By: HASSAN FARAZIAN
SUMMARY: President Donald J. Trump had signaled that he will be taking a seemingly new direction in American foreign policy in the manner of “a new sheriff in town,” resulting in a tense drama resembling the classic movie High Noon. In April Syria was attacked with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons. Meanwhile, long-lasting American disgruntlement with North Korea’s continuing development of its nuclear and missile program has meant the Trump administration has, from the start, targeted it as another major foreign policy area.
The situation in Syria and North Korea could serve as a politico-military barometer to examine Trump’s expectation of success against regional and global conditions that are undoubtedly challenging the American vision throughout the world. Analysis of the United States’ foreign policy regarding these two geographically distant countries creates an intrinsic geopolitical test of American strategic resolve and credibility, as well as its application of foreign policy. How well it passes that test in the eyes of allies and adversaries will be critical to any examination of foreign policy direction and the anticipated level of implementation.
The cornerstone of any analysis, however, must be an evaluation of the history and underlying strategic equation for both Syria and North Korea, and an examination of dynamics that have been either misunderstood or ignored. Otherwise, these two crises will continue on a bridge to nowhere—like many other past and current U.S. foreign policy blunders.
Syria: The Civil War and Three Trillion Dollar Proposition
Between two groups of people who want to make inconsistent kinds of worlds, I see no remedy but force.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
The first and most important factor—elementary, forgotten, and yet obvious—which must be understood in any analysis of the Syrian crisis is its nature of being a civil war. As courses in History and Political Science 101 would confirm, a civil war only ends when one side prevails. The question in an end to the current Syrian civil war would, therefore, simply be: which side will impose its military force in a decisive manner? The Syrian government of Bashar Hafez al-Assad is supported by both Russia and Iran, which have actually put boots on the ground, aided by other Shiite Muslim forces across the neighboring region, notably the Iraqi government and the Hezbollah in Lebanon. This is one side of the equation. The opposing forces are composed of ISIS and many fragmented armed groups created and supported primarily by the CIA, British MI6/Special Forces, the intelligence services of other European countries, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, and other Arab Sunni governments under the banner of Syrian Democratic Forces. The CIA, Pentagon, and Israel, through its intelligence agency Mossad, have also supported the Syrian Kurdish movement in battling ISIS and Assad’s regime.
The Iranian resolve in helping an ally by steadfastly declining (in both words and action) any negotiation concerning al-Assad stepping down has so far been the only decisive factor in the Syrian crisis. In fact, Iranian officials have emphatically made it clear that they will do anything necessary to support the Syrian regime, even if it has to be done without any help. This is an implicit dog-whistle signal to Russia: Tehran will simply not approve any deal with the United States, Europe, or other regional players that would entail the removal of al-Assad.
There are, of course, many strategically logical advantages for both Iran and Russia in embracing al-Assad and his regime, primarily for the Iranian forces, both in the short and the long run, despite the cost in money and human casualties. Among the mutually reinforcing benefits for both parties, several are noteworthy. For Iran, it means a substantial geostrategic web of territories from Iraq to Lebanon that connects and employs important military and indigenous resources through its allies from the Persian Gulf to the Levant and all the way to Hezbollah. In effect, it caps Iran’s unprecedented and indisputable influence after the Iranian de facto win in Iraq, where the Shiite-led government filled in the gap after the U.S. invasion and Saddam Hussein’s fall.
This means that the Iranian hegemony as the “superpower” of the region will officially be one step closer to its natural historical character, reminiscent of the old Persian Empire. This strategic advantage should ensure greater respect for Iran and a place at the table of any regional negotiation over and above the Syrian crisis. The recent visit on August 15, 2017, of a very high-profile Iranian delegation to Turkey, led by General Mohammad Hussein Bagheri, the chief of Iranian Armed Forces, to discuss a whole range of issues from the Iraqi Kurdistan’s planned referendum to terrorism and the Syrian civil war is a strong case in point of the new regional reality.
