North Korea, Europe, and the Islamists: Two successes and a still bleeding, self-inflicted wound

The mere sight of President Trump sitting down at the table with North Korea’s Kim Jung Un was startling. I had thought that the only way out of the North Korean nuclear mess was war, one which I would have supported because it would have been the last resort that war always is meant to be.

But Trump and Pompeo — despite the sabotage efforts of Bolton and Giuliani — took a chance, engaged Kim, and produced a first-ever meeting between the two sides. Trump had the guts to try to undo the first and one of the most bitter fruits of unnecessary U.S. military interventionism, one that occurred because Truman thought himself unbound by the Constitution and went to war on his own authority — of which he had none — and under the abhorrent flag of the United Nations. Though still quite a long shot, if Trump gets the republic out of the Korean snare after 68 years he will have served Americans with the distinction that comes from obeying the Constitution and serving the citizenry. No matter how the initiative works out, Trump gets full marks for trying. And one can only conclude that those who see only see showboating in his meeting the North Korean dictator would have preferred a possible nuclear war.

Prior to flying to Singapore, Trump also served the republic well with his performance at the G-7 meeting in Canada. What could have possibly upset any American about Trump explaining to the European and Canadian fussbudgets that his job is to serve and protect America’s workers and industries is beyond knowing. But upset them he did, along with virtually all of the U.S. media. Those un-journalists mounted their high horses and condemned the President for “offending” those they referred to as our “closest allies” and for risking a “trade war” in the process. Good Lord, do these media folk know anything about these European wretches, our seven-decade-old, all-take and no-give European allies?

Since VE Day in 1945, the Western Europeans have sucked off the fat American tit both economically and militarily. They never paid their own way in NATO, and unilaterally disarmed after the USSR fell. They and the rest of Europe avoided nuclear Armageddon only because U.S. taxpayers paid much of the niggardly foreigners’ share of NATO expenses, and funded the creation and maintenance of a massive American nuclear deterrent that more than matched the Soviet’s and so kept the peace. Had U.S. leaders wisely declined to sign the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949, the Red Army would have been marching along the tree-lined boulevards of Paris even more quickly than the Wehrmacht did in 1940. These days, the Russians better hurry if they want to get to Paris, or any other European capital, as Macron, May, Merkel, et. al are making Muslim-driven violence shit-holes of their once splendid cities and cultures, places that no one in his right mind would want to govern.

In Canada, the Europeans switched focus away from NATO, although they still spun lies about the “Russian threat”. That threat, of course, is not to the United States — Russia poses only an easily manageable threat to the republic, and would pose none at all if it not for NATO — but to the Europeans whose armies are decayed, under-gunned, undermanned, and effete. Armies that must now, moreover, accelerate preparations for the coming bloody domestic war they will have to wage against the Islamic barbarians and Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda veterans their civilian masters have and are welcoming into the EU, even providing the fighters with housing and access to the dole.

The six womanish EU and Canadian leaders also whined mightily about the Trump administration’s determination to pry them loose from America’s financial tit — which has little left to give — and then serve first and only U.S. economic interests until it gets the trade imbalanced reduced and creates a fairer trade system. This will cause pain for the Europeans and some Americans, but to maintain the trade status quo with Europe — or China — can only lock the United States into trade deficits that will act as a paralyzing economic handicap for the foreseeable future. Justin Trudeau’s loss of his false eyebrows while denouncing Trump, after the latter was no longer there to respond, speaks directly to the kind of allies Canada and the other six are; that is, Islamophile, unmanly, and utterly worthless.

Finally, the retaking of much of the Islamic State-held territory in Syria is better seen as Russia and the West winning some time rather than winning the war. The Trump administration speaks too easily about the “defeat” of the Islamic State. IS did indeed lose manpower, financial resources, important leaders, and territory — and not a little prestige and bravado. But IS has now returned to its original advantageous milieu; that is, as a veteran and talented guerrilla force, which, though it is being ignored by the Western media, is steadily increasing the number of its attacks, ambushes, car-bombings, and assassinations of Iraqi civilians, police, community leaders, and military personnel. IS’s geographical reach in Iraq also seems to be growing as most major cities or their environs are experiencing IS attacks, though so far of limited size.

In Syria, both Moscow and Damascus are at least six months into what both describe as a “mopping up” campaign against IS remnants. U.S. generals also proclaimed such nonsense during their losing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All, in turn, were merely singing the same refrain that Red Army generals chanted for all of the USSR’s ten-year occupation of Afghanistan; indeed, its strains hung in the air even as the Red Army fled Afghanistan in shame, while the much-despised Afghan remnants retook their country.

While Moscow and Damascus speak as if they are out of the Islamist-made woods, they have at best a respite while IS regroups, rearms, and identifies opportunities for beginning the probably lengthy military campaign that they surely believe will lead — if God wills it —to a final victory. They should be prepared for the gradual resumption of an IS-pressed war in Syria, and they should ignore the fatuous but widely believed and well-loved Western conclusions that the morale of the mujahideen is broken; that their state supporters have stopped sending aid; that their dream of a Caliphate is wrecked beyond recall; and that they have been permanently intimidated by Russian and Western firepower.

Now, I would have no problem if the Trump administration and Moscow were simply crowing falsely because they intend to use the victory their spinners are declaring as cover for getting out of the Syria-Iraq theater before the IS recovery is solidly underway. I fear, however, that they actually believe what is being claimed and, if so, their interventionist juices will keep flowing. There is every reason, at least in the councils of state, to acknowledge (a) that the Syria-Iraq respite will not last forever and (b) that if withdrawal is not accomplished while the getting is good, the United States, Russia, and several NATO countries will not only have to eat their words, but will have to remain in the theater to prove their power and resolve by trying to re-defeat the Islamist enemy they never fully defeated in the first place.

