In a world rife with examples of the damage done to the U.S. economy and our national security by Washington’s relentless and bipartisan overseas interventionism, two current situations can be cited to demonstrate the high cost of intervention, on the one hand, and the wisdom of national-interest-protecting non-intervention on the other.
The attacks that killed so many people in Norway last week are important primarily because they are a sign of coming events across the Western world. Whether Anders Breivik is a member of an active clandestine organization or a single shooter, some of the fears and motivations he described in his words and writings are not simply the unique ravings of a single madman, although that surely is the conclusion Western politicians, the mainstream media, and the academy will work diligently to make us believe. Breivik surely is a killer and he may or may not be mad — time and medical examination will tell — but his motivations are based on perceptions that are common in parts of all Western societies.
With all eyes focused on the Republicans and Democrats trying to out-incompetent each other on the federal budget, I thought it best to keep quiet until that exercise is complete. But I think the unreality of the whole budget mess is so pervasive that I decided to throw in my two cents in the area where I have at least a bit of knowledge and experience; that is, on the issue of interventionism.
All told, this week has produced a surplus of bad news on several fronts. Here are just a few items.
Most U.S. politicians have for so long shilled on behalf of Israel’s ahistorical and deceitful contention that a nation has a “right to exist” that it probably was inevitable they would come to believe the lie themselves. As noted here previously, every country has the right to defend itself according to its own best lights, but no country has a right to exist. Existence depends on national defense capabilities and a readiness to use war as a last resort to annihilate the few entities that pose life-and-death threats; a determination to avoid cultivating enemies at home and abroad; a prosperous economy that affords opportunities for all; and a cohesive social fabric that encourages free speech and welcomes an armed citizenry. Without these attributes a nation-state eventually goes up the spout, be it Israel or the United States.
As Ayman al-Zawahiri takes charge of al-Qaeda (AQ) he faces a situation more promising than any the group has encountered since its formation near the end of the Afghan-Soviet war. Of course having such an opportunity and exploiting it are two different things, but if al-Zawahiri controls his personal abrasiveness, limits his micro-managing tendencies, and works with his Shura Council to pick a talented deputy from al-Qaeda’s coming generation — best bets: Abu Yaha al-Libi and Naseer al-Wayhashi — the future for al-Qaeda, its allies, and those they inspire is bright. Here are some of the reasons for this conclusion.
Two simple truisms seem appropriate these days when discussing the Afghan war: “If you don’t understand your enemy, you will lose to him” and “If you do not kill your enemies, they will surely kill you.” U.S. political, military, and civil service leaders have neither tried to understand what motivates the Taliban and its allies nor have they tried to comprehensively kill them. As a result, they now stand at the inevitable destination — the brink of a vastly humiliating defeat that cannot be disguised.
In the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, it is of first importance to confront the reality that al-Qaeda is an insurgent organization, not a terrorist group. This is not a mere semantic difference.
While some in the media swoon over President Obama’s “plan” for the Middle East — note the Washington Post’s piece by David Ignatius — and the Israel-First fifth column prepares to teach the Democrats a lesson in 2012, the rest of us common folk can see how irrelevant we are to the foreign-policy plans of Mr. Obama and our bipartisan political elite.
While Mrs. Clinton, General Petraeus, and Senator Kerry leak information to the media about “accelerating” peace talks with the Taliban, Mullah Omar and his lieutenants are thanking Allah for Islam’s clearly approaching victory in Afghanistan. The Clinton-Petraeus-Kerry disinformation now flowing is simply meant to prepare Americans for a U.S.-led surrender in Afghanistan. We are defeated there, and while Democrats and Republicans may tart up the retreat of the U.S.-NATO coalition as “mission accomplished,” the truth will be that the second superpower was defeated in Afghanistan by mujahideen armed only with faith and weaponry of Korean War vintage.