Should the US be the world’s policeman?
Can the US be the world’s policeman?
Does the US want to be the world’s policeman?
This is Dennis Prager’s opinion (in part – read it all here):
In his speech to the nation on Syria last week, the president twice emphasized that America is not the “world’s policeman.” According to polls, most Americans agree.
Unfortunately, however, relinquishing this role assures catastrophe, both for the world and for America.
This is easy to demonstrate. Imagine that because of the great financial and human price the mayors and city councils of some major American cities decide that they no longer want to police their cities. Individuals simply have to protect themselves.
We all know what would happen: The worst human beings would terrorize these cities, and the loss of life would be far greater than before. But chaos would not long reign. The strongest thugs and their organizations would take over the cities.
That is what will happen to the world if the United States decides — because of the financial expense and the loss of American troops — not to be the “world’s policeman.” (I put the term in quotes because America never policed the whole world, nor is it feasible to do so. But America’s strength and willingness to use it has been the greatest force in history for liberty and world stability.)
This will be followed by the violent death of more and more innocent people around the world, economic disruption and social chaos. Eventually the strongest — meaning the most vile individuals and groups — will dominate within countries and over entire regions.
There are two reasons why this would happen.
First, the world needs a policeman. The world in no way differs from cities needing police. Those who oppose America being the world’s policeman need at least to acknowledge that the world needs one.
Which leads to the second reason: If that policeman is not the United States, who or what will be?
At the present moment, these are the only possible alternatives to the United States:
a) No one
e) The United Nations
The first alternative would lead, as noted, to what having no police in an American city would lead to. Since at this time no country can do what America has done in policing the world, the world would likely divide into regions controlled in each case by tyrannical regimes or groups. China would dominate Asia; Russia would re-dominate the countries that were part of the former Soviet Union and the East European countries; Russia and a nuclear Iran would dominate the Middle East; and anti-American dictators would take over many Latin American countries.
In other words, a) would lead to b), c) and d).
Would that disturb those Americans — from the left to the libertarian right — who want America to stop being the “world’s policeman”? …
It is difficult to imagine anyone arguing that the United Nations would or could substitute for the United States in maintaining peace or liberty anywhere. The U.N. is only what the General Assembly, which is dominated by the Islamic nations, and the Security Council, which is morally paralyzed by Chinese and Russian vetoes, want it to be. …
Americans are retreating into isolationism largely because of what they perceive as wasted American lives and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this conclusion is unwarranted.
It is leaving - not fighting in – Iraq and Afghanistan that will lead to failures in those countries.
American troops around the globe are the greatest preservers of liberty and peace in the world. …
We have no choice but to be the world’s policeman. And we will eventually realize this – but only after we, and the world, pay a terrible price.
In the meantime, the American defeat by Russia, Syria and Iran last week means that the country that has been, for one hundred years, the greatest force for good, is perilously close to abandoning that role.
What is a police force? It is the strong arm of government.
Government by impersonal law is the best system. Only under the rule of law is individual freedom possible. The protection of freedom is not just the first but the only proper duty of an elected government.
A government requires an army to protect the nation as a whole from foreign attack, and police to protect individuals within its jurisdiction.
For the US to police the world, it would need to be the world’s government.
Who would argue for that?
How would an American global government be elected? It could hardly be by democratic means – every adult in the world having a vote and the right to stand as a candidate for representational office. It would no longer be American.
The only way America could be the world’s government is by imperial might. The US would have to acquire the rest of the world as its empire.
For all that America was mockingly euphemized as “imperialism” by its Communist enemies, the historical fact is that the United States resisted acquiring an empire even when it would have been much in its own interests to do so – and an improvement in Dennis Prager’s terms of liberty and peace for the populations that would have come under its rule. (We’ll leave the little anomaly of Guam out of this discussion.) If it had used military might to regain American-owned oil fields in the Middle East in the 1970s when they were stolen (“nationalized”) by the ruling despots, and had thereafter governed the territories from Washington, D.C, it would not only have been good for Americans but also for the tyrannized peoples of the several states.
America would not do that. What would it do? Expend blood and treasure to keep oppression or Communist imperialism at bay in Korea, in Vietnam, in Yugoslavia, in Iraq, in Afghanistan - do Americans now think those wars were worth it? Isn’t there considerable remorse over ever having fought them at all?
And is it really the duty of Americans to wipe away the tears of nations?
Of the 196 self-governing countries in the world, how many do not have oppressed minorities, or subjugate women, or kill homosexuals, or keep slaves, or experience famine? How many whose populations are not chronically afflicted with malaria, AIDS, ebola, cholera …? The world is full of misery. Will America transform it all to happiness like Disney fairies with sparkling wands?
Will America free the Chinese and the Cubans from Communism? Turn that vast concentration camp North Korea into a second Texas?
No. The US government (under Obama) wouldn’t even support the Iranians when they rose against the tyrannical mullahs.
In the 19th century it was Britain who tried to fulfill the role of the world’s policeman. Remember how Kipling put it in (shudder now) The White Man’s Burden? Here’s part of it:
Take up the White Man’s burden–
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.
Take up the White Man’s burden–
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper–
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.
Take up the White Man’s burden–
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
“Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?”
