Yemen Fiasco Shows Futility Of America Trying To Police The World

Photo credit: The City Project (Flickr)

Last September, President Obama cited his drone program in Yemen as a successful model of US anti-terrorism strategy. He said that he would employ the Yemen model in his effort to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

But just a week ago, the government in Yemen fell to a Shite militia movement thought to be friendly to Iran. The US embassy in Yemen’s capitol was forced to evacuate personnel and shut down operations.

If Yemen is any kind of model, it is a model of how badly US interventionism has failed.

In 2011, the US turned against Yemen’s long-time dictator, Saleh, and supported a coup that resulted in another, even more US-friendly leader taking over in a “color revolution.” The new leader, Hadi, took over in 2012 and soon became a strong supporter of the US drone program in his country against al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula.

But last week, Hadi was forced to flee from office in the coup. The media reports that the US has lost some of its intelligence capability in Yemen, which is making it more difficult to continue the drone strikes. Nevertheless, the White House said last week that its drone program would continue as before, despite the disintegration of the Yemeni government.

And the drone strikes have continued. Last Monday, in the first US strike after the coup, a 12 year old boy was killed in what is sickeningly called “collateral damage.” Two alleged “al-Qaeda militants” were also killed. On Saturday, yet another drone strike killed three more suspected militants.

The US government has killed at least dozens of civilian non-combatants in Yemen, but even those it counts as “militants” may actually be civilians. That is because the Obama administration counts any military-aged male in the area around a drone attack as a combatant.

It was al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that claimed responsibility for the brutal shooting at an anti-religious magazine in Paris last month. At least one of the accused shooters cited his anger over US policy in the Middle East as a motivation for him to attack.

Does anyone wonder why, after 14 years of drone strikes killing more than 800 al-Qaeda militants, it seems there are still so many of them? As a Slate Magazine article this week asked, “what if the drones themselves are part of the problem?” That is an excellent question and one that goes to the heart of US anti-terrorist strategy. What if it is US interventionism in general and drone strikes in particular that are motivating so many people to join anti-US militant movements? What if it is interventionist and militarist western foreign policy that is motivating people to shoot up magazines and seek to bring terrorism back to the countries they see as aggressors?

That is the question that the interventionists fear most. If blowback is real, if they do not hate us because we are so rich and free but because of what our governments are doing to them, then US interventionism is making us less safe and less free.

The disintegration of Yemen is directly related to US drone policy. The disintegration of Libya is directly related to US military intervention. The chaos and killing in Syria is directly related to US support for regime change. Is there not a pattern here?

The lesson from Yemen is not to stay the course that has failed so miserably. It is to end a failed foreign policy that is killing civilians, creating radicals, and making us less safe.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

A Foreign Policy Rebuttal To Obama’s State Of The Union

Obama Peace

President Obama’s foreign policy is a miserable disaster. The tone-deaf president negotiates from a position of weakness with enemies of the United States while turning on allies like Israel and France.

His foreign policy follies are notable for a series of bad decisions and miscalculations, beginning with:

1. Removing economic sanctions against Iran without any concessions or agreement to terminate their overall objective to become a nuclear state.

2. His unilateral decision to “normalize relations” with Cuba, a major ally of North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela and one of the biggest human rights violators in the world.

3. Labeling ISIS as a “JV team of terrorist.” He underestimated the threat posed by the Islamic State terrorists and relied on the corrupt and incompetent Iraqi army to combat them

4. He claimed that al Qaeda was decimated. But a recent report by the RAND Corporation tracked a 58 percent increase over the last three years in jihadist terror groups.

Obama’s do-nothing approach is aiding and abetting the enemy. Even Hilary Clinton has criticized the president’s handling of ISIS. She recently said: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle. It may be a necessary brake on the actions you might take in order to promote a vision.”

