As always, U.S. interventionism yields a dunghill of daft and expensive fecklessness

Historically, U.S. political and military interventionism reliably produces three negative results: (a) motion without movement that fools Americans into thinking they are more secure; (b) dead and maimed Americans; and (c) a larger national debt. Let us, for a moment, look at the immediate results of the U.S. military interventionism that has occurred during the past two week:

  • We bombed the Syrian military airfield from which a poison gas attack may have been launched against Asaad’s enemies. We destroyed none of Asaad’s gas arsenal, and did not destroy the base’s runways. This is a zero achievement for U.S. national interests, but a reason to celebrate for all of America’s most lethal enemies: Israel, the Neocons, Saudi Arabia, the media, the Republican and Democratic establishments, and the disloyal Israeli-First Americans, all of whom share the priority goal of keeping the republic perpetually involved in unnecessary wars with those they deem their enemies.
  • We praised and pledged eternal fealty to NATO, as we have to even such less relevant entities as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. In essence we have signed blank checks for NATO’s spendthrift leaders, men and women who will never defend themselves as long they can extort our financial help by stroking the enormous egos of official Washington and its self-serving general-officer corps with meaningless words like “America’s world leadership is back.”
  • We dropped what we called “Mother of all Bombs” in Afghanistan and managed to killed less than 100 IS fighters. Probably not a cost effective use of the bomb; a good lesson to IS to stay out of easily identifiable cave systems; and a really craven replacement for the personal courage and massive killing that even now may be too late to defeat the Islamists.
  • We and the Chinese have claimed a victory over North Korea because The Dear Leader backed down, except he did not back down, fired a missile that failed, and and earned no Chinese or U.S. military response for doing exactly what he was warned not to do. (NB: If the Dear One’s missile failed because it was hacked by U.S. war-makers, why has that method not been used previously to ensure no progress was made on North Korea’s nuclear program? And, if dearie’s missile was killed by a U.S. hack, do we not have yet another reason to thank Ronald Reagan — peace be upon him — for funding SDI?)

These four items all fall under the category of: “Using Military Power to Send a Message.” In none of the forgoing cases did the message sent mean any substantive improvement in the situation in so far as genuine U.S. national interests are concerned. Things may be quiet for a week or two, but the messages sent merely popped loudly, killed few, changed little, and will send the targets of the messages scurrying to find work-arounds that will allow them to proceed and then confront us with our failure.

There are two bottom lines here. The first is that the only clear and effective message that can ever be sent with military power is the utter destruction of all the facilities that allow the enemy to wage war, and the production of extraordinary numbers of dead enemies, their civilian supporters, and those who need to learn they cannot live happily and safely among the enemy.

If we do not have the moxie to wage war in the only way it has ever delivered definitive success, we are merely sending loud but strategically meaningless messages via military force. Those messages may convince the delusional and multi-starred braggarts who do the shooting, and then falsely trumpet the attacks as world-changing successes on Sunday news shows. Those who received the messages, however, will simply get on with their wars, having again been reminded that the U.S. and Western militaries and their political masters have no contact points with the nature of the religious war they are fighting, and remain steadily, and very effeminately striding along the path that leads to calamity. The Islamists will exclaim, “Allahu Akhbar!” and thank the Almighty for sending Islam enemies who send messages but have no clue about how men fight if they mean to win and are willing to die in the effort.

The second bottom line is that the President Trump and his foreign-policy and defense advisers ought to call a timeout for a week or ten days and read about the conflicts in which they recently reintervened and so get a grasp on genuine U.S. national interests. (NB: They could do no better than to start their reading with Walter A. McDougall’s The Tragedy of U.S. Foreign Policy. How America’s Civil Religion Betrayed the National Interest, (Yale, 2016)). With a bit of knowledge under their belts, they can then reflect on the clear fact that all of the conflicts of the past fortnight are the result of past U.S. national governments unconstitutionally intervening in other peoples’ wars, and, in doing so, jettisoning genuine U.S. national interests — keeping the republic at peace, its military kids alive, and not expanding the debt, for example — for the irrelevant interests of greedy and/or effete foreigners.

Syria: The Syrian missile raid was only necessary because George W. Bush started an unnecessary war he did not intend to win in Iraq — removing Saddam, the West’s best ally against the Islamists — and because the thug-racist Obama intervened to an extent sufficient to get what he wanted; namely a war that would produce an unmanageable mass migrant problem for the United States and the West that would, over time, end the role of white people, republicanism, nationalism, and Christianity in the governance of Europe and North America. Lesson: When the unnecessary, not-intended-to-be-won wars caused by unconstitutional U.S. military and political interventions go wrong, they can never be turned around and won by more unconstitutional, unnecessary, and not-intended-to-win U.S. military and political interventionism.