Does Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, who wants America to be bound by the Responsibility to Protect Resolution of the UN (for which was not she the inspiring muse?), realize that that is what she is asking her country to do? A politically correct Leftess like her? If she doesn’t, it’s time she did.
Does Dennis Prager (who is usually more enlightened than Samantha) realize it? Seems not. But we hope he will.
This is our compressed version, posted on our Facebook page, of a part of Victor Davis Hanson’s column at PJ Media today. We repeat it here promptly and enthusiastically because it sums up (at least in part) the case against a Hillary Clinton presidency - the very thought of which makes us shudder.
Kerry is played hourly by the Russians and Syrians. He seeks to lecture and pontificate, not persuade and inspire. He ends up doing neither well. The secretary freelances into embarrassment. At times Kerry warns of imminent bombing; at times he champions sober negotiation; at times both and again neither. He talks ponderously and long. Even the Russians cannot stand the pomposity. Kerry inherited and made worse this mess, but did not create it. It was Hillary Clinton, not Kerry or even Obama, who first issued empty red lines that she either had no intention of enforcing or should have known that Obama had no desire to honor. It was Clinton who grandly announced to the world that Kerry and other senators were right in declaring Assad a “reformer” and a “moderate.” It was Hillary who oversaw, along with Samantha Power and Susan Rice, the debacle in Libya. It was Hillary who explained why Gaddafi — the clever monster in rehabilitation doing all that he could do to massage Western oil-hungry and petro-dollar-grabbing elites — had to go, but why the suddenly now satanic Assad should be left alone to reform. It was Hillary who was the architect of “lead from behind,” which proved nothing. Hillary thundered callously “what difference does it make?” over the four dead in Benghazi. Her State Department both stonewalled the Benghazi inquiry and, before the attack, refused to consider requests for more security. It was Hillary who chortled in crude fashion “we came, we saw, Gaddafi died,” and in cruder fashion lied to the families of the dead that a right-wing video, not Islamist militias attacking a poorly defended consulate engaged in secretive arms smuggling, had led to the deaths of their sons. And, yes, it was Hillary who jumped ship to avoid the consequences of her own disastrous tenure, while she hit the lecture circuit to cash in and prep for her 2016 presidential run. Kerry is incompetently cleaning up the wreckage of Hillary Clinton’s disastrous tenure.
The column needs to be read in full.
In authorizing limited strikes on Syria, Congress may inadvertently give its stamp of approval to an ideological revolution in the use of U.S. power. Our military can’t and shouldn’t be a global genocide watchdog.
So an Investor’s Business Daily editorial plausibly warns. It goes on, in part:
Obama’s pointless intervention in Syria could be a blueprint for a new leftist foreign policy, long championed by his new U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power, in which America intervenes not to defend its strategic interests but to avenge victims of bloodthirsty thugs.
This comic-book internationalism would keep the world’s lone superpower busier than Superman.
Where do America’s armed forces go first to “change the course of mighty rivers and bend steel with their bare hands”? Zimbabwe, where Mugabe has tortured thousands? Nuclear-armed North Korea, the slave state where, under Kim Jong-un, over 40% of young children are seriously malnourished?
Or how about the mass murderers you’ve never heard of? Under Isaias Afewerki, in power for over two decades in Eritrea in northeast coastal Africa, thousands of young refugees have fled slavery-like indefinite national service — enforced by a shoot-to-kill policy — and government-tolerated human trafficking for sex and even organ extraction.
Over his quarter century in power, Sudan’s Omar Bashir has killed hundreds of thousands; thousands are being tortured today in Islam Karimov’s Uzbekistan, as tens of millions starve in Thein Sein’s Burma. …
We could add most other countries to the list. Only a minority of the world’s nation states are genuinely free democracies. (According to Freedom House’s 1973 through 2013 reports: Free, 90; Partly Free 58; Not Free 47.)
[Samantha] Power complains of “America’s toleration of unspeakable atrocities, often committed in clear view”, of Hutus slaughtering Tutsis, for instance. But America can no more save each of the world’s billions than it can give each of them green cards.
It is an extraordinarily ill thought-out idea, even for the ignorant and foolish people who now form the executive branch of the US government.
If it becomes policy for America to barge into every country that acts in a way a US administration dislikes, and if such a policy is implemented, it will mean that America will be engaged in perpetual war. Nation states will not allow invasion by self-appointed policemen or nannies in US military uniform to march in and take over. Or to subdue them with drones or missiles and then issue orders in conformity with American notions of human rights. They will defend themselves. There will be blood. There will be “collateral damage”.
It would take a Nobel Peace Prize winner to cause such global chaos.
With the unlimited technological resources at our disposal, we observed and recorded this interchange:
You just gotta do something, B’rack!
But what, Samantha?
Protect the kids, B’rack.
Take action, B’rack.
I dunno. Hit something with something.
I can’t make war on Iraq. I mean … Libya?
I can’t do what Bush did.
Do it different.
What can I do that would be different?
Don’t go it alone.
Did Bush go it alone?
Not really, but we say he did.
So who should I go with?
They voted not to.
Well, get NATO to do something.
Then it would be like war.
Well, this is war.
I can’t say that. The base wouldn’t like it.
But you can’t lose face. You said you’d do something if Whosit used gas, so you must do something.
Boots on the ground?
Oh no! The base wouldn’t like that.
Maybe. But you mustn’t kill anybody.