For the U.S. government time is short to get its military completely out of Syria and Iraq, and to make clear that the republic is done intervening in Muslim affairs, protecting Arab tyrannies, and defending theocracies, whether Islamic or Jewish, and that it is determined to let the Muslims, Israelis, Shias, and Sunnis settle their animosities among themselves, preferably peacefully but by all-out war if necessary. A clearly stated and an enduringly resolute policy of non-interventionism toward these issues has never been more important to the preservation of U.S. security and the republic itself.

Why is this assertion credible? Because, in part, the U.S. and Western media have not only failed to provide accurate coverage of affairs in Syria and Iraq, but they have all but ignored the steady growth of militant Islamist movements in Afghanistan, India, Kashmir, much of Southeast Asia, and most of Africa. While the unwise have boasted of the war-ending trends in Iraq and Syria, the Islamists of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State have brought the U.S.-NATO installed Afghan government to the brink of destruction. After nearly 17 years of war, Kabul cannot be secured from attack; the strength of the mujahideen in northern Afghanistan and along the Afghan-Central Asia border is growing, a reality that did not occur during the Soviet occupation; and the West, Russia, and the Afghan regime are treating the world to a mindless lie by claiming that the recent “temporary ceasefire” is a sure sign that peace is on the way.

As always, America’s war with Islam is a war of choice. The Islamists, from the start, have not wanted to fight the United States, their goal was and is to destroy the tyrants — Arab and Israeli — who have ruled and abused them and their faith since World War Two. They attacked and fought the United States because they saw reality as it was: the U.S. government and most of its European allies providing relentless and decades-long support and protection to Arab tyrants, as well as unfailing support and protection for Israel. Without this U.S. support, the Islamists would have focused on local issues, and would not have gone looking for trouble with the U.S. military.

The Bush, Clinton, and Bush administrations refused to recognize this reality. Instead, they intervened more frequently, and took advantage of neither America’s geographical remoteness nor the fact that no genuine U.S. national-security interest would be at risk if the above-noted support and protection were ended. A cessation of the U.S. government’s unnecessary interventionism in the Arab world before the 9/11 raid, would have isolated the war to that region, and its costs in blood and treasure would have fallen to those who long-ago earned and now merit them richly, the Arabs and the Israelis.

Today, it is even more important for the national government to exploit our lack of genuine security interests in the Arab world and America’s geographical remoteness. As noted, what has occurred in Syria and Iraq is a pause, not a victory. At the same time, the “peace movement” in Afghanistan is a charade. Even if it produces a so-called coalition regime involving Ghani’s regime and the Taliban, it will only exist until the last of U.S. and NATO forces evacuate the country. After that, Ghani and his cohort will be eliminated by the Taliban, and another war will begin between the Taliban and the Islamic State and its growing size, strength and territorial control. In addition,

  • By all evidence, militant Islamism remains an armed and vibrant movement that is growing with speed in most of Arab and Black Africa; in recent weeks, the media have reported the reinvigorated presence of IS in Libya and Central Africa, and Islamist attacks in parts of heretofore peaceful Mozambique.
  • In Southeast Asia, militant Islamism is growing in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and to a more limited extent in southern Thailand. In addition, the media report that the regional governments are bracing for the return of foreign fighters from the Middle East, and that the Philippine Islamists are attracting foreign fighters from other countries in the Pacific.
  • China also is doing its level best to spread the Islamists’ war. While most of the the international media has been oblivious, Beijing is making the Uighur Muslim-dominated Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region into a huge concentration camp for Muslims in which they have the choice to accept the eradication of Islam, die, or resist with whatever arms they can secure. This situation, of course, poses no direct thereat to U.S. security, but it seems well on the way toward becoming a cause célèbre in the Sunni Muslim world, one which will bring support from Sunni regimes and wealthy individual Muslims just as did the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The Chinese attempt to strangle Islam — and when needed Muslims — in Xinjiang is likely, overtime, to produce a considerable swell of well-funded and properly armed Islamist militancy in South, South East, and East Asia. Moreover, China’s quiet support for the Burmese regime’s and the country’s Buddhist firebrands’ campaign to annihilate Burma’s Rohingya Muslims will strengthen the Islamists’ anti-China fervor that was started in Xinjiang ,and is now being stoked by Beijing’s clearly jihad-causing efforts to build the One Belt, One Road network of highways, rail lines, harbors, and their attendant facilities through the heart of Muslim central and southern Asia.

Now is the time for the Trump administration to announce with a flourish that because of both the Islamic State’s enormous loss of territory in Iraq and Syria, and the budding peace process in Afghanistan the U.S. government recognizes that its task has been completed and that all U.S. forces will be withdrawn from, and all economic aid to those nation-states and the non-state forces in each, will be terminated by 31 December 2018. Such a statement has a modicum of truth — IS lost the territory and the Afghan ceasefire has made always-wrong diplomats giddy with what they deem the approach of peace — but its main goal would be to get the republic out of three theaters of war that will stay such for decades to come. By defusing the Islamists’ motivation to attack U.S. interests — thereby allowing the focused application of resources against their main enemies, Arab tyrants and Israel — and exploiting the republic’s great gift of geographical remoteness from Islamist forces, the Trump administration can concentrate on getting America’s bacon out of the growing Islamist fire in Africa, and the nascent one that is, with China’s indispensable if brain-dead help, beginning to catch hold in Asia.

Americans are still paying the ungodly and unnecessary price, in terms of the lives and money, that have been expended in their governing elite’s interventionist political meddling, military invasions, and hectoring cultural incursions in the Islamic world. These wounds demand a cauterization that would end the republic’s bleeding, and then a strict application of non-interventionism that will prevent them being reopened.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and he helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.