THE U.S.–FOCUSED ON THE LESSER OF TWO ENEMIES? MAYBE–MAYBE NOT
As many of you know that follow me, I frequently reference a geopolitical expert George Friedman. He is a moderate and as apt to criticize conservatives as progressives. But he usually gets to the heart of an issue. In this matter of the Orlando Massacre, terrorism, and defining our real enemy he offers some brilliant insights as usual. He has many pertinent things to say about the tragic shooting in Orlando killing 50 persons in total counting the shooter, and its link to terrorism generally, and the U.S. presence in the Middle East specifically. However, in his analysis, which will serve as the basis of this article, he also leaves out one of the main points that should be included in the discussion, which amplifies the confusion the United States has demonstrated regarding terrorism, its cause, who we are really fighting, who our allies are, and who are real enemies are.
Today’s submission by Friedman — “Reality Check” (June 15, 2016) — carries a title and subtitle that, of course, help to explain the point he wishes to make:
“Facing Some Truths Behind the Florida Massacre”
“In confronting terrorism, the U.S. needs to decide whether it is at war and who the enemy is.”
Make no mistake, the shootings and acts of terror are tragedies that must to be prevented, the perpetrators must be identified, and their crimes punished. But these acts are also deceptions. They are distractions (WHETHER PLANNED OR UNPLANNED BY THE POWERS THAT BE!) to keep the U.S.’ attention focused on the lesser evils while the greater evils fester. Terrorism domestically misleads Americans into considering only the one enemy–a lesser enemy–when the existential enemy that truly threatens us, is mostly disregarded. While the Orlando tragedy is the focus of our media and the main remedy cited is better gun control, the Obama administration is defending its actions to place what appears to be an “anti-ballistic missile system”–a defensive technology only (supposedly) into Romania on the pretext that it is to defend Europe against rogue Iranian missiles and the nuclear threat they pose (a threat the Obama administration made worse by the nuclear “deal” they made with Tehran on July 14, 2015). This has Putin fuming. No doubt his intelligence tells the Russian President the new ABM missile defense system is just as likely to be dual purpose (defensive use but offensive use too), the same way that the Russian S-400 and the about-to-come-on-line, S-500 will be (that will give Russia over 14,000 dual-purpose missiles–a 100 to 1 or better advantage for the Russians). In response, Obama has ordered a second aircraft carrier group to the Mediterranean while observers question whether a direct military confrontation between Russia and NATO could be in the offing.
But first, lets recap what Friedman has to say, of which we should be mindful. Friedman lays out the grand missteps that the U.S. has made and how these foreign policy blunders have led to gross mismanagement of our role and mission in the Middle East. Allow me to cite from his article, a particularly insightful passage, before I add my thoughts on why the U.S. now finds itself in a lose-lose situation.
It is now almost 15 years since 9/11 and we still have not answered the core questions:
Are we at war or fighting criminals? And if we are at war, who with exactly? To distinguish between crime and war, you have to look at intent, not means. The means may be the same but the goal is different. Criminals pursue money or are unbalanced and pursue fantasies. Terrorists are pursuing political ends, and therefore, their attacks are consistent with the definition of war. War is a continuation of politics by different means. War is intimately bound up with politics. Crime is not. There are always gray areas, but this definition works.
What are the political ends of Islamist terrorists? Since the rise of al-Qaida, there has been a clear and consistent goal: to overthrow “hypocritical” Muslim states and replace them with jihadist regimes that would create a united global Muslim state called the caliphate.
To achieve this end, the jihadists need to do two things. The first is to demonstrate to the Muslim masses that they have been betrayed by their own governments, and that they have the power to seize control of their own destinies.
The second goal is to drive the United States, Europe and other non-Muslim powers out of the Islamic world. Terrorism is intended to drain the enemy of its will to continue and force withdrawal. This is the same goal of the mass bombings of World War II.
The two goals mesh, because terrorism does not require major organization or resources. It simultaneously strikes at the enemy, and empowers all its supporters who wish to be empowered.
Given this end, there is no question that terrorism is an act of war and not a crime. The problem is defining the enemy. We know that all Muslims are not jihadists. We also know that all jihadists are Muslims. (For his full article, click HERE).
The problem is exacerbated, of course, by our President’s unwillingness to identify Islamic terrorism as such, believing it better not to inflame passions by labeling a terror incident part of the Jihadist plan to destabilize America. Others may wonder, based upon what is happening in Syria, that the President doesn’t want to offend an ally called ISIS. An ally you say?
When it comes to the Middle East, the long-standing question is, “Who is the biggest enemy we must overcome or at least keep at bay?” Assuming we know who the enemies are, fighting the greater of two enemies would seem to be the logical course of action. But there is this not-so-small question of ethics and the associated matter of public opinion. In the case of the Middle East, I have gone on record advancing the argument that Russia is the greater of two enemies (the lesser being radical Islam). I also assert that the U.S. chose the dangerous path of employing the lesser of our two enemies, ISIS and Al-Qaeda, to fight the more strategic foe, Assad and his ally Russia.
