○ Trump’s Syria decision shakes up Middle East | Gulf News |
These issues are just too much to handle by businessman Trump ... orders all troops back into the safety of castle the United States and will pull up the bridge to the rest of the world. As promised during the campaign: isolationism based on a touch of national pride summed up in the slogan AmericaFirst!
○ Cartoon "The Gap in the Bridge" by Ravenhill in Dec. 1919
○ Interbellum Years
"You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you." -- Leo Tolstoy
In the United States' case, that inward economic turn matched their diplomatic isolationism. Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations never gained effective traction and didn't grant itself authority to intervene militarily or economically. The U.S. didn't join the League even though its president, Woodrow Wilson, founded it. American opponents of the League weren't mere reactionaries; they made a solid isolationist case that membership over-committed the U.S. to intervene all over the world in conflicts that didn't really concern Americans.
In the case of Trump today, it's more likely the realisation of the military costs [and lives of Americans] and the complexity of world affairs that forced his decision. And it was a campaign promise to do matters differently than his predecessor Barack Obama. All Alone in the White House.
○ In Afghanistan, U.S. military sprints to prove it can reverse insurgent tide | WaPo – March 30, 2018 |
More to follow in this diary about Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syrian territory and a big drawdown in Afghanistan after 17 years of failures.
Further reading ...
○ Trump to Pentagon: Hands Off Syria
○ What A Joke He Is!
○ Completing the Neocon PNAC Project
○ Dutch Colonial Heritage Reaches Xenophobic Zenith
○ Battle Lines Are Drawn in the EU to Fight Islam
○ Al Bashir’s Syria visit aimed at 'reclaiming Arab role’
James Mattis’s Letter of Resignation | The Atlantic |
Dear Mr. President:
I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.
I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance. Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong US global influence.
One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies.
The annihilation of Daesh and its savagery | Gulf News |
Point of departure
When you consider how, after the Arabs’ humiliating defeat in the June war of 1967, all the secular ideologies that had then animated the public debate — such as pan-Arabism, Nasserism, Baathism, socialism — proved to be hollow and worthless, you begin to see a vacuum there.
And human nature, as we know, abhors a vacuum. At a time when Arabs needed a mythology of hope to live by — for man does not live by bread alone — what better one was there to turn to than Islam, a source of identity and power, whose holy texts grew out of the very bosom of one’s culture?
People want to be recognised and respected, defined within a shared system of thought that gives passion, meaning and elan to the lives they live — a notion in our part of the world called 'Assabiyah’ by Ibn Khaldun in Muqaddimah, and in the Euramerican world called Thymos by Plato in The Republic.
Sadly, secular Arab thinkers at the time envisioned the world, but failed to change it, and created meaning but possessed no means. Enter Daesh, bristling with arms and muscular swagger, ostensibly to speak to, about and from these people’s choked psyche.
But some Islamist activists, even before Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden and Daesh, were semi-literate oafs — indeed in some instances outright street thugs such as Abu Musab Al Zarqawi — rather than polished, discerning intellectuals in touch with the soul of their history.
Thus, like all such jejune movements, Daesh came burdened with the seeds of its own destruction.
And, yes, Daesh may continue to inspire some alienated people who demand a dissociation from personal identity, who prefer a diminished range for the self, and who want to entrust their imagination, their centre of reality, their emotional and tactical resources to a massed movement.
○ Clinton's 21st Century Statecraft and the Land of the Two Rivers
○ Makkah Siege of 1979 - Turning Point in Saudi Arabia
Trump asked Erdoğan if Turkey could clear the rest of Syria of ISIL | Hürriyet Daily News Opinion |
United States President Donald Trump did it again. His unpredictability has just become a norm when shaping U.S. foreign policy. Although he denies it was not a surprise move, Trump’s sudden decision for a complete pullout of all U.S. troops from Syria, despite the Pentagon’s continuous statements that the job has not been done yet, had an astonishing impact on the international community as well as regional actors.
As Reuters reported, citing a U.S. official, Trump’s latest phone conversation with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Dec. 14 pushed him to give the final order for the withdrawal from Syria.
According to the same Turkish officials, Trump asked this following question to Erdoğan on the phone: “Can Turkey clear the east of Euphrates of the rest of ISIL in the event that they withdraw from Syria?”
The reason why Trump raised this question was Erdoğan’s continued criticisms on the U.S. partnership with the YPG on the fight against ISIL. Erdoğan once again reiterated Turkey’s belief that the YPG was not genuinely in the fight against the jihadist groups but was using this assumption as a pretext for its political ambitions in the east of Euphrates.
Therefore, Erdoğan reaffirmed that Turkey could fight against ISIL as it did in mid-2016 and neutralized around 4,000 jihadists as part of the Euphrates Shield Operation.
It was well-reported that Trump had pushed the button after his conversation with Erdoğan. But Ankara was notified of the decision a few days after, on Dec. 17. But senior Turkish officials still had suspicions about the move. “Saudis, Israelis, Europeans and, of course, Kurds are against the U.S. withdrawal. Pentagon and other parts of the establishment are not happy with the move,” the senior officials said, expressing their skepticism over the course of the developments.
○ Russia, Iran Prevail - Syrian Rebellion Ends
○ Iran Avenges Terror Attack Hitting Targets in SW Syria
The ill advised invasion and occupation of Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein, a former ally of the US in the war against Iran …
○ The Pacification of Tal Afar – April till Dec. 2005
○ Iraq today - Iron Fist replaces :: Operation Restoring Rights by Oui @BooMan on Oct. 1st, 2005
○ NYT & Patrick Lang Beating the War Drums ¶ Exacerbate Fear of Iran [Jan. 2006]
PS The recent talks between US envoy and the Taliban held in Qatar … who was the American envoy? Indeed Khalilzad.
American Viceroy | The New Yorker – Dec. 2005 |
Zalmay Khalilzad was a hawk; he was close to neoconservatives like Richard Perle and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and had argued for regime change in Iraq for more than a decade. He arrived in Baghdad a few days after the first American troops, alongside General Jay Garner, who was sent to supervise the reconstruction of Iraq. But a few weeks later Khalilzad and Garner were suddenly recalled to Washington, apparently at the behest of the Pentagon, and were replaced by Paul Bremer, who became the head of the new Coalition Provisional Authority. Bremer, in almost every major aspect, proved to be ineffectual. His peremptory dissolution of the Iraqi Army, in May of 2003, gave the insurgency vigor and a vastly expanded constituency.
In late 2003, Khalilzad was sent to Afghanistan as the U.S. Ambassador. The political capital he has in the Administration—which is considerable—is due to his successes there. While he was in Kabul, Afghanistan held its first free elections in history, which Karzai won handily. Karzai regarded Khalilzad as his close friend and adviser; he was very unhappy when, last April, President Bush nominated Khalilzad to replace Bremer’s successor in Baghdad, John Negroponte.