I dunno. Buildings.
Buildings? With no people in them? Are there some in … where’s it, Syria?
Someone said something about munition stores.
Hit munition stores? With drones?
Just a few.
In and out. A quick dip. Just to show them.
That would be okay with the base?
Sure. If it’s quick. In and out. Two three days. At most.
I can do this, Samantha.
Sure you can.
I’ll ask Rashad to ask the King.
The King? Isn’t he dead?
The King of Saudi Arabia. There’s always a King of Saudi Arabia. … And I’ll ask Valerie.
And maybe the Pentagon.
And the UN?
Leave the UN to me.
Do I have to ask Congress? I hate asking Congress.
You don’t have to ask Congress.
Okay. I’ll do it. Maybe.
I’ll think about it. I’ll give you my answer when I’ve thought about it.
When will you decide?
In two three days. Or weeks. Maybe.
Afternote: Seems B’rack decided not to decide anything himself after all except to let Congress make the decision – and so take the blame for whatever the US then does or doesn’t do.
Soon after Independence Day two years ago, in a post titled What Americans should be taught about America, July 15, 2011, we wrote:
American children must be taught the values America traditionally stands for, and why they are the highest and the best. They must be taught that the United States of America was founded as a realization of the idea of liberty. They must be taught that only in freedom are individuals able to achieve the best they are capable of. They must be taught that the conditions necessary for a good life – prosperity, physical and mental well-being, the pursuit of individual aims – exist reliably only in a free society. They must be taught that only the rule of law, not rule by a person or group of potentates, assures liberty. Generations of American children have not been taught any of this. It is no exaggeration to say that for decades now the schools and academies have been teaching Americans to be ashamed of themselves. So millions of Americans believe that they are justly hated by other nations, and their country should change to become more like other countries.
And we quoted this, by Walter Williams:
The ignorance about our country is staggering. According to one survey, only 28 percent of students could identify the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Only 26 percent of students knew that the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. Fewer than one-quarter of students knew that George Washington was the first president of the United States. … Ignorance and possibly contempt for American values, civics and history might help explain how someone like Barack Obama could become president of the United States. At no other time in our history could a person with longtime associations with people who hate our country become president. Obama spent 20 years attending the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s hate-filled sermons, which preached that “white folks’ greed runs a world in need,” called our country the “US of KKK-A” and asked [his] God to “damn America”. Obama’s other America-hating associates include Weather Underground Pentagon bomber William Ayers and Ayers’ wife, Bernardine Dohrn.
We – and others – make the same complaint this year.
This is from an article by Arnold Ahlert at Front Page:
The Fourth of July is over, and despite most of America taking great joy in celebrating our independence and freedom, many members of the American Left are glad that what they consider to be an unseemly spasm of over-hyped jingoism is finally over. For these oh-so-enlightened and morally superior souls, a racist and irredeemably imperialist America is something to be mourned, not celebrated. Independence Day is thus a time for commemorating their hatred of the country and waving it for all to see.
The late leftist historian Howard Zinn’s work was given a platform by The Progressive magazine in 2010, when they trotted out his 2006 screed, “Put Away the Flags”. Zinn wrote, “Is not nationalism – that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder – one of the great evils of our time …?”
Progressive editor Matthew Rothschild wrote an equally obnoxious “me too” piece that same year, “Why I Don’t Celebrate July 4.” “You can call me unpatriotic if you’d like, but really I’m anti-patriotic,” he whines. He continues:
I’ve been studying fascism lately, and there is one inescapable fact about it: Nationalism is the egg that hatches fascism. And patriotism is but the father of nationalism. Patriotism is not something to play with. It’s highly toxic. When ingested, it corrodes the rational faculties. … We’ve got to get over patriotism, and we’ve got to cure the American superiority complex.
That American superiority complex, better known as American exceptionalism, has made this nation a beacon of liberty throughout the world. It is America’s patriots, many of whom have sacrificed their lives, who have preserved that liberty. That would be the same liberty that allows terminally ungrateful people like the late Zinn and Rothschild to spew their noxious nonsense without fear of imprisonment, or the kind of “reeducation” that occurs in genuinely fascistic societies. …
Many American leftists are a joyless bunch, terminally uncomfortable with anything resembling gratitude or balance. … The Fourth of July will forever be anathema to them. For that, they are to be pitied – and then ignored.
There’s a kind of America-hater who believes that America is no better and probably worse than most or even all of the others and should be humble, and at the same time believes that America (albeit in a blue beret) should be the policeman, doctor, nurse, savior and sugar-daddy to most or even all of them.
Of course only unintelligent persons could be of this self-contradictory opinion, and they should be – well no, not pitied, but yes – ignored.
When, however, one of them is nominated to be the US ambassador to the UN, she is no longer ignorable. She will be in a position to do much harm.
Samantha Power is of that opinion and has been so nominated by President Obama.
Frank Gaffney writes at the Center for Security Policy:
Should her nomination be confirmed, a clue to her likely approach in her new role at the UN can be found in the following quote from an article called “Full Force”, which appeared in the March 2003 issue of the New Republic. In the article, Power wrote:
Foreign policy is an explicitly amoral enterprise. . . . Embedding U.S. power in an international system and demonstrating humility would be painful, unnatural steps for any empire, never mind the most potent empire in the history of mankind. But more pain now will mean far less pain later.
