Home/Daniel Larison/The Administration’s Absurd Justification for Supporting the War on Yemen

The Administration’s Absurd Justification for Supporting the War on Yemen

The administration’s spinning of the war on Yemen is getting ever more ridiculous:

“Iran needs to recognize that the United States is not going to stand by while the region is destabilized or while people engage in overt warfare across lines — international boundaries — in other countries,” Kerry said. “We have an ability to understand that an Iran with a nuclear weapon is a greater threat than an Iran without one. And at the same time we have an ability to be able to stand up to interference that is inappropriate or against international law, or contrary to the region’s stability and interest and those of our friends.”

The U.S. definitely isn’t standing by when the region is being destabilized by overt warfare. It is actively helping the governments engaged in that destabilization. It is openly supporting an attack by its clients on a neighboring country. I suppose the U.S. could stand up against this sort of inappropriate and destabilizing interference, but in practice the U.S. is taking the side of the governments that are blatantly interfering in the affairs of another country. The Saudi-led campaign in Yemen is “contrary to the region’s stability,” but the U.S. is backing it and spreading the falsehood that the campaign is aimed at “restoring stability.” Saudi interference in Yemen is indeed outrageous, and the U.S. is helping them to interfere. The Saudis and the other members of their coalition are waging an unnecessary war across international boundaries, and they are creating a humanitarian crisis in the process, and the administration evidently has no problem with it.

The U.S. shouldn’t be backing a side in this conflict, and to the extent that it is involved at all it ought to be trying to secure a cease-fire. Our government certainly shouldn’t be trying to put a positive spin on an unnecessary Saudi war, and it shouldn’t be offering excuses for the very sort of destabilizing and aggressive behavior that our officials claim to deplore. Emma Ashford summed things up well in her conclusion this morning:

But the United States should stop reflexively supporting the Saudi-led military campaign, and instead push for a political settlement, so that the Arab world is spared from another unmanageable conflict.

Based on what Kerry and other administration officials have been saying, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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