Military disengagement best with no true friends

Charles Coddintgon
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The newly-elected U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a resolution condemning the American involvement in the civil conflict in Yemen and calling for a complete withdrawal of all U.S. support. This action follows president Donald Trump’s desire to withdraw American troops from Syria and Afghanistan, a campaign promise he made in 2016.

As the readership of this publication well knows, The Chas is no great fan of our accidental president. So, it may come as a great surprise that he does agree with The Donald on a few limited issues. One of these issues is America’s war-making policies. To be sure, Trump is being hypocritical here; he opposes wars not initiated by him, but supports those he initiates. And he initiates those wars as readily as his predecessors, and ignores Congress’ constitutional authority to declare war. Nevertheless, his desire to withdraw troops from parts of Southwest Asia is welcome.

In response, any number of pundits, politicians, and foreign-policy so-called experts, interventionists all, have sounded an alarm. They claim that America is abandoning its allies to give free rein to its enemies, and yielding the field to every wannabe super-power to fill the vacuum.

I’ve called for American military disengagement from that troubled region since 1991, to be replaced by diplomatic efforts. America has never had any legitimate reason for involving itself in Southwest Asia. It has no friends there; those who pretend to be our friends do so in order to obtain money and weapons in order to bully their subjects and their neighbors and/or to fight their wars for them. And they hope we will turn a blind eye to these internal and external atrocities. Yet, one administration after another has come up with one excuse or another to maintain a presence.

I will remind the readership that, in his Farewell Address before Congress in 1799, our first president, George Washington, warned against “entangling alliances.” Strict neutrality was to be the first principle of America’s foreign policy. Treat all nations alike. Take no sides in any foreign conflict. Give advice/humanitarian assistance only when asked for it. Activate American soldiers only to protect American lives and property.

Did anyone heed him? No-o-o-o. George was hardly in his grave when the U.S. government began to nose about, beginning with the Monroe Doctrine of 1823. That statement was designed to deter European colonialism in the Western Hemisphere, but said nothing about American colonialism. With the Spanish-American War of 1898, the U.S. flexed its military muscles upon the world stage, thereby abandoning completely any pretense of strict neutrality.

And the beat continues. Our military, instead of being a bulwark against foreign invasion, has become nothing but mercenaries, hired guns to shore up autocrats or to effect regime change. It must end.

Whenever any pundit, politician, or foreign-policy so-called expert tells you that we are doing what we do in other countries in order to promote democracy and freedom, (s)he is a stranger to the truth. We do what we are doing in order to keep bad actors from replacing us as super-powers. We long have since forgotten George Washington’s warning and have become just another bad actor on the world stage.

Every Spiderman fan knows, “with great power comes great responsibility.” So far, America has shown little responsibility. And the sooner we bring all the troops home from wherever they are in the world, the sooner we can re-invent our foreign policy as something more humane.

Just a thought.

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