Her view of the US as an “empire” is in itself disturbing and offensive. Her opinion that foreign policy is “amoral” and that “humility” is an appropriate quality for a world leader to project, shows her comprehensive ignorance of the dynamics of international diplomacy, and ignores the cultural differences between people that define effective cross cultural communication. Her lack of sensitivity to these issues alone makes her a poor candidate for the position.
The term “humanitarian interventionism”, as applied by Power, reveals a deep naiveté about the way the world really works. Embedded in the concept is a strong tendency to oversimplify the complexities involved in halting historically ingrained ethnic and religious conflicts. Included among the most serious of these issues is the apparent willingness to minimize or completely overlook the challenges of ending the conflict, and the unique requirements of post-conflict reconstruction in each inherently different situation. It disregards the real and perceived roadblocks imposed by international politics, public opinion, and local culture.
When President Obama led the United States into a coalition of forces against Libya, the person behind that decision was understood to be Samantha Power. The decision was strongly influenced by her doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) that purported to guide the American government on how to prevent genocide. The concept is being promoted to create a new international model based on “moral” criteria, that can be employed in situations where the safety of civilians is at risk.
Yet, on the very first night of the coalition’s enforcement of a “no-fly zone” over Libya, US forces rained 1,100 missiles down on Tripoli. It brought death and destruction to an unprecedented level for a “humanitarian” effort, in a nation in which the US had no strategic interest. …
It was Power’s concept of R2P and not any concern for our national security that influenced the decision. In other words, it was an experiment in “humanitarian interventionism” and not national concerns for America’s welfare.
It should be noted that this intervention was in response to Libyan leader Muammar Ghadaffi’s threat of revenge against dissidents. Although there was certainly fighting on the ground in Benghazi and other places, there was no wholesale genocide taking place in Libya at the time the decision to engage was taken. …
It led to the overthrow of Ghadaffi (less of a threat to the rest of the world since he had given up trying to make Libya a nuclear power), followed by anarchy in Libya, and so to the atrocity of Benghazi, when US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were murdered.
In April 2002, Samantha suggested [in an interview with Henry Kissinger] that “external intervention” may be necessary to foster Middle Eastern peace. …
[She said] her advice to the President would be to “alienate” the American Jewish community, and indeed all Americans who support the state of Israel … because Israeli leaders are fully capable of “destroying the lives of their own people.” She would also advise the President to pour billions of dollars of American taxpayers’ money into “the new state of Palestine” and to stage what would amount to an American invasion of Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The implications of her off-the-cuff remarks suggest that she believes 1) that either side was capable of genocide, 2) that there was a clear moral equivalence between the two leaders, 3) that US support for a Palestinian state should include massive US funding for a defense force, at the expense of funds now going to Israel for its own defense, and 4) that Israel was incapable of handling its own affairs vis à vis the Palestinians, and that the only solution, therefore, was international [but she implies American]intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state. … Altogether, Power’s statement was rambling, incoherent, and ignorant. That she should compare Israel’s well-ordered democratic state to the tribal chaos that existed in Rwanda during the time of the massacre is shocking. It demonstrated either a total lack of knowledge about Israel, or a total disregard for the truth, driven by an interventionist agenda that is willing to sacrifice truth for a perceived principle. (In either case, it should give the Senate serious pause as they consider her appointment.)
… because she is ignorant, sentimental, unintelligent – and hysterical:
Humbly proffering her apologies to 40 “Jewish leaders” convened to give her a hearing -
[Power] suddenly became deeply emotional and struggled to complete her presentation as she expressed how deeply such accusations had affected her. Tears streamed down her cheeks and I think it fair to say that there was no one in the room who wasn’t deeply moved by this incredible display of pain and emotion.”
And the gallant or gullible “Jewish leaders” forgave her!
Feeling sorry for people – including herself – seems to substitute for thinking in her case.
The UN is her palace on the hill. Representing the United States among its swirling mists of lies is likely to be the pinnacle of her ambition. No doubt she sees the UN as an embryo world government, as Obama does.
Which prompts us to quote from another of our posts, titled World government – the ultimate nightmare, August 2, 2009:
Barack Obama declared himself, in Berlin, to be a “citizen of the world”. It was not a mere rhetorical flourish. He has a globalist agenda under which the US will enter into a series of treaties that would subject America to foreign rule over its wealth (redistributing it world-wide), its trade, its laws, its use of energy, and even its defense.
The United Nations, that ghastly powerhouse of corruption, hypocrisy, and injustice, is envisaged as the nascent institution of world government.
Liberal left opinion tends to be against the nation state. It is the opinion of approximately half the voters in the Western world. Half the people of the free West apparently want to destroy their nations, and are literally doing so. They may explain their hatred of the nation state by reference to “colonialism”, as if in many cases colonies were not more prosperous, just, and free than the independent tyrannies they have become. Or they may say that the wars and massacres in the last century resulted from “nationalism” so the nation must go; but their thinking would not be right, because the wars and massacres were the work of dictators, not democratic states of which the strongest opposed and defeated the aggressors.
Whatever their explanations, they have launched a movement for the suicide of Western nations.