The president doesn’t have a plan to “destroy” ISIS, nor any serious consideration of what it might take to defeat them. His lead-from-behind philosophy has destabilized the Middle East and has alienated his allies to the point that not even James Taylor can convince them that they have a friend in the U. S.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Obama’s Foreign Policy Blunders To Explode

Photo credit: Navajo Nation Washington Office (Flickr)

When it comes to foreign policy, 2014 might have seemed unstable. But the actual shooting wars were well contained.

As we look forward to 2015, however, the landscape looks more chaotic than ever.

Let’s take a tour through the top five foreign policy blunders that are about to erupt over the coming months…

Blunder #1: Iran. When Obama entered office, the containment of Iran was a primary objective of American policy. Iran was using Russian and North Korean technology to become a nuclear power with a stated objective of ending the “Jewish” occupation of Palestine.

Iran’s nuclear program is an existential threat that Israel cannot (and should not) allow. 2015 is the year Israel moves unilaterally to end this threat.

Obama has been trying to coax Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions through diplomacy. This has been an adventure in naivety. To his surprise, Obama’s coaxing has only given Iran the time and ability it needed to consolidate its technological gains.

Expect Iran to become a flashpoint in 2015.

Blunder #2: Syria. Next up is Syria. (Iran and Russia are involved here, also.) Bashar al-Assad has hung on as Syrian President against all odds. His civil war, which began as a legitimate democracy movement, metastasized into the Islamic State.

If Obama had left well enough alone and not encouraged jihadi warriors with his support of the Arab Spring, then Assad would have likely never seen his country disintegrate. We’re now in Syria fighting – essentially, with Assad – because of Obama’s earlier bloopers.

[Editor’s Note: Speaking of huge mistakes… Most investors believe that when a merger breaks down, the profit opportunity is over. The truth is, there are measurable patterns that we can use to our advantage when merger talks melt down. And by tracking them closely, you can unlock killer returns. Get the full story here.]

Blunder #3: Iraq. The Islamic State also was greatly helped by Obama’s premature withdrawal from Iraq. Iraq has suffered under unbelievable incompetence by both Bush and Obama.

Bush should have never dissolved the Iraqi Army. And just as a new one was finally taking shape, Obama left the field, and they disintegrated (this time on the battlefield).

Blunder #4: Ukraine. Circle around to Ukraine, and you see Obama pushing Russia up against the wall with economic sanctions and military aggressiveness within sight of their border. How would America feel if Russia made a deal with Mexico to station Russian tanks on our southern border?

Ukraine deserves freedom, but real freedom will result not from economic sanctions and blustering talk. The country suffered horribly in 2014. Its currency has lost half of its value. Food and medicine are scarce; and in parts of the country, a live shooting war is taking place.

Vladimir Putin shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame. Putin has been aggressive and has tried to look strong, but he’s Russian and proud. The way to deal with Russia is how Reagan handled the situation. Be firm, but also extend the hand of friendship. Eternal economic sanctions only hurt the lower classes. The elites never feel the pain.

Blunder #5: Asia. Asia also has some really urgent problems. Rhetoric is heating up between India and Pakistan. These two nuclear powers just can’t keep from fighting. Essentially, it boils down to a religious war between Islamic Pakistan and the Hindu-influenced Indian government.

Obama has ignored Pakistan and encouraged instability there by using a highly destabilizing drone policy in which the United States insists it has the right to kill people inside of other sovereign nations. This is a policy fraught with unintended future consequences (none of them good).

Bottom line: I hope you’re prepared… Any of these Obama failures has the ability to spin out of control and strike U.S. financial markets – creating uncertainty, which limits economic growth and the future of peace.

 

This commentary originally appeared at WallStreetDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: Navajo Nation Washington Office (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

All I Want For Christmas Is A (Real) Government Shutdown

Photo credit: Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock.com

The political class breathed a sigh of relief Saturday when the US Senate averted a government shutdown by passing the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. This year’s omnibus resembles omnibuses of Christmas past in that it was drafted in secret, was full of special interest deals and disguised spending increases, and was voted on before most members could read it.

The debate over the omnibus may have made for entertaining political theater, but the outcome was never in doubt. Most House and Senate members are so terrified of another government shutdown that they would rather vote for a 1,774-page bill they have not read than risk even a one or two-day government shutdown.

