near-to-parity with the United States and the Russians continue nipping at our proverbial heels (despite Russia being a country in severe decline). We will live in a world in which geopolitical risk to the United States is at an all-time high, since we are unable to overcome the major threats posed by rogue states and terrorists also. However, it will take some time to generate the kind of economic boom that is needed. And, it’s not an entirely bad thing to reassess some of our preconceived notions and support for institutions that bear little relevance to this new-old world order of hard geopolitics, strict national interests, and competing spheres of influence around the world.”
“Clearly, the fight against ISIS has shifted away from the Mideast. President Trump’s forthcoming National Security Strategy memo rightly focuses on boosting homeland security. But the president’s national security team should also intensify its support of Asian governments where Islamic extremism is on the rise. Further, the United States should expand its special forces activities in Africa and Asia, in an effort to neutralize the Islamic State’s threat before it becomes a real problem, as it did in northern Iraq and Syria in 2014.”
“I’d say buy oil stocks now because in the next several months, things are likely to ratchet up in the Middle East. If the Qatari imbroglio is resolved in Saudi Arabia’s favor (it is likely to, especially now that Qatar is reaching out to Israel), then it is quite likely that the Trump Administration will abrogate the former Obama Administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran. Once that happens, it will only be a matter of time before there is greater regional conflict.”
America doesn’t–and shouldn’t want to–fight long wars. The immense failures of the Global War on Terror prove why.
A 15-minute analysis of how the Trump Administration, along with the Sunni Arab states and Israel is attempting to restore a balance of power in the Mideast aimed at 1) containing Iran, 2) countering Islamic extremism, 3) ensuring the flow of oil, and 4) protecting Israel.
Erik Khzmalyan writes, “In the end, it is the proxy countries that pay the price for the mistakes made by external powers. In this case, we might see Syria disappear from the world map in a century that so hopelessly claimed that geopolitics is a thing of the past.”