All over the Western world men and women in national and international assemblies, ministries, academies, councils and committees devote themselves to the business of putting an end to their national identities. Patriotism to them is utterly absurd. Any manifestation of pride in their nation’s history, culture, traditions, institutions, even law, embarrasses if it doesn’t outrage them. In all the countries of Europe, and now under Obama’s leadership in the United States, they work towards their goal.
The very idea of the nation state they consider to be an anachronism; a nasty thing of the past much to be regretted. The more powerful and glorious the past, the more regretful they are. Filled with remorse for what their forefathers achieved, they will apologize to any foreigner who’ll listen to them. However hard their independence as a nation was won, their system of government developed, their individual freedom wrested from the fist of tyranny, they count it all worth nothing. Obama, whose ignorance of history should but doesn’t embarrass him, routinely apologizes for America to appalling little despotisms, and to countries who have survived as comparatively free nations only because America saved them from conquest by tyrannical powers.
The rest of the article is a paean of praise to the (free) nation-state, and a eulogy to patriotism.
So it’s coming – war? The big one?
As the Syrian war rages on – now a religious battle between Sunnis and Shiites as much as an armed rebellion against Bashar Assad’s tyranny – the Russians have offered troops to replace the withdrawing Austrian contingent of the UN’s “peace keeping” force on the Golan border between Syria and Israel. It looks likely that Fijian troops will be preferred by the UN, but Putin is nevertheless going ahead and preparing a Golan brigade. He is committed to helping the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad by supplying advanced weaponry, and he has warships near the Syrian coast.
At this juncture, Obama has decided that the US must send military aid to the rebels, composed of al-Qaeda affiliated and Muslim Brotherhood Sunnis. Assad himself is an Alawite, but his main support comes from Shia Iran and Iran’s Shia proxy, Hezbollah.
We quote from the (British) Mail Online .
The chilling headlines:
Could Syria ignite World War 3? That’s the terrifying question as the hatred between two Muslim ideologies sucks in the worlds superpowers.
- Syrian conflict could engulf region in struggle between Sunni and Shia
- Already claimed 93,000 lives and made 1.6million people refugees
- UK, France and U.S. taken different side to China and Russia
The article proceeds:
The crisis in Syria may appear to be no more or less than a civil war in a country many people would struggle to place on a map.
But it’s much more than that: it is rapidly becoming a sectarian struggle for power that is bleeding across the Middle East, with the potential to engulf the entire region in a deadly power struggle between two bitterly opposed Muslim ideologies, Sunni and Shia.
Already, the war inside Syria has resulted in 93,000 dead and 1.6 million refugees, with millions more displaced internally. And those figures are escalating rapidly amid reports of appalling atrocities on both sides.
Fearing that Syria faced the kind of protests that had toppled the rulers of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya during the “Arab Spring”, Bashar al-Assad’s security forces used tanks and gunfire to crush the demonstrations. But it only stoked the fires.
The opposition developed into an armed insurgency, and now Syria has been engulfed in a civil war which has degenerated into a vicious sectarian conflict.
On one side are those who follow President Assad, who belongs to the Alawites — a splinter sect from Shia Islam.
On the other are a loose affiliation of insurgents drawn from the majority Sunni population, some of whom have close links to the Sunni jihadists of Al Qaeda.
The level of savagery is appalling. This week, up to 60 Shia Muslims were reported to have been slaughtered in an attack by opposition fighters in the eastern Syrian city of Hatla. …
Syria might fragment into three or four pieces on sectarian lines, with anyone marooned in the wrong enclave liable to face vicious ethnic cleansing.
And because the conflict is driven by religion, it could easily leap Syria’s frontiers to draw in regional powers.
So who is aligned with whom? Broadly speaking, Assad is supported by Iran (the main Shia power in the Middle East) and its militant Lebanese ally, the terrorist group Hezbollah.
The latter is Iran’s main weapon in any fight with Israel.
As a result, Assad is advised (and protected) by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and there are also between 5,000 and 8,000 seasoned Hezbollah fighters inside Syria. …
The forces against Assad are joined by thousands of fighters flooding the country every week from across the region.
The rebels have also benefited from the ferocious will-to-die of an Islamist group called Jabhat al-Nusra, which is allied with Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Many more rebels are Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood persuasion.
They are supported with guns and money from Sunni states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Such are the complex connections between modern nations, and the globalised nature of international politics, that repercussions could be felt around the world.
What happens in Syria affects Israel, with which it shares a militarised border on the Golan Heights. …
Although President Obama wants to downgrade America’s involvement in the Middle East now the U.S. can rely on reserves of cheap shale oil and gas at home, his own somewhat ostentatious concern for human rights keeps sucking him back in to side with the rebels.
We would correct that to (newly appointed Ambassador to the UN) Samantha Power’s and (newly appointed National Security Adviser) Susan Rice’s concern to be concerned gives Obama the excuse he needs to side with the rebels.
Why do we say “excuse”? In his role as pacifist and demilitarizer he is reluctant to have the US actively involved in another war so soon after the Iraq war ended and the Afghanistan war started winding down. But he is (we are convinced) on the side of the Arabs in their endless hostility to Israel, and he is a consistent supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood (sending, for instance, lavish aid to the MB government in Egypt). We guess he would not be sorry to see a Sunni victory – or an Israeli defeat. Regardless of his own prejudices, however, the US has commitments to NATO.
