Sunday, December 18, 2016

Did I Miss a Bush War or Three During the Double Noughts?

What is this guy talking about? How is this Trump statement declaring a "profoundly different approach" that is "even more different from the one followed by the last Republican president, George W. Bush" even approaching reality, pray tell?

In a separate passage, one in which Mr. Trump clearly was following a script rather than freelancing, he said: “We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments, folks.”

Notwithstanding the Left's complaints beginning in about mid-2003 that President Bush had a plan to invade every hostile state in the Middle East after overthrowing Saddam, America actually overthrew just two states in the greater Middle East.

The first was Afghanistan, whose Taliban government hosted al Qaeda which attacked us on September 11, 2001.

Should we have not done that? And don't forget that President Obama massively escalated the war in Afghanistan.

And Bush 43 led an international coalition in response to Saddam's failure to abide by the 1991 ceasefire that was supposed to deny him any WMD programs, and was backed by a bipartisan consensus in America that Saddam needed to be replaced by a democratic Iraq, and which was authorized by a declaration of war (well, authorization to use military force, in current terminology) from a  Republican House and a Democratic Senate.

And If I may be so bold to bring this up, even President Obama believed what we achieved was worth waging Iraq War 2.0 to salvage Iraq from the setback that followed our 2011 withdrawal and the rise of ISIL in Syria and Iraq (and which subsequently spread elsewhere).

I stand behind that decision to destroy the Saddam regime. Iraq went from a state that backed terrorists to one that is bleeding even today to destroy the terrorists of ISIL.

And really, was the "anti-Bush" President Obama better on this measure notwithstanding its effort to withdraw from the world under the theory that we make things worse by intervening?

Under Obama we overthrew the Libyan government; paved the way for overthrow the Egyptian government (twice, with the second one in favor of Sisi in reaction to the mistake of letting the Moslem Brotherhood replace Mubarak); and, if you ask the Russians, overthrew the pro-Russian government of Ukraine.

Add in the half-hearted attempt--violating the wisdom of the advice "when you strike a king, kill him"--to compel Assad to step down in Syria.

And don't even start by asking the Israelis how they feel about our president's attempt to deny Netanyahu another term in office.

So our policy is to be that no (enemy--see Israel) regime is so hostile or odious that it doesn't deserve to be overthrown?

And seriously, you think that any of those regimes would even believe that we don't want them replaced?

Will Iran and North Korea heave a sigh of relief and say, "Thank God we don't need to waste resources pursuing nuclear weapons to deter invasion and regime change! Huzzah for Trump!"

Will Russia stop being a paranoid pain in the ass seeking to rebuild their empire at the expense of our allies and friends who don't wish to become imperial provinces (again)?

Just thwarting Russian ambitions while trying to lower the tensions to avoid war with Moscow has a high enough degree of difficulty without thinking we are natural allies.

Mind you, this is a big deal. But why pointlessly slam Bush? And yes, the main point of the article seems to be how it will be difficult for Trump to forge a partnership with Russia given the many things Trump says he wants to do. Which is true enough--and a major mistake to try because Russia under Putin is too paranoid to be any kind of reliable partner.

But I don't see the so-called serial overthrows of foreign governments by Bush 43 that a new and "profoundly different" Trump policy of accepting any rogue state is rejecting.