I try to be well informed on many public policy matters, but I pretend no great expertise on international relations and conflict. That said, some thoughts on those subjects in light of the current conflict in the Middle East.
As my daughter is learning in her government class, a fundamental duty of national governments is to protect their people from external threats. After World War I, some Republicans became isolationist, claiming we had little or no stake in many international affairs, and the Great War showed the costs and risks of getting involved.
They were certainly right about the costs and risks. If all recorded history had not been sufficient to teach us the horrors of war, the Great War certainly should have done so. The loss of human lives and damage to many survivors and their families, the destruction of cities and towns, of economies, infrastructure and cultures is on its face insane unless it is the only way to avoid even worse developments.
We did not get the worst of that war, although we got plenty. But Europeans who fought it from start to finish and on their own grounds should have learned because they did. Nonetheless, they had little choice but to fight World War II because the aggressive evil of racist German National Socialism and Italian fascism attacked them viciously, leaving no alternative.
The isolationists thought we could stay out of that war because we had oceans between us and it. Some folks believed then and now that if we’re peaceful, non-interventionist and amicable with other countries, they’ll respond in kind. These views were definitively shattered by the murderous, racist, aggressive Japanese militarism in Asia and then Pearl Harbor.
Two things were clear after WWII. First, there are significant numbers of evil people and ideas in the world and they sometimes control the means to wreak great destruction. So, we must be ready to fight and defeat them.
Second, mountains and oceans are no longer significant barriers behind which to hide. Moreover, there is a compelling positive reason to actively engage with other nations: the huge economic and cultural benefits we get from trade and international relations.
So, we need to maintain a substantial, ready national defense.
The expansionist, totalitarian and murderous evils of Soviet, Korean, Cuban and Chinese communism proved such malign forces were not wiped out in two world wars. It seems there’s always another one waiting around the corner.
However, with the end of the world wars and the rise of communism following hard on, engaging in war and preparation for it became normal. Indeed, as President Eisenhower warned, a military-industrial complex had grown from these circumstances and now had an interest in arms production and fomenting conflict. The MIC is still as powerful, influential and pernicious as ever.
One important lesson of the fall of the Soviet empire is that evil doctrines, if contained, will fail from their own evil. Thus, the implosion of the Soviet Union because it could not compete with democratic market liberalism. (For a while, China took a capitalist road, but returned to ruthless authoritarianism.)
Some academics proclaimed this triumph brought the end of history. They forgot there are always new evil doctrines.
In the last half century, Islamofascism has metastasized because it originated in the Mideast, where the unearned endowment of oil and gas riches, shared by the Saudis with Islamofascists as a defensive measure, allowed it. Islamofascism is evil because it is in its essence hostile to individual liberty and markets. And because it views terrorism as a legitimate element of war.
President Bush 43 erred in embracing nation building as a counter-measure. President Trump got things right in promising to stop the endless wars where we have no real interests at stake. That means most of the Middle East, not including Israel. His surgical strike to kill Major General Soleimani was an ideal response to Iran, especially after foregoing drone strikes.
Now he must find a way to end most of our involvement there and bring most troops home while proportionately parrying Iran’s counterstrikes.
We don’t know a lot. Yet. What we do know is that a US drone strike hit Baghdad airport killing Qasem Soleimani (and one of his deputies), a top general and very powerful man in Iran. Additionally, the U.S. will be sending thousands more troops to the Middle East in case of retaliation. The State Department claims that the drone strike happened to prevent an “imminent attack” in the region that would put American lives at risk.
CNN is quoting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, Kentucky) as saying:
"Soleimani made it his life's work to take the Iranian revolutionary call for death to America and death to Israel and turned them into action. But this terrorist mastermind was not just a threat to the United States and Israel. For more than a decade, he masterminded Iran's malevolent and destabilizing work throughout the entire Middle East,"
And the Democrats seem to agree with Schumer saying that no one will shed a tear over Soleimani’s death. Although top Democrats, especially those on the Intel Commities were not briefed beforehand about the strike which is potentially problematic.
Okay. So those seem to be the general facts as everyone is reporting. Since both sides agree this guy was a terrorist mastermind I will take it on faith that his death will save innocent lives. But … now what? Well, the cynical side of me agrees with many folks who have pointed out that President Trump predicted this very event - for Obama. In 2011 and 2012 Trump tweeted that Obama would start a war with Iran in order to win an election. Here they are:
In order to get elected, @BarackObama will start a war with Iran.
Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.
Don't let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected--be careful Republicans!
Trump on Nov. 16, 2011:
“Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He's weak and ineffective. So the only way he figures that he's going to get reelected — and as sure as you're sitting there — is to start a war with Iran.”
So, is this just a Wag the Dog tactic? Is Trump doing what he “predicted” Obama would do? Even though … Obama never did that thing, but whatever. Let’s just ignore that for now.
War Presidents are popular. It’s true; however, I suspect the truth is … all of the above. This Soleimani guy was clearly a terrorist scumbag and I don’t care that he’s dead. The drone strike also helps Donald Trump in the popularity polls because war sells. So, I think we have a little of column A and a little of column B.
To be honest, I don’t think this will lead to a full scale war. The U.S. launches drone strikes a lot. Probably more than you realize. Remember that Obama was and still is criticized for the large amount of drone strikes he sent out. Well, it was widely reported that in 2009-2010, President Obama launched 186 drone strikes on Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. In 2017 and 2018, President Trump launched 238 drone strikes in those regions. Again, Obama was openly criticized for launching too many drone strikes. And Trump has launched much more. So, this is nothing new, especially to the people living in said regions.
I’m not going to weigh in too heavily with the “but drone strikes create terrorists” argument, even though it's true. But I will say that if Iran was going to start a war with the U.S. because of drone strikes - they probably would have already done it. On the other hand, this was a very popular person in Iran who is publicaly claiming that they will retaliate the U.S.
Let's hope cooler heads prevail. An all out war with Iran would be ... ugly.
“The first casualty when war comes is truth” - U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson in 1917
You have probably heard the question, “Are you willing to die for your country?” You probably answered in the affirmative.
However, what I want to know is this, would you live for your country?
If your answer is yes, then you may want to know what your government is now advocating for concerning Iran, for now is the time to now live for your country by standing up and putting a stop to this warmongering.
Here again, the US government and the warmongers are now casting into the minds of the American people through the media propagandists that Iran must now be dealt with, all the while ignoring corruption and crimes in their own country as to how American politicians need to be dealt with lawfully (Amos 5:15; Matthew 7:30-5; 1 Peter 4:17).
Furthermore, when the fighting commences, you can rest assured that it will not be the warmongers fighting. It will be your sons and daughters fighting and bleeding and dying in their unconstitutional wars while making millions for the military industrial complex that we were warned about by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1961.
"Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy." –Henry Kissinger
Being in the military is honorable yet, it is not honorable when you help war criminals commit crimes against innocent nations (If that nation is innocent).
Therefore, make it honorable by upholding the enumerated laws found within the US Constitution (Deuteronomy 25:1; Article 6, Section 2, US Constitution) against all enemies both “foreign and domestic.”
Again, as the media propagandists now begin to ramp up their efforts in brainwashing Americans with a dictator and another country that we need to go to war against, do remember that this was all forecasted many years ago by General Wesley Clark. He had shared with us 18 years ago that Iran will be one of the 7 countries that our military will be used to take down. After all, he said, “We have a good military and we can take down governments.”
Maybe that explains why we have 737 military bases in 148 countries today.