November 17, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - The horrific attacks in Paris on Friday have,
predictably, led to much over-reaction and demands that we do more
of the exact things that radicalize people and make them want to
attack us. The French military wasted no time bombing Syria in
retaliation for the attacks, though it is not known where exactly
the attackers were from. Thousands of ISIS fighters in Syria are not
Syrian, but came to Syria to overthrow the Assad government from a
number of foreign countries — including from France and the US.
Ironically, the overthrow of Assad has also been
the goal of both the US and France since at least 2011.
Because the US and its allies are essentially on
the same side as ISIS and other groups – seeking the overthrow of
Assad – many of the weapons they have sent to the more “moderate”
factions also seeking Assad’s ouster have ended up in the hands of
radicals. Moderate groups have joined more radical factions over and
over, taking their US-provided training and weapons with them. Other
moderate groups have been captured or killed, their US-provided
weapons also going to the radicals. Thus the more radical factions
have become better equipped and better trained, while occasionally
being attacked by US or allied planes.
Does anyone not believe this is a recipe for the
kind of disaster we have now seen in Paris? The French in particular
have been very active in arming even the more radical groups in
Syria, as they push for more political influence in the region. Why
do they still refuse to believe in the concept of blowback? Is it
because the explanation that, “they hate us because we are free,”
makes it easier to escalate abroad and crack down at home?
It may not be popular to say this as emotions run
high and calls ring out for more bombing in the Middle East, but
there is another way to address the problem. There is an alternative
to using more military intervention to address a problem that was
caused by military intervention in the first place.
That solution is to reject the militarists and
isolationists. It is to finally reject the policy of using “regime
change” to further perceived US and western foreign policy goals,
whether in Iraq, Libya, Syria, or elsewhere. It is to reject the
foolish idea that we can ship hundreds of millions of dollars worth
of weapons to “moderates” in the Middle East and expect none of them
to fall into the hands of radicals.
More bombs will not solve the problems in the
Middle East. But a more promising approach to the Middle East is
currently under fire from the isolationists in Washington. The
nuclear deal with Iran ends UN sanctions and opens that country to
international trade. Just last week the presidents of France and
Iran met to discuss a number of trade deals. Other countries have
followed. Trade and respect for national sovereignty trumps
violence, but Washington still doesn’t seem to get it. Most
presidential candidates compete to thump the table loudest against
any deal with Iran. They will use this attack to propagandize
against approving trade with Iran even though Iran has condemned the
attack and is also in the crosshairs of ISIS.
Here is the alternative: Focus on trade and
friendly relations, stop shipping weapons, abandon “regime change”
and other manipulations, respect national sovereignty, and maintain
a strong defense at home including protecting the borders from those
who may seek to do us harm.
We should abandon the failed policies of the past,
before it’s too late.
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