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The United States on the World Stage: Slow-Motion Train Wreck

7 October 2019

The Slow-Motion Train Wreck.

Today’s foreign affairs headline reflects, in microcosm, our status as the “world super power.” We are no longer that, of course. We are an international train wreck. Specifically, what your are about to read is why I put chapter 16 in Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore. More generally, realities like what you’ll see below are why I wrote the book.

Let me preface by saying that precious few who read this will come away with the intended message. The reason for that is simple. Folks who read political/social commentary tend to lean in one strong direction or another. In today’s childish political environment that mostly equates to the two camps of I-LOVE-EVERYTHING-ABOUT-TRUMP (ILEAT) or TRUMP-IS-THE-ANTICHRIST (TITA). Both camps are brain damaged and rarely capable of real discourse.

The ILEAT believes that POTUS is a genius. No matter how stupid or immature his comments or tweets, they are convinced the gaffes are really signs of an underlying genius that only ILEAT members have the gift to understand. They believe he authored the tax reduction and actually “cured” us of Obamacare. He did neither. They believe that a wall, because he told them so, was going to solve out illegal immigration problem. It won’t. But don’t tell ILEAT that.

This cadre also believes that Donald Trump really is the greatest dealmaker of all time. A dealmaker he may be (there is doubt about who actually negotiated his deals in civilian life) but that hasn’t served him well so far in his international dealings and that is what we will discuss here.

And let’s face it, 1600 words is nothing. But for the average voter right now it’s considered a tough slog.

Look at North Korea, Hong Kong, Europe, China, Iran. They are taking advantage of Trump’s overtures to gain legitimacy. In the case of North Korea and Iran it is ONLY in Trump’s talk of making deals with them that they have even the pretense of legitimacy. But… in order to make the “beautiful, beautiful” deals the Donald claims are on the horizon, he needs people on the other side who want to make a deal. So far, none of them do, so they string him along with hints of deals and short, meaningless “negotiations”.

On the TITA side you have the idiots who think everything wrong with the US, especially foreign affairs, is the fault of Donald J. Trump. This is even more absurd than the former group.

Whether you agree with Trump’s approach or not (I don’t) there is one truth that can only be denied by the most credulous and ignorant: He is at least trying to move us back onto the world stage and regain some power and prestige.

Generations of politicians before him, both legislative and executive, have slowly ground away our position in the world mostly through a combination of incompetence, cowardice and cruelty. I’ll explain how that is still true today. Trump’s immediate predecessor actually took sides AGAINST America’s interests from his infamous apology tour through his standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the mullahs, against his own people, to guarantee Iran nuclear weapons by 2024.

Trump may be flailing from scheme to scheme, but he is at least trying. I will also credit him thusly: I think much of what we have seen of our policies throughout the Middle East are the result of advice going to Trump from advisors who have no greater concept of success there than he has.

So, with all that said, why write the article at all?

Someone has to say it.

One other caveat: This is not intended as an argument for or against new adventures in foreign lands. It is a critique of our existing ones.

If you prefer to get straight to the big picture, read the book.

So let’s dive in.

The morning headlines announced Trump’s reversal of his December reversal of his previous announcement that we were leaving Northern Syria. Back in December, when he first blurted out that we were leaving the region it became immediately clear that he was acting on impulse and had not sought the advice of the Pentagon or the Joint Chiefs. When they had a collective conniption, Trump quickly said we would stay to protect the Kurds (loyal allies) from Turkey’s clear intention to wipe them out. This morning? Meh…not so much.

From Korea to Iraq and Afghanistan we can now add Syria to the list of places where we wasted American and foreign lives for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. In most cases, we have then left those who fought by our side to be broken by the enemy, as is now the case with the Kurds.

The poor, pathetic Kurds. Three times in three decades we sought their support in our ham-handed dealings in Iraq, and now Syria. Three times they took our side asking that we be there for them, if not to help them gain the independence they sought, then at least to keep them from being overrun by their enemies. And now, again, we have failed them.

Remember, it was Bashir al-Assad, emboldened by Barack Obama’s fecklessness, who decided to break from his father’s harsh but pragmatic style and start to crush his opponents overtly. Obama’s repeated lack of response (no law said he had to respond) left a power vacuum too tempting for Russia to resist. Assad had made too many domestic enemies. Seducing him was a cakewalk for Putin. 

In regaining a foothold in the Mediterranean not enjoyed since the 70’s, Russia made a cold calculation to let ISIS run free in northern Syria. Their presence there and in Northern Iraq, on real estate we paid for with blood – more than once – was icing on the cake for both Putin and Assad. They knew our position in Iraq was severely diminished thanks to Obama’s intentional destruction of the previous Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Even the sorry, corrupt government in Iraq at the time knew Obama didn’t care how many American lives were lost there when he sent Joe “Duh” Biden to “renegotiate” (SOFA) less than a month before it expired.

This set the stage for Iran to become the dominant force over the area we had fought for.

With the US busy in Iraq, Assad could continue to gas villages sympathetic to his internal enemies. If we moved against Syria, we would be the aggressors, on paper anyway.


