Military Misadventures

The Trump administration launched an Apr. 6 cruise missile strike against an airbase in Syria in retaliation for a nerve gas attack alleged to have been carried out by the Assad regime which killed 86 people in a rebel held town.

Some of his more enthusiastic supporters are really unhappy, since he specifically campaigned against this kind of interventionism:

This has not gone unnoticed:

You don’t have to be a “Russian stooge”, have a doctorate in international affairs, or even serve in the military to be sick to your back teeth of endless military adventurism, particularly in the Middle East, the kind I along with millions of American voters voted against in 2016.

Apparently, the only difference between Clinton and Trump in this regard is that the enthusiastically hawkish Clinton would have done the same thing inside of three weeks of taking office, instead of three months.

The cruise missile strike accompanies news that the administration will pursue a policy of regime change to overthrow the Assad regime:

This necessarily evokes the question  as to what happens should the U.S., along with any “coalition partners” succeed.

I don’t think anyone, not even in the administration, has a clue nor will ever get one.

In the years since 9/11 there is ample evidence that this kind of meddling doesn’t work out very well, and there is no reason to believe it will work out well here.

This is not meant to be gratuitously callous to the suffering of those in Syria, nor those displaced by the civil war.

This is a simple admission of humility that the United States can neither house the entire world, fix its problems, nor remake it in our image nor should we try, no matter how powerful the guilt-tripping is from bien-pensant elitists:

No, Secretary Clinton, not only is it not our responsibility to intervene or otherwise meddle in affairs not our own, it’s not our place to do so, which would be yet another supreme act of hubris by the U.S. in the opening years of the 21st century.

Afghanistan alone with regard to the British occupation in the 19th century, and Soviet occupation in the 1980s provide crystal clear demonstration that empire-building is expensive and self-destructive, and I want no part of it, no matter how deeply involved the Russians are in the chemical attack.

I also have no patience for the kind of false choices offered by those who constantly beat the drum for the kind of wars that displace multitudes of people, and then help foist upon Europe in the name of empathy, diversity, and multiculturalism millions upon millions of migrants from such wars (as well as migrants of a more opportunistic bent) who have incompatible values, the result of this process which has been the accelerating destabilization of that continent.

We just can’t keep doing this forever.

If the Trump administration does follow through with any regime change plans in Syria, I have no reason to believe it will turn out any better than in Iraq, Libya, or Afghanistan — we will invariably be bogged down in a hostile country, boxed in for years (if not decades) with people who hate us, have values almost entirely incompatible to ours, and who would bring their own intercommunal conflicts with them into the United States as they have in Europe.

This time we will enjoy the close proximity of a fellow nuclear-armed power which we have recklessly antagonized.

For this long-time Christopher Hitchens atheist, ISIS, against whom the Assad regime fights, is much higher on the ledger of what I consider a threat than Putin or Assad and I don’t have to love either to understand that the axiom “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” can on occasion be true.

The reverse can also be true.

The Kurds fight ISIS while Turkey bombs them — Turkey is the nation whose leader recently told Turkish expats living in Europe to have five children instead of three, as they are “the future of Europe”, while waging political campaigns in European countries as though Turks living in Europe are colonists more than genuine citizens of their adopted countries.

The increasingly Islamist government of Turkey aids the enemies of the West while declaring a demographic war against them.

Whatever the long-term goals of Assad or Putin may be, ISIS is composed of people who dedicate their lives to killing or forcibly converting the entire world’s population to the worst interpretation of The Religion of Peace™ against which both can and have been effective in fighting.

Regardless of the likelihood of their success, I highly doubt either Assad or Putin are nearly as ambitious as ISIS, and despite any suggestions of keeping friends close but enemies closer, I don’t want Turkey under Erdogan that close.

As in the 2016 campaign, the Syrian civil war is a conflict in which outsiders must pick between lesser evils.

Bombing the enemies of ISIS is to choose the greatest evil — acknowledging that plain truth requires no approval of anything done in that war by Assad or Putin.

I knew voting for Trump would be a mixed bag for someone whose politics are as complicated as mine are by now.

But in doing this he’s deeply angered his base of supporters which he will need for victory in 2020.

If he keeps doing stuff like this, not only will his base abandon him, I wouldn’t be surprised if a substantial primary opponent emerges in the 2020 election.

With past as prelude in Iraq and Afghanistan, if the U.S. invades Syria, that might be the least of his problems.

Whatever Trump’s political future may hold in store, after nearly 17 years since 9/11 of entanglements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere, enough is enough.