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Unnecessary Wars and Unreliable ‘Allies’

John Allen Gay sees [1] the recent deployment of U.S. forces to act as a buffer between Turks and Kurds as an expression of the U.S. pursuit of primacy:

Yet one could make the case that the Manbij situation, despite being condemned by many here inside the Beltway, is a logical extension, or at least a microcosm, of the bipartisan Beltway consensus on U.S. grand strategy. This grand strategy, known as primacy, suggests that the United States should take an active, leadership role in every strategically important region of the world, and that this is good for both the United States and for nations of good will in those regions.

If one accepts that the U.S. has a global “leadership” role like this, one will usually conclude that the U.S. has to police or “shape” foreign conflicts that have little or nothing to do with American security. Even when there is no discernible American interest at stake, the U.S. involves itself for the sake of exercising this supposedly necessary “leadership,” but as we can see in the case of Syria this will mean putting Americans at risk to prevent ostensible “allies” from killing each other. That calls attention to some other bad habits in our foreign policy: we extend the title of ally to a large number of groups and states, some of whom are mutually antagonistic, and then we think that it is the job of our foreign policy to satisfy all of them at the same time. That inevitably produces a confused policy that ends up satisfying no one and leaving all sides convinced that Washington is unreliable. The deployment in Syria also reminds us of the incoherence of the supposed anti-ISIS “coalition” itself. Most members of the so-called “coalition” do not consider fighting ISIS their top priority, and most have signed on to the anti-ISIS effort in the hopes of acquiring U.S. support for whatever their real goal happens to be.

As ever, the U.S. needs to be more discriminating in the fights it chooses to join and the “allies” it accepts in the process.

3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "Unnecessary Wars and Unreliable ‘Allies’"

#1 Comment By Uncle Billy On March 21, 2017 @ 7:46 am

The Kurds and Turks have been killing each other for centuries. Ditto the Sunnis and Shiites. How are we going to stop it? Are we going to have US troops on the ground in every country in the Middle East to keep them apart? This is the “world policeman” idea on steroids.

If you take issue with this world policeman foolishness, you are smeared as an “isolationist.” I think it may be time to return to the Monroe Doctrine. We stay out of Europe, Asia and Africa and focus on the Americas. Stay out of Syria.

#2 Comment By Get Out And Work On America On March 21, 2017 @ 4:47 pm

Has he “taken the oil” yet? If not, then what the hell are we still doing there? I didn’t vote for Trump in order to stay bogged down in the Middle East for another four years, that’s for damn sure.

#3 Comment By rayray On March 22, 2017 @ 10:47 am

@Get Out and Work On America
Hate to break it to you…but Trump has no vision for America. He wants to put “America First” because he likes the way it sounds and the way people respond when he says it. But he has no idea how the government or foreign policy or even the economy on a governmental level works enough to act on this slogan. His recent meeting with congress over the health care bill was an embarrassment. He doesn’t seem to fully understand either Obamacare or Trumpcare. He just makes impotent threats.

We need to get out of the MIddle East. But to get us out of conflicts in the Middle East is going to require an understanding of the MIddle East. It’s not as simple as just pulling out. You needed a president both intelligent and principled enough to navigate the immense pressures, both internal and external, that got us into this mess in the first place. Trump is not that person. He is an ignorant person. Period.