I discuss this quagmire of U.S. foreign policy and the missteps that have made such a mess for the United States in my book, THE NEXT GREAT WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST: RUSSIA PREPARES TO FULFILL THE PROPHECY OF GOG AND MAGOG. [For more detail on the recent history of the region and why it matters so much to clarifying who are enemies really are and what we should be doing about it, I encourage you to get a copy or download one throw iBooks, Kindle, LuLu, or Nook.] I can’t restate what took 100 pages to adequately explain. But I will attempt to sharpen the point on what we are facing right now.
WHICH ENEMY ARE WE REALLY FIGHTING?
As I have posted before, citing authoritative and investigative Seymour Hersh, the U.S. has been caught fighting with itself in the Middle East. Why has this happened? Why has the Pentagon pitted itself against the CIA? It has happened because of the gun running overseen by the CIA, through Turkey, to support Al-Qaeda and ISIS in their fight against Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria. In this instance, the Pentagon said “No, we aren’t going to provide aid and comfort to the enemy, an enemy that was responsible for 911 and for atrocities in Iraq as well as Syria.” The Pentagon actually gave away secrets about the positions and plans of ISIS and Al-Qaeda to Russia, Germany, and Israel , knowing that all three have relationships with Assad and clearly wanting this information to be leaked to Assad and his military to help defeat ISIS and Al-Qaeda. This sabotage would eventually lead to the dismissal of the former head of the Joint Chiefs, Martin Dempsey although that cause and effect has never been acknowledged. We should remember the name, Martin Dempsey, and associate it with patriotism for he is a patriot.
Most of us are quite familiar with the controversy and the confusion around the “Benghazi” event on September 12, 2012, memorialized in the recent movie 13 Hours. This resulted in the death of American ambassador Christopher Stevens.
While the movie portrays the unsuccessful defense of the American consulate and successful defense of a secret CIA outpost less than a mile from the consulate, the backstory is why this station was there and what was really happening in Benghazi. What caused Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to do nothing at the time to help save her diplomat? Why did she send out UN Ambassador Susan Rice to go on a misinformation tour on the Sunday Shows right after with a ridiculous story (a proven lie) that the attack was random, spontaneous, involving only disgruntled people protesting at the American consulate? Was it because it could expose the secret gun running to support ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Syria? The answer is a clear “Yes” for any reasonable person that understands the way things really work in the Department of State, the NSA, the White House and the CIA. What is stunning here is that the Pentagon disobeyed the orders of the Commander and Chief and worked against the White House. During the Benghazi event, the U.S. military obeyed orders from the White House and Secretary of State to “Stand Down” during the attack on the consulate. It was left to the the heroics of a few former special operations “mercs” (mercenaries), which saved a number of lives and ultimately “did the right thing” — the patriotic thing, that the Obama Administration ordered it not to do. This event along with some others almost equally distasteful would eventually persuade the military to tell the President and Secretary of State to “take a hike” when orders came down that conflicted with “doing the right thing”. Thus was born a quiet coups d’tat during the past two years.
Taking a step back: What would Clinton and Obama want to supply aid and comfort to the enemy? Why would they support ISIS and Al-qaeda? The answer: because they were gunning for two bigger enemies. In my view, because of their upbringing in college when they were devotees to the doctrines of Marxist Saul Alinsky, they grew to hate “Imperialist America.” One of their lurking motives has been to undo what American Imperialism did in the Middle East, Cuba, Viet Nam, and other Latin American states. To bring “power to the people” they have been engaged in the destruction of the American “dictators” like Mubarak, Gaddafi, Hussein, and most recently al-Assad (who has been a Russian puppet not U.S.). Consequently, the Obama Administration including Clinton and later Secretary of State John Kerry, has embarked on a mission to undo the “fascist” American foreign policy of the past 60 years (which was always a practical program to achieve political goals rather than achieve an ideological perspective). True: American policy talks freedom and liberty, free markets, and so on–which is no doubt partially dwells somewhere within our leader’s mentality and influences what they pursue in terms of the overall mission.
But there is no denying that economics and corporate interests hold sway in what we do geopolitically. We are capitalists and our government does want to help our corporations to succeed globally, in part to help provide American jobs and to help our country prosper. But we should act responsibly and oftentimes we don’t. We often oppress other countries in the name of making money and that explains why many consider America the modern-day Babylon.