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And the situation didn’t improve with age. Obama played paddy cake with ISIS and Putin for the final years of his presidency. His obsequious use of the term ISIL (even ISIS didn’t use the self-aggrandizing term for themselves anymore) throughout made it even more distasteful to watch.

The Trump administration reinvigorated W’s limited war practice to just barely rid Iraq and part of Syria of ISIS. Now, with the help of Turkey, ISIS is reconstituting as we speak.

The only locals who actually fought effectively through all this were the Kurds.

And so we come full circle. This is the same Turkey who will roll right past our people in the region and try to stomp the remaining Kurdish forces there into a fine paste. The Donald is making tough noises about this, “I’ll wreck your economy” and such. But that is for domestic consumption. If Turkey respected Trump they wouldn’t be sheltering ISIS or pushing into Syria to kill Kurds. They are doing both.

This post isn’t about whether we should involve ourselves in these places. That ship has sailed. The fact is, under an endless succession of post-Vietnam yes-men, we ARE there. We have once again wasted American lives and not pushed the contest to an advantageous outcome.

The few reading this who understand how the world actually works, get it. But the others?…

To the TITAs among you: Did Trump’s predecessors do any better? While I disagree with his approach to our present situation, I would contend POTUS is doing as well or better than any of his predecessors since WWII. That’s a REALLY LOW goddamn bar.

To the ILEATs; However we feel about Iraq (I don’t think we needed to go there) what of our actions since?  All those Americans killed and injured taking territory – in the case of some cities, more than once. Did they do it so Iran could take control of two thirds of the fucking country? And the guys who fought ISIS, was that so the nut bags could take cover in Turkey and come back later? How do we sum this up? Was it all just a fucking gesture? Do we now get to “harrumph” everyone and walk away having accomplished nothing, or worse leaving the field to a happier, healthier enemy (Iran)?

I’ll answer all those questions for you. No, Trump’s predecessors have done no better. They were all gullible enough to think limited war is a good idea. (Some jerkoff in the last 20 or so years came up with the term asymmetrical warfare as a synonym for limited war. It sounds so POWER POINT!) And yes, we are going to treat the sacrifices, both ours and those of our enemies, as a vapid gesture and we are going to walk away.

 

Thank you TITAs and ILEATs. Thanks to all who think war is good or bad based on who is president at the time. And of course, thanks to the governing class. Because of you, we WILL do this all again after we finally absent ourselves from Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s because many reading this are hopping mad right now – not at the situation, but at me – and you are incapable of learning.

All the other foreign debacles I mentioned at the outset will play out just as well. Some of that will be Trump’s fault. But his predecessors teed all of it up, especially in the cases of China and North Korea.

Oh, hell. Just read the damn book.

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/35980364@N04/31607887384/”>mccauleys-corner</a> Flickr via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
Putin:Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/45909111@N00/9817146255/”>Gwydion M. Williams</a> Flickr via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>
protest: Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/126497846@N03/46815696351/”>hillels</a> Flickr via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
soldier:  Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/152139242@N07/47928990378/”>Katzencie ♡</a> Flickr via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>
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An Un-serious Nation Mourns

Any time I see images of the events of 9/11, and certainly at this time of year I am overwhelmed with three emotions; awe at the heroics of those who those walked into the burning towers, deep sorrow for the pain so many families suffered and a deep, burning hatred for the hijackers and anyone remotely like them.

I am generally an easy-going guy.  I forgive easily.  But unburdened by a mandate to forgive, I keep the hatred of violent religious nut bags fresh within me.  I see no reason to feel any other way about it.  That kind of human sewage deserves every pain that might befall it.

Almost as Disturbing:

But today, in addition to all that, I felt a very disturbing bemusement.  We are 15 years removed from that day.  I expected the experience would have made of us a stronger people.  I’m not alone in having thought on 9/12 that this would be our Great Depression or WWII.  This would be the galvanizing experience that would make my generation and that of my sons finally measure up to our parents’ and grandparents’ generation.  Watching history unfold today, it struck me just how wrong I was.

It only took a couple of years before our collective resolve waned.  We started hearing about how war-weary the country was.  War-weary!  While “thanks for your service” is still heard, and very much appreciated, that is pretty much the extent of what this nation can stomach.  We still haven’t been tested.  Not really.  I often wonder if Americans possess the fortitude to endure a crisis like WWII.  Thousands of telegrams every week for years, reporting the deaths of our sons (and now daughters).  I have my doubts.

We are a nation more worried about safe spaces and politically correct, goddamned restrooms than we are the state of our nation and economy.  We stood by and let an American President cash in our long-term security and that of our allies in exchange for status and kind mention in the Muslim world. (The phony Iran nuke deal and support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.)  We are a nation that has placed, at the pinnacle of our national politics, a felon who has known only failure and corruption throughout her entire adult life and a reality TV populist who, to this day, gets his talking points off of Twitter.  We still have a security and intelligence apparatus that stovepipes information.  We allow our government to borrow us into inevitable doom and never question how that government can possibly continue to grow. 