NATO: Question: Why does NATO need defending? Answer: Because (a) it will not pay to defend itself but can extort protection from U.S. leaders who are always eager to intervene and pay the bill for foreigners, especially if, when doing so, the irrelevant, weakling foreign nations praise the president of the day and “America’s world leadership”; (b) because George H.W. Bush intervened in post-Cold War European affairs to expand NATO up to the border of Russia, a potentially war-causing interventionism now being carried forth by Senators McCain and Graham; and (c) because the Obama administration, the EU, the UN, and the Western media politically, financially, and media-wise intervened in Ukraine and led and funded the overthrow of a pro-Russia regime and replaced it with a pro-EU regime on territory that historically has been Russia’s, and which is a strategic threat thereto if held by Russia’s enemies, or those friendly to Russia’s enemies. Lesson: When the unnecessary, not-intended-to-be-won wars caused by unconstitutional U.S. military and political interventions go wrong, they can never be turned around and won by more unconstitutional, unnecessary, not-intended-to-win U.S. military and political interventionism.

Afghanistan: The thinking behind the decision to drop a huge bomb in Afghanistan could only have been hatched in an asylum for either the mentally deranged or haters of America. In a country where there is never any national unity unless their is a common, non-Muslim foe to fight, the dropping of the bomb can only be understood as a means by which the asylum’s denizens sought to further unite Afghans and their Arab allies against the United States and NATO, and to get the former to kill its soldier-children and deepen its debt by deepening its intervention there and, thus, reenforce its earlier and irreversible Afghan defeat. Lesson: When the unnecessary, not-intended-to-be-won wars caused by unconstitutional U.S. military and political interventions go wrong, they can never be turned around and won by more unconstitutional, unnecessary, not-intended-to-win U.S. military and political interventionism.

Korea: The seemingly endless U.S. war in Korea began when President Truman behaved as a dictator and unconstitutionally invaded Korea without the approval of Congress, but — like Obama in Libya — claimed to be armed with the irrelevant authority of the UN. Nearly seventy years later, the republic’s unconstitutional and unnecessary intervention in Korea — combined with several nations speeding the Dear Leader’s nuclear development — leaves the United States with a problem that has progressed from cavity, to root-canal, to a mouth full of gums. This week’s naval interventionism and hollow threats have done nothing to remedy the problem, but probably have made the Dear Leader’s trigger finger more itchy. Lesson: When the unnecessary, not-intended-to-be-won wars caused by unconstitutional U.S. military and political interventions go wrong, they can never be turned around and won by more unconstitutional, unnecessary, not-intended- to-win U.S. military and political interventionism.

The answer to this set of self-made problems for the republic is to retreat to the safety of the Constitution (as it was written), American nationalism, a clear and commonsense definition of genuine U.S. national interests, and a recognition that an always strong U.S. military is the indispensable tool needed to ensure that America’s only survival-ensuring foreign policy — neutrality and non-intervention — is resolutely maintained unless the nation is attacked by foreign miscreants. Spreading democracy, women’s rights, and human rights; protecting favored nations from the consequences of their own actions; and the governing elite’s passion to be praised by foreigners, even at the cost of America’s demise, are all sure-fire war starters. The term America First means exactly that. It does not mean NATO, Israel, and Egypt first, and then, if any money left, Americans. And it certainly does not mean that the national government should be moved to military interventions because mounds of dead Syrians, Israelis, Ukrainians, Afghans, or most any other foreigners are piling up.

The only foreign-policy reason that the always evil presence of a central government is allowed in the United States is to defend Americans and the republic’s life-and-death national interests, even with the use war, as a last resort. The national government created by the Constitution has no plausible legal, moral, or ethical responsibility to ensure the survival of any foreign entity or population. In short, foreigners are always expendable.

The Trump administration is reaping the whirlwind created by U.S. foreign policies that — between 1945 and 2017 — have served the interests of foreigners far more than those of Americans, have bankrupted their republic in the process, and have given the president the powers of a tyrant. The people who elected President Trump thought that his words meant he understood this simple reality, and that he would reestablish the binding principle of putting America First. Perhaps he does, and he is off to a slow start.

But if Trump maintains or strengthens the interventionist status quo, there is no longer a reason to maintain what has become a national government that, in foreign policy, can only wage unnecessary, unconstitutional and always losing wars, at the cost of constricting liberty at home. With the national government also having proven long ago it is incapable of conducting a domestic policy that is not bankrupting, liberty-eroding, and society dividing, moreover, the citizenry would be left staring at the fact that there is no plausible reason why the national government — as currently configured, empowered, and staffed — should be permitted to continue to exist.

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.