As for Russia, access to the Mediterranean Sea challenges the Western alliance and provides a counterbalance to NATO’s aggressive push in Eastern Europe as well as the American positioning of a missile defense shield in Poland. By signing a 49-year agreement with Syria that allows it to control the naval base at the port of Tartus facility and gives it sovereignty over the territory. Russia is sending out a clear signal that, unlike the Western and regional supporters of the anti-al-Assad groups, it is eyeing a long-term strategic game. It is, therefore, inconceivable that Russia will abandon the Syrian regime; therefore, Bashar Hafez al-Assad is here to stay.
The Iranian-Russian alliance in Syria certainly has far-reaching effects and consequences over and above the Syrian borders and affects the strategic equation throughout the Middle-East and beyond. The psychological ramifications will be to demonstrate their resolve in supporting an ally, as opposed to the Western (American) policy of abandoning allies that are not to be trusted or counted on in times of crisis. This has major implications for the regions, regimes, and leaders that are walking on thin ice in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and many shortsighted domestic and foreign policy gaffes.
As the spillover effects of a U.S.-led, miscalculated Western policy continues to overwhelm the regional Arab Sunni governments, Turkey, and even the rest of Europe, Russia’s willingness to accept the survival of al-Assad’s government makes it a fait accompli. There is no doubt that once ISIS, the real threat to the Western and regional security has been defeated, the West’s financial and military supply lifelines to the Syrian “opposition” will be unplugged. It is wishful thinking that ISIS will disappear overnight. At the very best, it can become “manageable” as a decisive military force. The experience with al-Qaeda and the Taliban is a case in point.
A strong Syrian government aided by Russia and Iran can and probably will eventually dominate the Syrian politico-military landscape. However, beyond the dominance of one side over the other in this crisis, there is the socioeconomic reality of the Syrian reconstruction that has not been addressed even in the vaguest way. A picture tells a thousand words, and the images of a devastated Syria with all the ruined cities resembling WWII Europe should be a clear indication that only economic aid on a scale like the Marshall Plan is needed. Yet it goes without saying that the United States, Europe, and even the Arab oil-producing countries are all struggling with their own economic woes and are therefore incapable to extend any meaningful helping hand for Syrian reconstruction. It is not an exaggeration to estimate the actual reconstruction of Syria in the amount of 2 trillion dollars at a minimum.
There is also the question of the region’s massive “brain drain”—that is, scientists and others who have fled to the safety of Europe and the neighboring countries. The longer it takes for a peaceful establishment of a unified Syria, the less likelihood there is of them returning. The acceptance of a million and a half of Syrian refugees by Germany was far from being a humanitarian gesture, it filled the shortage of both the unskilled and professional workforce it desperately needed and will – gladly keep. This massive depletion of human resources accounts for another trillion dollars—hence the hefty bill of at least3 trillion dollars for a “post-civil war” scenario. Yet the supporters of the Syrian “opposition” will be unable to bankroll such a bill. Thus, Iran and Russia will cement their influence in Syria further, which is only a small component of their greater strategic planning in the region. The panoramic balance of power is continuing to change at a fast pace, with new players and tools brought to bear in challenging the traditional power brokers in the Middle East/ Persian Gulf region and beyond.
The goal of Australian foreign policy should be to promote the maximum harmony between the U.S. and China.
(Australian Prime Minister 11 March 1996–3 December 2007)
“I believe that we must try to limit the war to Korea for these vital reasons: to make sure that the precious lives of our fighting men are not wasted; to see that the security of our country and the free world is not needlessly jeopardized; and to prevent a third world war.
President Harry Truman
“There is one thing I have learned in this business, and that is not to issue ultimatums. You just can’t put the other fellow in a position where he has no alternative except humiliation.”