Those who voted for the omnibus to avoid a shutdown fail to grasp that the consequences of blindly expanding government are far worse than the consequences of a temporary government shutdown. A short or even long-term government shutdown is a small price to pay to avoid an economic calamity caused by Congress’ failure to reduce spending and debt.

The political class’ shutdown phobia is particularly puzzling because a shutdown only closes 20 percent of the federal government. As the American people learned during the government shutdown of 2013, the country can survive with 20 percent less government.

Instead of panicking over a limited shutdown, a true pro-liberty Congress would be eagerly drawing up plans to permanently close most of the federal government, staring with the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies not only degrade the average American’s standard of living; they also allow Congress to run up huge deficits. Congress should take the first step toward restoring a sound monetary policy by passing the Audit the Fed bill, so the American people can finally learn the truth about the Fed’s operations.

Second on the chopping block should be the Internal Revenue Service. The federal government is perfectly capable of performing its constitutional functions without imposing a tyrannical income tax system on the American people.

America’s militaristic foreign policy should certainly be high on the shutdown list. The troops should be brought home, all foreign aid should be ended, and America should pursue a policy of peace and free trade with all nations. Ending the foreign policy of hyper-interventionism that causes so many to resent and even hate America will increase our national security.

All programs that spy on or otherwise interfere with the private lives of American citizens should be shutdown. This means no more TSA, NSA, or CIA, as well as an end to all federal programs that promote police militarization. The unconstitutional war on drugs should also end, along with the war on raw milk.

All forms of welfare should be shut down, starting with those welfare programs that benefit the wealthy and the politically well connected. Corporate welfare, including welfare for the military-industrial complex that masquerades as “defense spending,” should be first on the chopping block. Welfare for those with lower incomes could be more slowly phased out to protect those who have become dependent on those programs.

The Department of Education should be permanently padlocked. This would free American schoolchildren from the dumbed-down education imposed by Common Core and No Child Left Behind. Of course, Obamacare, and similar programs, must be shut down so we can finally have free-market health care.

Congress could not have picked a worse Christmas gift for the American people than the 1,774-page omnibus spending bill. Unfortunately, we cannot return this gift. But hopefully someday Congress, will give us the gift of peace, prosperity, and liberty by shutting down the welfare-warfare state.

Photo credit: Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock.com

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

American Tyrants: Four Presidents That Failed Us

Photo credit: House Divided Project (Flickr)

We’ve had some good presidents, and we’ve had some not-so-good presidents. These days, unfortunately, our position on either side of the political aisle convinces us that we can tell the difference.

There’s little question that President Obama has courted controversy for most of his time in office so far, the most recent example being his executive order on immigration. While we’re still awaiting the verdict of history, and I myself am stuck somewhere between calling him a tyrant and naming him a groundbreaker, I thought it might be time to get a little bit of perspective.

Which past presidents became famous for their administration’s failures? I’m not talking about the occasional scandal here and there; no, I’m talking about the U.S. presidents who left the whole country reeling with their terrifically bad decisions.

Below are four U.S. presidents who could be considered the worst of the worst. My essential criteria for determining this are simple:

  1. Their damage affected multiple facets of American society.
  2. They helped to destabilize trust in the U.S. government.
  3. The effects of their decisions lasted into the next administration.

Let’s get started, shall we?

#1: Jimmy Carter

No matter your party affiliation, paying obscene gas prices (and waiting in quarter-mile, bumper-to-bumper lines to fill up your DeLorean) was probably not one of your top-five favorite things in the world if you had a set of wheels in the 80’s. Needless to say, this certainly didn’t do any favors for the U.S. economy–and things got bad. Very, very bad.

But how did we end up in a prolonged Oil Crisis in the first place? And how did the oil investment playbook change as a result? Well, price controls tend to lead to shortages, especially on commodities. Gasoline is one such commodity. Carter, apparently, was not very good with things like economics, which is probably why he implemented the Marx Method of fixing a capitalist economy.