I am sure 9/11 changed many individuals.  I am sure there are people who try to do their jobs better, especially military and first responders, because of that day.  For a few years those lessons were likely passed on to the next trainee.  But as a nation, as a people, we have generally gone backward.

 

Matt Jordan is a travel writer, political commentator and author of 16 20 24. Get your SIGNED copy here!

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DHS and FBI: Partners in Failure

What the Partners Failed to DO

Well, almost 15 years after 9/11 national law enforcement and intelligence have still not learned the basic lesson it should not have needed to learn to begin with. No stove piping. On three occasions the FBI had the pleasure of Omar Mateen’s company. It seems this unworthy piece of garbage had made terrorist remarks to coworkers, which included a desire to kill cops in a Jihadi suicide.

But thanks to BHO and his fetish for all things Muslim, all FBI training and policy and training has been purged of terms like Jihad, Radical Islamist, terrorist. When Mrteen mentioned being persecuted for being Muslim, the FBI folded like an accordion and kindly turned him loose. They also sat on the information they had gleaned.

At the time of his death (the sonofabitch got off easy) Mateen held a job with a security company that contracted for, among other people, the Department of Homeland Security. Had the FBI been kind enough to notify DHS that they had a religious nut bag on their hands, we might at least assume he would have been out of a job. It may not have stopped the massacre, but the FBI would have done its job.

Is that too much of a stretch? After all, there are multiple dozens of religious nut bags known to be on the terrorist watch list who, after knowing about them for over a year, still have access to high security areas in airports. No reason to think the DHS would have fulfilled its primary obligation of protecting the Homeland. Making religious nut bags feel good about themselves trumps everything.

I’ve heard the excuse offered that the FBI just don’t have the funding or the manpower to do their job effectively. Who am I to argue? They must have the same problem with investigating BJ Bill’s wife because that has been a circus from the beginning. Still, even a reeeealy busy agent might find the time to enter a name into a database.

So as unindicted co-conspirators in the deaths of 49 people, you can add the FBI and DHS. They utterly failed on this case. They have on several others, most significantly the Tsarnaev brothers. No one will be fired or even disciplined. They know by now that they are not expected to do their jobs. They know not to ask questions. According the existing regime, they did their jobs flawlessly. the deaths of 49 people weigh as nothing compared to some FBI guys keeping secrets from proper authorities and Mateen not getting his feelings hurt.

There is nothing new here. Read chapter 15 of my book.  Before 9/11 FBI failures and stove piping were the result of simple incompetence and Bill Clinton’s physical cowardice. Under Obama, handing our country over to religious nut bags has been codified into policies. This was done at his, or the (Iranian-born) Valerie Jarrett’s direction.

Married to Feces

Who else could have stopped this? This morning, we learned Mateen’s wife knew of his plans and said nothing. For that, many talking heads say she cannot be held legally culpable. One can only be compelled to report a crime in the event of treason.

Well.

Am I correct to say that it is the official position of the U.S. Government that we are at WAR with terrorism? As much of a misnomer as the term is, if it is official policy, this would be a classic case of treason to let the enemy kill Americans. It would have been an excellent test case against the wife.

Alas, as it turns out she may have helped plan the attack and perhaps even given him a ride to the club that night. If found innocent of that, she should be tried for treason anyway. Whatever the government decides, no American citizen is in any way bound to provide Mateen’s wife with the least considerations. Anyone who recognizes her should feel free to refuse her service, merchandise or assistance. One can ethically feel free to treat her with complete contempt.

A Thought About Terrorists Themselves

This morning we woke to find that a religious nut bag in Paris killed a cop, tortured and killed the cop’s wife in front of a three year-old and streamed it live on Facebook. This rodent and Mateen are the face of our enemy.

As a military man, I’ve heard to the point of cliché, the adage that one should respect one’s enemy. The average American has taken this to mean respect his culture or the fact that the enemy may have a real beef. That is not the meaning behind the admonishment. It only applies to the enemies capabilities to resist our forces. We need to respect that as we would the speed with which a snake can strike.

But if we are to successfully engage and kill our enemy, we are psychologically required to hold all that he stands for in utter contempt. This is especially true of the ones who willingly pursue status as our enemy, like those who volunteer to kill people for god.

We owe these subhumans nothing in the way of common respect. They are stupid, gullible and depraved. Those who send them out are cowards and equally depraved. I would also contend that those who send them out don’t actually believe in all the allah crap, or they’d be strapping on the bomb vests and shooting at innocent people themselves.

No, we owe them nothing but the courtesy of killing them. They are beneath contempt. To say they are sons of whores who bred with pigs would be too kind. Sadly, terrorists are always celebrated, even lionized, by entire communities, even countries, of subhuman creatures who are every bit as depraved and gullible as the killers themselves.

Matt Jordan is a travel writer, political commentator and author of 16 20 24. Get your SIGNED copy here!

Find 16 20 24 on Amazon.

Find 16 20 24 at Barnes & Noble