Our approach, for better or worse, has been in play in the Middle East since the 1940s and has consistently initiated covert operations to dislodge leaders that might not support the economic and political aims of the United States and Britain. The U.S. and Britain originally stood against Israel becoming a nation–we wanted the Arabs to win because they had oil and Israel was nothing but a desolate land offering no value to the Anglo-American alliance. (See the 1960 movie Exodus starring Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint, to heighten your awareness of what the West really wanted concerning the formation of Israel) [ 1 ]
At the same time, U.S. presidents including Clinton, the two Bushes, and Obama sustain a quiet proxy war with Russia, seeking to dismantle or at least disrupt Russian plans in the region. “The Great Game” has always demanded we keep Russia “land-locked” and its naval ports frozen much of the year. If you understand this strategy (“The Heartland Theory” of MacKender), you understand why there was such a fuss made over Crimea, where Russia’s primary naval base at Sevastopol resides.
The civil war in Syria, not initially, but within less than two years of its beginning (the Arab Spring in 2011 was the kickoff for wide-spread instability in the region) gave the Obama Administration the opportunity to take out yet another autocratic dictator, but this time, one that supported Moscow’s goals to build a bigger military presence while also improving its ability to corner oil and gas transportation (i.e., pipelines) from Arab oil and gas fields in the Middle East to Europe. Recall that Moscow obtains over 50% of its national (“federal”) revenues from sales of its mineral resources to China and to Europe. Pipelines that might bypass Russian control and create an alternative source of supply would cut prices more (already depressed due to Saudi Arabia driving down the price of oil, at this time still hovering at or below $50/barrel). Fighting against Assad and replacing him, even if it means creating chaos such as the CIA engineered in Libya with its support to the assassination of Gaddafi, helps the U.S. against its bigger enemy (and true existential enemy), Russia. But is employing ISIS with its penchant for beheading its enemies, and Al-Qaeda with the blood of 3,000 Americans on its hands, an approach worthy of the ideals of the United States of America?
The Obama Administration (not unlike its predecessors) might claim to be supporting the liberation of the oppressed in the name of democracy, but it’s ulterior motives are more complex than a simple ideological initiative. While it is true that in this case the citizens of Syria deserved to be helped to throw off the criminal reign of Assad (Assad has killed well over 300,000 and turned over one million Syrians into refugees flocking to Europe and a growing share coming to America). Obama, Clinton, and Kerry have opted instead to support rebels no matter what stripes they wear.
What if Americans understood, however, that the U.S. really doesn’t want to destroy ISIS? That Al-Qaeda is in fact an ally in the fight against Assad? Would Americans understand that the bigger enemy is ultimately Russia? That Russia is, as the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Joe Dunford says, the real existential threat and not ISIS? Would facing this reality be acceptable in the court of public opinion? Or would we be disgusted that our government is playing such a duplicitous game and misleading the people regarding who the ultimate enemy is? Would we want to elect the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who was up to her earlobes in this illegal gun running operations, supporting enemies of the United States to fight the bigger enemy? Would we rather know what’s up or be left in the dark?
Clearly, we must identify who our real enemies are. We must isolate who is our biggest threat. But we must also act in an honorable way, whenever possible, in defending ourselves. And that usually means being honest. The American people aren’t stupid. By now, we should be tired of our government and its leaders acting in secret, “knowing what’s best for the American people” and keeping us from learning the truth, especially when it involves illegal actions that motivate our military to start disobeying the Commander in Chief. If that is the nature of the beast that America has become, it won’t be long until the military will have had enough. Military leaders will decide that politicians making decisions to deceive the populace should no longer be put in charge. The populace will be better served by its military acting without regard to the whims of a population that is ignorant of the real world, casts votes for criminals, and leans on leaders who spend billions in taxes predominantly playing political games only to advance their careers.
When we come to that point, and I believe that is a very likely outcome especially if Clinton becomes the next President (as I have been predicting for the past three years), a full-fledged coups d’tat will be a distinct probability. Americans, failing to take charge of their politicians, will find themselves governed by their military, perhaps justified by its leaders, merely as a protectorate (like Cromwell’s England) until a return to the U.S. constitution can be safeguarded and a government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people is reinstated.
I will leave you with this recommendation: another old movie worth watching. Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas in the 1964 film, Seven Days in May. After watching, ask yourself this question, “Is Democracy worth the fight?” What must we do to remain a people who enjoy liberty? In short, I contend the people must be awakened to the truth about those who would be their leaders. Vigilance is a small price to pay for freedom. And no, the military isn’t the right choice. But neither are leaders who mesmerize us with good speeches and look great in front of the camera, but behind the scenes make decisions and implement programs the citizens of this great country would deplore. “Hope we can believe in” is a great motto despite ending with a preposition. But it is also proven to be a deception. I would rather articulate my summation with these grammatically incorrect words that also conclude with a preposition: Deception is something we can no longer live with.
[ 1 ] Exodus is a 1960 epic film on the reclamation of Israel made by Alpha and Carlyle Productions and distributed by United Artists. Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, the film was based on the 1958 novel Exodus by Leon Uris. The screenplay was written by Dalton Trumbo.