Then again, he also had issues with things like foreign policy, too (which was another reason why OPEC wasn’t doing us any favors on oil). Essentially, the Iranian Revolution could not have happened without Carter’s facepalm-worthy decisions – and to make a long story short, the Iranians decided to take 52 American hostages.

Say what you will about Reagan; at least he managed to get those Americans back on our home turf.

#2: James Buchanan

With some presidents, you have to wonder if they were just bad at their jobs or they were implementing the Joker method of fixing the world by watching it burn. With James Buchanan, I’m thinking he just ran for the presidency because he wanted to live in a white house. Either way, the U.S. Civil War began on his watch: When Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter, his reply went something like this: “Do what you want.” Then he promptly abandoned the fort.

He also reacted largely the same way when an economic depression hit the country, called the Panic of 1857. Did he blunder by making some bad decisions in an attempt to fix it? Actually, no. In fact, he took virtually no action at all (or maybe he played a round of golf in Wheatland). Basically, the entire U.S. was going broke; and half the country was ready to split.

And Buchanan just did not want to be bothered by those things. He did, however, want to buy Cuba – and he was willing to mug Spain for it if they weren’t in the mood to sell.

Lucky for us, he practically gave his job to the next guy.

#3: Richard Nixon

Was he a crook?

According to him, the answer was no. As for the rest of the country, the answer was a clear and resounding: Yes, you’re a crook, Mr. Nixon. In fact, whenever you hear about any modern political scandal with the suffix -gate, it’s because of Nixon.

The Watergate office complex was the Democratic National Committee headquarters, and Nixon wasn’t fond of the Dems because, well, he was a Republican. So he decided to bug them, NSA-style, and then lie about it to the American people. Well, it didn’t take long for us to find out; but he quit before we could fire him. If only we had an Edward Snowden back then.

Basically, Richard Nixon might have single-handedly caused an entire generation of Americans to become politically complacent and completely distrustful of government. It even galvanized Congress into amending the Freedom of Information Act. The Watergate scandal is basically why we don’t have much faith in our fearless leaders anymore — and I can’t say I blame us, after realizing that the president was up to his neck in corruption.

#4: Lyndon B. Johnson

Johnson apologists may sometimes claim that his only true failure was the unrealistic scope of his ambitions. The truth is much simpler: Johnson was a failure because he had no idea how to follow through on his vision.

In 1964, Johnson delivered a speech about what he liked to call the “Great Society.” It laid out his plans for turning America into a place where we were free from poverty, racial injustice, and even boredom. It sounded like a fine plan, to be sure; but like those of too many politicians, it had little basis in reality – and was ultimately a failure.

His very obvious lack of direction also informed his disastrous handling of the Vietnam War; his plan began and ended with a vacuous mission statement about defeating the communists, but commenced without any obvious endgame in mind.

Arguably his worst failing, though, was his outright corruption. Johnson and his wife, thanks to close ties with then-FCC chairman Clifford Durr, managed to amass a personal fortune thanks to their television monopoly in Austin, Texas. What began as a simple purchase of station KTBC by Lady Bird Johnson in 1943 became instead one of the most egregious examples of an American politician using his position for financial gain.

The Takeaways

With the U.S. still reeling from some seriously stressful mid-term elections, it might be time to readdress the role of the average American citizen in government. It’s never been clearer that many of us don’t see past the red or blue or campaign banners when we pull the lever in the voting booth; we vote with our hearts instead of our heads, and we end up getting losers like these four gentlemen above for no other reason than because they’re not the other guy.

Barack Obama’s place in presidential history remains uncertain; but one has to admire his pioneering spirit, even if it’s legally ambiguous and perhaps ill-timed. To revisit the immigration issue for a moment, I do mourn for a country where the president takes action on his own; but considering how many other immigration bills have been in a holding pattern for years, it’s time something was done.

No matter what you have to say about our president, one thing is clear: for examples of truly failed presidencies, we need only look backward in history – and sometimes it’s not that far back at all.

Photo credit: House Divided Project (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom