End U.S. Support for the Indefensible War on Yemen
Trevor Thrall and John Glaser make an excellent case against U.S. support for the war on Yemen:
Beyond placating overexcited Saudi fears of a U.S. strategic tilt towards Iran, there simply is no moral, legal, or strategic justification for what the U.S. is doing in Yemen.
As I’ve saidmanytimesover the last ten and a half months, the war on Yemen is indefensible and U.S. support for it is disgraceful. Thrall and Glaser do a good job summing up most of the reasons why the intervention is wrong, why U.S. involvement is foolish, and how the war actually harms U.S. security interests. They’re entirely right that the war on Yemen has nothing to do with Saudi and Gulf state self-defense. They are also right to point out that the “legitimacy” of the government that the Saudis are seeking to restore is hard to take seriously:
A better description would be to call the Hadi government a tool of Saudi Arabia, since Saudi Arabia not only brokered the deal that allowed him to replace Saleh but also enabled him to return to Yemen after the Houthis drove him from the country. Arguing that the Saudis are responding to a call for help is essentially to argue that the Saudis asked themselves to intervene in Yemen.
The Saudi-led intervention has been a costly failure for the U.S.-backed coalition. More important, it has inflicted enormous harm on the civilian population, wrecked the country’s infrastructure, brought its health care system to the brink of collapse, starved millions of people of basic necessities, destabilized the entire country, and stoked sectarian hatred. All of these things will have enduring, destructive consequences for Yemen and its neighbors for decades to come, and we won’t know the full costs of this ill-conceived, reckless intervention until long after the current fighting is brought to an end.
The war on Yemen is still mostly ignored in the West and especially in the U.S., but the Obama administration’s support for the war is one of the most appalling U.S. policy decisions of the last forty years. It is terrible example of what happens when a great power foolishly enables reckless client governments in their most destructive behavior, and it should be a cautionary tale against ever doing anything like it in the future. The U.S. should of course halt its support for the war and press the Saudis and their allies to stop their senseless, ineffective campaign, but there has been so little criticism of or dissent from administration policy that this seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.