Foreign Policy

Israel and Palestine: The Case for Non-intervention

The recent Israeli military incursion into Gaza has been correctly termed an “invasion”, as put by Congressman Ron Paul. It shows the world, once again, that the policy of preemptive or “preventive” war carries the day with Israel and its policies towards its neighbors. In reality, this is an extension of the U.S. foreign policy of intervention into the internal affairs of other nations, having taken its latest form in the past five years as preemptive war with the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Many staunch (i.e., blind) supporters of the state of Israel somehow believe that the latest military strategy will somehow work in staving off the threats of rockets being fired by members and supporters of Hamas.

On Israel and Palestine, We Should Call It A Day

Back in 2004, when I was coming of age politically, I strongly sympathized with the Palestinian cause. I’ve always found the forced removal of Palestinians from their homes during the creation of the state of Israel to be a mistake of modern society, and I find it blaringly obvious that the black-haired and brown skinned refugees in the West Bank have a more rooted history with the Middle East than the brown-haired and white skinned Jewish college students from Seattle and New York who go to Israel to find themselves.

My support for Palestinians dissipated, however, as I became more aware of the horrors of modern Islamism. The Palestinian people have voted Islamists into power through Hamas. Peace has never been on the Islamist agenda and so peace is not what the Palestinians have gotten.

An “American jihad” is a reckless, terrible, and stupid idea

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At first I thought he was just trolling, using the term for clickbait to get people to read what I assumed would be his innocent rah rah patriotic defense of American exceptionalism. But then I actually read Keith Ablow’s latest Fox News post, and he’s totally serious. He actually thinks ‘It’s time for an “American jihad.” What a reckless, terrible, stupid idea.

Dr. Ablow is so patriotic, so proud of the Constitution and our system of laws that he thinks other nations should literally be forced to adopt them. I, too, think the US Constitution is the most transformational document in the history of human civilization, and I would be happy to see the rest of the world adopt a similar republican system of government. However, it is madness to “insist” that they do so.

What about the existing Islamic jihad does Ablow think would be good to replicate? It’s not just the Sharia and Islam that we oppose about it. The entire concept of an outside force imposing its political will on us is anathema to the American spirit. It would be others if we did it as well. It certainly has been in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and everywhere else we’ve attempted to export democracy with bombs.

In fact, I’m surprised so many conservatives are inspired by the idea. We espouse federalism and freedom for Texas, Virginia, and New Hampshire from control by Washington, DC. Yet we don’t think Argentina, Iran, and Libya would mind being controlled by Washington, DC? It’s worse than statism, it’s trans-statism, and it’s un-conservative and dangerous.

When America’s interests are threatened, it must act: Non-interventionism is not pacifism, and sometimes you have to hit back

The mainstream media is all atwitter this week about how the new breed of Republican doves is already turning back to their old hawkish ways in the face of new global threats. I’m not sure if this is a not-so-subtle attempt to paint non-interventionism as unsustainable, or if conventional wisdom is just that ignorant about what non-interventionism actually is.

So let’s set the record straight once and for all. Non-interventionism is not pacificism. When American interests are threatened or Americans are killed, non-interventionists are right to demand action, and that doesn’t make them no longer non-interventionists.

Robert Costa and Sebastian Payne at the Washington Post provide good reporting on a faulty premise in their “Rise of Islamic State tests GOP anti-interventionists.” Naturally, Hawk-in-Chief John McCain is using this piece to mock Rand Paul and others via subtweet.

ISIS must be destroyed: The murder of James Foley should spur the golfer-in-chief into action

JF

Most Americans, libertarians especially, and the writers on this site in particular, were skeptical about going back into Iraq with military force to defend the Iraqis and Kurds from the Islamic State (ISIS) extremist group’s conquest.

It’s really not our fight anymore. We were there for eight years fighting the Hussein regime, then insurgent forces, and training the Iraqi military to defend itself and maintain the peage. Still, polls showed support for limited airstrikes against ISIS targets to protect especially vulnerable civilian populations

That all changed on Tuesday when a video surfaced (but will not be linked here) of an American, AP photographer James Foley, being horrifically decapitated by an ISIS representative (and apparently British citizen) as a warning over our limited involvement in the situation. This was exactly the wrong tactic if ISIS wanted to keep us away.

However deep your pacifism, isolationism, or non-interventionism runs, the brutal public execution of an American citizen is a red line that must not be crossed without consequence. We can debate Congressional authorization, tactical targets, strategic objectives, operational scopes, or international assistance, but we must respond swiftly and unflinchingly.