That ["concern for human rights"] is also broadly the position of Britain and France, whose leaders seem swayed by lurid and unverified social media footage of atrocities.
But while leading NATO nations line up in sympathy with the rebels, on the other side President Assad is being backed by Russia — a long-time friend of Syria — and by China.
Russia and China feel they were tricked by the West over the way the Libyan regime was overthrown with Western aid two years ago, and are determined Assad won’t be ousted and murdered like Gaddafi.
The war in Syria therefore has had a destabilising effect on the entire region, and could exert a terrifying domino effect as states disintegrate.
Whether such a nightmare scenario can be avoided — and global superpowers can be persuaded to keep their powder dry — we must wait to see with baited breath.
Obama, having said that if Assad used chemical weapons he would be crossing a “red line”, and having now acknowledged that sarin gas has been used, announced that the US will provide military aid to the Syrian rebels.
While there’s nothing new about the US aiding the Muslim Brotherhood (lavish aid to Egypt’s MB government is a case in point), it will be a strange development for the US to be allied with al-Qaeda. (How, we wonder will the survivors and bereft families of 9/11 feel about it?)
The most fearsome fact is that the powers are lined up now as the Mail reports: China and Russia on the side of the Shias, Britain and France and the US – which is to say NATO – on the side of the Sunnis. And the West cannot allow Russia and China to become dominant powers on the edge of the Mediterranean.
Great idea! Bring them here to America. Thousands of – mainly Muslim – Arabs from Syria.
That’s the fruit of the long brooding by the Obama administration on What To Do About Syria.
How it came to be born:
First idea. Support the rebels, mostly al-Qaeda affiliates. But with what? Canned goods or arms?
Second idea: Impose a no-fly zone. But what will happen when the Russian antiaircraft missiles are in place and functioning?
So what then? Send in US troops? Oh dear no. We are demilitarizing pacifists to our core.
But we need to seem to be doing something. What?
How can we “lead” this time “from behind”? Will there be enough shelter for us from those we push on in front? And where shall we lead to?
We haven’t a clue.
We thought we could put off doing anything forever by never saying we were convinced that chemical weapons were being used. Never admitting that Assad or someone crossed the “red line” we pretended to draw. But we have to admit now that there are chemical weapons being used over there, so WHAT THE HECK ARE WE GOING TO DO?
We are good people. We won’t fight any more wars.
We’re compassionate now, not aggressive. Yes, that’s our foreign policy doctrine.
We no longer project American power, we project Samantha Power.
We’ll call our new foreign policy doctrine the Samantha Power doctrine.
So how can we apply it in the case of Syria, where upwards of 93,000 people have been killed in the fearfully dangerous civil war?
It’s (phew!) fortunately too late to protect the civilian population the way we did in Libya. Or the way we led Britain and France to do it in Libya (from behind).
What then? How apply the Samantha doctrine without actually going to Syria?
Brainwave (probably emanating from the Power source itself):
Help the refugees.
How? Canned goods to the camps in Jordan?
Further brainwave: BRING THEM HERE.
We’ve been trying to encourage Arab immigration into America. We can see how good it has been for Europe. (In forty years it will be a Muslim-majority continent, blessedly governed by sharia law.)
And after all, this is a Muslim country. Muslims have famously made a huge contribution to our success as a nation. Tens of thousands more of them are just what we need. We’ll show them a good time. Take them over the new NSA top secret spying station in Utah. Explain how it works. Give them jobs there. …
Brilliant, brilliant. The Age of Samantha dawns for America.
It’s never a surprise when a political act turns out to be a bitter mockery of the humanitarian values it’s supposed to serve.
So the news that civilians in Libya are being bombed by NATO, which intervened in the Libyan civil war to protect civilians, elicits little more than a world-weary sigh from our Roving Eye War Reporter.
REWR, having sent the news but no detailed dispatch home, refers readers to two posts of ours (find them through the research slot): The danger of R2P, March 23, 2011, in which it is explained that R2P stands for Responsibility to Protect, a UN declaration which provided NATO’s pretext; and A siren song from hell, April 1, 2011. They trace the idea of invoking that piece of lethal self-righteousness to three women in the Obama administration:
- Samantha Power, Senior Director of Multicultural Affairs at the National Security Council
- Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations
- Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
To show just how NATO action in Libya is making a mockery of the R2P, we quote from a report by Mike McNally at PajamasMedia:
The fighters of Libya’s National Transitional Council, the rebel movement turned temporary government, have launched what they say is a “final assault” on Sirte — hometown of ousted dictator Colonel Gaddafi and one of the last redoubts of his supporters.
Thousands of civilians have fled the town, but thousands more are trapped inside, unable or unwilling to leave. The Red Cross reports that conditions inside Sirte are deteriorating, with people dying in the main hospital due to shortages of medical supplies, fuel, and water; food is also said to be in short supply.
There are no reliable casualty figures, although pro-Gaddafi forces — not surprisingly — are reporting hundreds of civilian deaths caused by both NTC fighters and NATO airstrikes. …
Even if rebel forces aren’t intentionally targeting civilians, the ramshackle nature of the rebel forces and much of their equipment suggests that much of the shelling and rocketing is indiscriminate. Red Cross workers have reported rockets landing among the hospital buildings. …
You could be forgiven for wondering what the NATO forces who are still engaged in Libya plan to do about the situation in Sirte, given that UN Resolution 1973, under which they’re operating, authorizes them to take “all necessary measures” to protect “civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack”. …
But far from defending the civilian population of Sirte, NATO warplanes were as recently as Sunday still conducting airstrikes in and around the town in support of the rebels. “Why is NATO bombing us?” asked one man who had fled with his family. It’s a fair question.
NATO had already put a highly elastic interpretation on its mandate under 1973, transitioning swiftly from protecting anti-Gaddafi protesters to flying close air support missions for the rebels.
And adding effective contingents of NATO soldiers to the feeble rag-tag rebel militia for the assault on Tripoli – a fact that NATO has tried to keep under wraps. (See our post Letting Arabs lie, August 24, 2011.)
But even if one takes the view that NATO’s actions from the start of its involvement up to the fall of Tripoli were legally and morally justified, it’s hard to argue that the Gaddafi loyalists besieged in Sirte and elsewhere present an imminent threat to the civilian population in areas now under NTC control. Far from protecting civilians, NATO now finds itself in the position of abetting a humanitarian crisis. Civilians in Sirte face a choice between enduring the shelling and the all-out assault on the town that’s likely within the next few days, and fleeing the city if they’re able. The Red Cross estimates that some 10,000 have fled, but that up to 30,000 more may still be trapped.
So why are NATO and the American, British, and French governments that were so eager to take charge of the “humanitarian” intervention, not doing more to ensure their safety? And where’s the media outcry, along the lines of the reporting which helped to persuade the West to get involved in Libya in the first place? …
At the very least NATO … could arrange the delivery of food, water, and medical supplies …
This is a civil war, and the only crime most of the civilians trapped in Sirte have committed is being on the losing side. Are they now to be denied the protection of the “international community” which a few months ago proclaimed itself so concerned at the loss of innocent life in the country? What happened to the UN’s much-vaunted “Responsibility to Protect”?
Commentators on both left and right raised doubts over NATO’s Libya mission, myself included. The removal of Gaddafi is of course to be welcomed, but while a stable and democratic regime that poses no threat to Western interests may yet emerge, recent events have suggested that outcome is still in doubt.
In doubt? A stable democratic regime in Libya? As in any other Arab country, it’s one of the most unlikely things in the world.
Just how phony the claim is (put out by Obama and his henchwomen*) that the Libyan engagement is all about the “responsibility to protect” civilians, is demonstrated by this report published two days ago on July 18, 2011, by Asia News – and nowhere in the West:
Benghazi-based rebels took Brega over night. The town, which is 740 km east of Tripoli, is the country’s main oil hub. The National Transitional Council (NTC) called the fall of the city its greatest victory since the war against Gaddafi began. However, doubts remain about rebel intentions. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused them of retaliatory violence against pro-Gaddafi regime civilians. … HRW said rebels looted and torched homes in towns that had fallen under NTC control. In villages south of Tripoli, Gaddafi loyalists were beaten, their houses set on fire.
We have little respect for Human Rights Watch having observed their frequent incapacity or reluctance to tell the truth, but in this case their accusation is backed up by another source:
Tiziana Gamannossi, an Italian businesswoman in Tripoli, told AsiaNews that the rebels’ push is causing fear in the civilian population. …
In her view, NATO is funding and arming violent groups that lack any training or code of honour. …
For Gamannossi, a war that was launched to defend civilians is absurd. The latter watch powerless as their cities and country are torn down amid the silence of western media.
“These days, hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated against NATO in Tripoli, Zliten, Ajaylat and Sabha, demanding an end to the air strikes. No newspaper has given such news much importance, calling the protests ‘ demonstrations funded by the regime’.”
Last week the 30-member contact group on Libya, including the United States, China and Russia, “formally recognised the NTC as the sole representative of the Libyan people. This will give the council access to about US$200 billion in Libyan government assets held in foreign banks to fund the rebel advance.”
What makes this contact group expect that the people leading the National Transitional Council will be any better for Libyans, or for other states to deal with, than Gaddafi has been?
The answer is, absolutely nothing. They may even be worse.
* Samantha Power, Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs, National Security Council; Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN; Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State. See our post A siren song from hell, April 1, 2011.
We have spoken of the Three Harpies of the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice (see our post, A siren song from hell, April 1, 2011). They wanted America to intervene militarily in the Libyan civil war “to protect civilians”, and they got their way, so the US is involved in a costly and ineffective engagement, along with ramshackle NATO; and Libyan civilians continue to be displaced, injured, and killed, often by the “protective” operations of the US and NATO – or the US in NATO, say, since the administration pretends that it has withdrawn from the fray.
Today we liken the three women to three witches, cooking up a lethal brew of global socialism, pro-Islamism, and anti-Americanism, in a steaming pot of self-righteous sentimentality.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a disciple of the Communist Revolutionary Saul Alinsky, is the most powerful of them by reason of her position in the administration. But she’s probably not the equal of the other two in gathering venomous ideas.
Samantha Power runs Obama’s “Office of Human Rights” and has written a book about genocide. It’s a long grope for a definition of the word. She believes, as the left generally does, that America should only go to war as an act of altruism, never to protect its own interests such as securing oil supplies or punishing attackers, and whenever possible as an instrument of the UN.
