Obama keeps pushing the bipartisan religion of interventionism

Too often, I believe, Americans think about Washington’s interventionism only as the actual physical intervention of U.S. military forces abroad in places where no U.S. interest is at risk. That activity certainly is intervention, but President Obama’s despicable decision last week to have his administration leak intelligence claiming that Israel has concluded an agreement with the government of Azerbaijan to allow its use of Azeri airfields for an air strike on Iran is just as much an unwarranted intervention by the United States government.

Readers of this blog will know that I carry no brief for Israel, that I believe it is a state that is irrelevant to U.S. national interests, and one whose U.S.-citizen supporters are disloyal to America and involved in activities that compromise U.S. security and corrupt the U.S. political system. That said, Israel — like the United States and all other nations — has an absolute right to defend itself when it deems it necessary to do so. The right of self-defense is the first and most important right of both individuals and nations. While Israel has no right to exist — and neither does America or any other nation, for that matter — it has an absolute right to defend its national interests according to its own best lights.

In the present case, Obama and his leaking-lieutenants have tried to deny Israel its right to self-defense. Washington under Obama may not agree that Israel’s national security and even its survival are threatened by Iran, and they may well be right. But the Obama administration’s leaking of the Azeri airfields data is an arrogant interventionist action that undermines Israel’s ability to defend itself as it sees fit. It as much of an unwarranted and unconscionable foreign intervention by Washington in another nation’s affairs as was the invasion of Iraq.

This is not, of course, to argue that an Israeli attack on Iran is justified or in the interests of the United States. It seems unlikely that an Israeli air strike can more than marginally retard Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon, and such an attack will surely cost Israel something given Iran’s air defense system and its worldwide terrorism capabilities. Justifying the war, then, comes down to balancing gains and losses and, on that score, it seems a close call for the Israelis. Such an attack would also further cement Israel’s unchallenged position as the Muslim world’s most hated enemy. But with all this said, only Israel can decide what its national interests require it to do to cope with or destroy the threat it believes Iran presents.

As far as U.S. interests are concerned an Israeli attack on Iran will be a disaster. Once underway, all the Muslim world will identify Obama’s Washington as an unqualified supporter of the attack based on the past history of complete and supine bipartisan U.S. support for Israel and the fact that the Israelis will be using U.S. aircraft, ordnance, and technology to kill Iranians. Once Israel’s attack commences, anything Washington has done to stop Israel from acting — be it behind-the-scenes pressure or the Azeri leak — will be irrelevant as Iran and the rest of the Islamic world will attribute ultimate responsibility for the attack to the United States. Iran will surely respond with violence against the oil industry and/or trade in its own region and via its operatives in the United States.

This surely is not a good result for the United States, and there are those who will argue that anything Washington can do to stop an Israeli strike is therefore justified, including the leak about Israel and the Azeri airfields. That argument, however, would be off the mark. As noted above, Israel and all nation-states — even Assad’s Syria and Omar Bashir‘s Sudan — have an absolute right to defend themselves at home and abroad when and as they see fit. For one nation to put obstacles in the way of another to prevent such an exercise of legitimate self-defense is unjustifiable intervention that the intervener will come to regret. Obama’s leaks, for example, have already ensured a damaging tit-for-tat Israeli leak of sensitive U.S. intelligence information, and has put an Azeri government heretofore friendly to the United States on Iran’s long-term hit list. Obama has incurred these costs for Americans whether or not Israel attacks Iran in the near term.

At day’s end it is vital that Americans understand that while an Israeli strike on Iran will damage U.S. interests, kill U.S. citizens, and involve the U.S. military in a war that will look very much like a clash of civilizations, the fault for this lies not with Israel but with the U.S. government and its bipartisan willingness to negate U.S. sovereignty and independence by allowing an alien foreign power to decide when the United States goes to war.

Under both political parties, Washington has performed as Israel’s unquestioning supporter, ready bully boy, eager weapons supplier, and abject apologist, in large part because all administrations have failed to enforce laws on the books that would properly designate AIPAC as an agent of a foreign power; discipline U.S. senators and congressman who meet privately with Israeli prime ministers and other leaders; and much more vigorously hunt, identify, and prosecute pro-Israel U.S. citizens in the private sector, intelligence community, military, Congress, and federal civil service who illegally pass Israel sensitive military, intelligence, technological, and economic information. Such action must begin if America’s sovereignty on the issue of going to war is to be restored, but for now the long record of massive U.S. government intervention on Israel’s side in the latter’s unending war with Muslims will be the main cause of the retribution Iran and other Muslim entities will exact from the United States if Israel attacks Iran.