Rand Paul and Aid to Israel – He Was Right the First Time

Just a week ago, PolitiFact.com’s Truth-O-Meter gave Sen. Rand Paul a “pants on fire” rating for the following statement:

I haven’t really proposed that in the past. We’ve never had a legislative proposal to do that. You can mistake my position, but then I’ll answer the question. That has not been a position — a legislative position — we have introduced to phase out or get rid of Israel’s aid. That’s the answer to that question. Israel has always been a strong ally of ours and I appreciate that. I voted just this week to give money — more money — to the Iron Dome, so don’t mischaracterize my position on Israel.

Is this “pants on fire” rating fair? PolitiFact goes into quite a bit of detail and it does seem that Sen. Paul’s statements are demonstrably false and the only person mischaracterizing his statements is Rand Paul himself.

When Sen. Paul was promoting his 2011 budget, he repeated on several occasions that his budget would eliminate foreign aid to all countries, including Israel. There was even a section of the budget which addressed Israel directly:

Barack Obama’s new strategy in Iraq makes no sense

U.S. Embassy in Iraq

Just what is the strategy in Iraq?

The country is going to hell in a hand basket, and America’s strategy is to send 300 “advisers” to help the Iraqi government. The “advisers” are special forces soldiers, and, despite what President Barack Obama claims, it means troops are back on the ground in the country. This shatters Obama’s statements from 2011 and 2012 that the war in Iraq was over and troops were coming home. It isn’t a bad thing the troops were taken out of Iraq, but why are they going back?

The mission is rather nebulous as well. If anyone thinks the “advisers” are just going to sit back and relax while telling Iraqis what to do, then there’s a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. The U.S. doesn’t just send 300 special forces soldiers to do nothing. Best guess is they’ll be involved in intelligence to help the Iraqis fight the Islamic State In Iraq and Syria (ISIS). And that means they’ll probably end up in harm’s way.

Recovered From the Memory Hole: Bush Admin. Agrees to Date for Withdrawal from Iraq

George W. Bush

As the carnage escalates in Iraq, American partisans are pointing fingers and making assertions as to “who lost Iraq.” The neo-cons say that Obama lost Iraq because he pulled the troops out prematurely. Those who opposed the war from the beginning say Iraq is Bush’s mess (something this author mostly agrees with). While these debates are important, what are the facts?    

It turns out that in 2014 we have a nifty tool called Google. One of the most helpful tools is the advanced search that allows someone to enter in a range of dates (it’s the closest thing we have to a time machine). I remembered that the Bush administration set a date for withdrawal from Iraq soon after Barack Obama was elected to be the next POTUS (despite what the neo-con revisionists are trying to say now) but I didn’t remember exactly when. I set the range between November 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008 and entered “Iraqi withdrawal of US troops” in the search box.

Defining insanity: Obama is repeating deadly mistakes he made in Libya by ramping up intervention in Syria

While our attention is focused on President Obama’s latest announcement concerning his plan to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 9,800 by 2016, a mission to authorize U.S. military to train Syrian rebels is close to obtaining the green light from the administration, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The program would not only provide training to what the Obama administration calls moderate rebels, it would also provide lethal aid.

A recent PBS Frontline story on Syrian rebels outlined their steps from the war-torn country to Turkey, where they allegedly meet with American handlers before heading to Qatar for training and equipment. Rebels claim they are not only trained for battle in Qatar, they are also offered a considerable supply of “sophisticated weapons.”

While Congress never formally authorized this kind of aid, Obama says he’s willing to work with lawmakers to sanction a $5 billion fund that would provide aid to the opposition in Syria. The fund would be used to support countries like Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq, as well as rebels fighting Syria’s President Bashar Assad.

Rand Paul’s stand against Obama was huge moment for the Constitution

Judge Andrew Napolitano really has a way of explaining the importance of basic civil liberties in a very common sense way. In his latest at Reason, “Another Week of Government Lawlessness,” he asks some very basic, mostly rhetorical questions:

What if that lawyer who advised the president that he could kill with drones—even Americans if he wished—has been nominated to become a federal judge? What if the bench to which the president nominated this lawyer is the second highest court in the land?

What if the Constitution requires Senate confirmation of all of the president’s judicial nominees? What if Sen. Rand Paul and others asked this nominee for public copies of his legal memoranda in which he found a way for the president legally to kill Americans? What if this nominee and the president refused to make these memoranda available for public scrutiny until a court ordered them to do so?

I have a question of my own: “What if the media actually thought Rand Paul’s filibuster was actually important enough to cover?” After watching half of one local newscast and half of another last night, it occurred to me that neither had one thing to say about Rand Paul’s filibuster, good or bad. Not one word about this judicial nominee, either, not even on the crawl on the bottom of the screen!

So what did my local news think was important enough for my consumption? The CEO of Levi’s advises his customers not to wash their jeans, the cat who saved a child from a dog attack “threw” out the first pitch at some minor league baseball game, and the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks visited the White House.


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