As for Susan Rice, the current US ambassador to that evil institution, here’s an account of her by Rick Moran from Front Page:
President Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has long been an advocate for weakening American sovereignty in order to benefit the UN and its anti-American agenda. It is a policy known as “engagement,” where the United States subsumes its own vital interests, abandons its traditional role of leadership in the world community, and … pushes the process of “subcontracting American national security” to the UN.
Time Magazine refers to this policy — without a hint of irony — as “leading from the back.” … Her vision of what the US’s role in the world should be … includes an open hostility to the state of Israel, a dangerous reliance on the UN to keep Iran from going nuclear, as well as the world body’s inexplicable granting Tehran membership on the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women. …
While one expects a UN ambassador to be an advocate for internationalism, Rice slipped the bounds of reason and waxed poetic in her testimony about the importance of the United Nations to our national security. … Rice claimed that … “the U.N. promotes universal values Americans hold dear.” …
That statement is nonsense. It is beyond rhetorical excess and enters the sublime milieu of self-delusion. Unless she believes that America “holds dear” values like racism, anti-Semitism, corruption, sexism, child rape, and a host of other execrable hallmarks of United Nations actions and policies, then she is either naive or willfully blind to the true nature of the UN. …
In one of the most extraordinary statements ever made by an American official about Israel, Rice bitterly complained last February about having to veto a Security Council resolution condemning Israel and its settlement policy. She deliberately undercut the impact of the veto by saying, “For more than four decades, [Israeli settlement activity] has undermined security … corroded hopes for peace and security … it violates international commitments and threatens prospects for peace.” During her testimony last week, Rice reiterated that sentiment, adding “Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate.”
What angered Rice was that the Security Council vote was 14-1, with countries like Great Britain, France, and Russia co-sponsoring the Palestinian-inspired condemnation. To Rice’s and the administration’s way of thinking, going against international “consensus” — even if inimical to US interests — was a blow to their strategy of “engagement.”
Rice’s statements before the committee on the UN’s massively hypocritical selections for the Human Rights Council can only be termed bizarre. The HRC features such stellar advocates for human rights as Angola, China, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia — a rogue’s gallery of thuggish states. After acknowledging that it is difficult to find nations that have good human rights records to serve on the council, Rice seemed proud of the fact that US opposition had kept Iran off the HRC. She chalked that “success” up to the fact that the United States had agreed to join the HRC rather than refuse to participate in such a farce.
What Rice didn’t mention was that in order to get Iran to withdraw its application for membership on the HRC, Washington agreed not to raise a stink when the fundamentalist Islamic Republic that mandates stoning women for adultery wanted to join the Commission on the Status of Women. With no objection from the US, Iran was duly elected to the commission.
Instead of Iran joining the HRC, Libya got the slot. How this can be termed a “success” takes pretzel-like logic — something Rice appears to excel at. …
Rice’s thinking on terrorism has also heavily influenced administration policy. In 1996, she advised President Clinton not to accept Sudan’s offer to turn over Osama Bin Laden because Sudan’s human rights record was so wretched, she thought we shouldn’t have anything to do with them.
Refusing to contaminate her idealistic beliefs with the ample evidence that has been produced to the contrary, Susan holds fast to her conviction that the “cause of terrorism” is “poverty”.
Her steadfast belief that poverty, not radical Islamist ideology, is responsible for terrorism has upended 20 years of American anti-terrorism policy. Rice is the inspiration behind the Obama administration’s de-emphasizing military action against terrorists, while looking for ways to address the “root causes” of the violence. …
It is Rice’s solution to what she considers the “real” causes of terrorism that is of great concern. She supports the transfer of nearly $100 billion every year to UN’s Millennium Development Project for redistribution to poorer nations and their kleptocrat leaders. How this will address the problem of “poverty” in poor countries never seems to get explained. The history of aid to these nations is that the elites end up with most of it while precious little trickles down to the masses. Rice ignores this history — and the reality that America doesn’t have $100 billion for such a cockamamie scheme. …
What isn’t generally known is her advocacy for unilateral American action in cases where the UN fails to act. Along with Samantha Power, the president’s national security advisor, Rice is responsible for pushing through the Security Council a strong resolution authorizing military force against Gaddafi. But when it comes to Darfur and other potential hot spots where the UN refuses to act, Rice has advocated that America go it alone to prevent a humanitarian disaster. … She has … suggested that the US should contribute a percentage of its military to a UN force, under UN command, to intervene where humanitarian crises threaten disaster.
This goes far beyond what most would advocate for when it comes to the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. But it is one more indication that Susan Rice casually sets aside the interests of her own country in order to cater to the whims and capricious agenda of a world body that has proven itself an enemy of the United States.
Because the left hates individual freedom, it hates America. It wants the UN to become the world’s governing body and redistribute wealth from the developed countries to the rest. And it’s making progress towards achieving its terrible aims. The thugocracies that have a permanent seat on its Security Council – Russia and China – are no longer restrained by Western powers. France and Britain are ghosts of the powers they used to be. And as Susan Rice represents an American leadership that does not like America, it looks as if Turtle Bay could actually become the capital of the whole-earth hell that the international left dreams of …
… unless the United States again, and soon, has strong wise men governing it, and they have the will to abolish the United Nations.
The UN must be destroyed!