Interventionism is surely among the most lethal of poisons from which our republic is suffering. But there are two sides to interventionism; one in which U.S. power is used to do something — removing Saddam, for example — and the other where it is used to prevent a nation from doing something Washington opposes, in the present case Israel’s right to self-defense. Many Americans who identify themselves as non-interventionists ignore this other side of the coin and act as though to be a non-interventionist one must be pro-Palestinian, pro-Iranian, anti-Israeli, or opposed to any and all U.S. military activities overseas. This is ahistorical and dangerous nonsense.

From the Founders’ era to today, the strength of non-interventionism lies in its relentless focus on keeping U.S. interests as the central determinant in drafting and implementing U.S. foreign policy. In our time, for example, Palestine is as irrelevant as Israel to U.S. interests and security; supporting the Palestinians in no way serves U.S. interests. Likewise, U.S. security and economic prosperity do not depend on Washington’s intervention to promote the creation of secular democratic regimes in Egypt, Russia, Sudan, Morocco Libya, Iran, Ivory Coast, Yemen, Bahrain, China, Pakistan, Burma, Mali, and Syria. Indeed, since early 2011 such intervention in the Muslim world by Obama and Mrs. Clinton — with strong Republican support — has done nothing but cultivate Islamism and a growing anti-Americanism which will hurt U.S. security and prosperity.

One would think that the disastrous results of ill-defined, failed, and/or unnecessary U.S. interventions overseas — most recently the U.S. military defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan and the deaths and debt they caused — would make Washington’s bipartisan interventionism anathema to Americans. And yet media coverage and popular reaction to Obama’s interventionist leak of the Azeri airfield information have been virtually nil, even though the leak will hurt America via Israel‘s coming disclosure of sensitive U.S. intelligence and by strengthening the ability of the pro-Israel Fifth Column of U.S. citizens to credibly claim that Obama’s leak prevented Israel from defending itself and so now Washington is responsible for protecting Israel by destroying Iran.

Unnecessary U.S. interventions overseas undermine the security, economy, and constitutional grounding of the American republic. It adds massive and utterly unpredictable costs — human and financial — to the debt burden of an already bankrupt nation, and it steadily increases the arbitrary power unwisely lodged in the hands of the president. The current election cycle ought to be the occasion for a searching debate on whether Americans really want to see their republic destroyed by unnecessary overseas commitments initiated by Ivy league-educated politicians to install their anti-religious and elitist view of how humans should be perfected by dictatorial central governments on the rest of the world. An overstatement? Yesterday, Secretary of State Clinton lectured the world on how to treat Syria and Burma — two states of no import to the United States — and promised steady U.S. involvement in each.

Meanwhile, this past weekend also saw local Tuareg tribesman and Islamist insurgents raise their flag over Timbuktu in Mali in an event that underscores the growing strength of Islamism in West Africa. The Islamists’ growing power in the region is at least in part due to the Obama-Clinton-McCain-Graham intervention in Africa to impose secular democracy since the start of the so-called Arab Spring. Unsurprisingly, there is no secular democracy on tap in the region, but the intervention of Washington, Britain, France, and the UN there has ensured a rising tide of Islamism. And, unlike Burma and Syria, the stability of the West African states is an important strategic interest for the United States because we are dependent on the region’s oil and strategic minerals, and because our maritime commerce is threatened by increasing piracy in the shipping lanes off its coast. As Mrs. Clinton’s behaves like a silly, democracy-obsessed co-ed playing to the equally silly media on non-issues like Syria and Burma, the U.S. military’s next target for intervention — West Africa — is emerging in ever clearer relief, thanks to the Obama administration’s Republican-supported democracy crusade in Africa and the Congress’s 40-year, bipartisan failure to assure America’s energy security.

I suppose our coming military intervention in West Africa is a third variety of intervention, that which is an absolute necessity to secure genuine live-and-death U.S. national interests after they long have been left unprotected by a feckless two-party system that attracts men and women who detest the Founders, have no contact with reality, and care only for reelection.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.