President John F Kennedy
Commenting during Cuban Missile Crisis
From the outset of the Korean War, the North Korean crisis has reflected an unspoken strategic and ideological conflict between the United States and China that has continued to this day. This condition underscores the reality that from the start all shots in the North Korean politico-military conflict have been called—to a large degree—by China. In every negotiation between the United States and North Korea over the past two decades, the China factor has been prevalent constantly. Although North Korea used and played both Soviet Union and China cards in challenging the American presence in the Korean peninsula during the Cold War, China has always been the North Korean regime’s main ally and supporter. This is not only because of its geographical position but also simply due to the massive economic help China has provided, upon which the regime survivability has depended since the Korean War (1950–53).
In a paper on Iraq, written only three months after the US invasion and President George W. Bush declaring a supposed victory under the banner of “Mission Accomplished,” it was concluded:
In fact, the American policy in Iraq has already had far-reaching effects ALL OVER THE WORLD. In Southeast Asia, for example, China, Japan, and both Koreas are all very skeptical of the US posture. In view of seemingly US absence from that area, China has certainly increased (and shall continue to) its influence in the region. Japan and South Korea don’t want US military presence, and as for North Korea – it has simply mocked the US. Finally, moderate Japanese leaders are also talking seriously about a proper army and even nuclear force – probably in trying to release themselves from adventurous US foreign policy. [Note: Emphasis mine.]
A decade and a half later, not only the above statement has been validated, but the lapse of time and the doubling down on even more foreign policy missteps, such as those made in Libya, Syria, and the continuing war in Afghanistan, have resulted in further accumulated liabilities. Thus, American image and prestige have been tarnished exponentially while increasing its inability to address other foreign policy adventurism or showdowns such as the N Korean face off today. At the same time, China’s gradual but steady rise on the world scene has seen that country take a tougher global foreign policy stance and assume greater influence along with its increased economic and military leverage. This has been witnessed in its creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; an unprecedented military build-up, matching the U.S. in projecting the image of a great power, which has been demonstrated unabashedly in the South China Sea conflict; its support of an Iranian nuclear deal; a strategic alliance with and support of Pakistan, flouting President Trump’s criticism of its policy toward extremists; and, last but not least, the border and territorial stand-off with India.
There have also been suspicions of Iranian collaboration with North Korea in its continuing research and development of a nuclear arsenal and missile system. This, too—confirmed by anonymous sources and evidence of a long-lasting cooperation since the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s—should be attributed to the Chinese, who must have signaled their approval and even encouraged this collaboration. China has used the North Korean card astutely in the pursuit of its foreign policy goals by pulling all the strings in advancing its objectives. Thus, North Korean actions must be attributed mostly to a Chinese-guided scenario strategically aimed at the U.S. rather than being taken solely at the initiative of Kim Jong-un or his “advisers” in the current showdown.
Postmortem to the American Syrian and North Korean Policy:
The End Game
The Syrian crisis has been handed over to Russia and Iran, with Turkey being designated as the Western representative in finding a face-saving remedy. Why America had begun destabilizing the Syrian regime in the first place, persisting on that path and now apparently abandoning it can be explained as follows.
First, the Saudi pressure that has been manipulated by Israel: Both consider Iran to be a formidable regional enemy that was the root cause of American involvement in Syria through its proxy supported the opposition.
Second, for the U.S., the objective would have been to disrupt the Iranian strategic advantage in denying it the geostrategic link already explained.
Third, as always, the plan of action contemplated by U.S. foreign policy analysts and national security officers must have looked and sounded good on paper, but it ignored the bitter experiences of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya by producing (yet again) a slanting analysis and by stonewalling all opposing views and promoting one more time another disastrous and controversial interventionist policy.
Fourth, the United States’ continuing unequivocal support of the armed opposition, despite a coherent policy, must have been with the view of making Syria a Russian and Iranian economic and military quagmire. However, after reading the writing on the wall, given the slow but sure end of ISIS as well as budgetary constraints, a de facto arrangement in abandoning the many armed groups created and supported so far is on the horizon.
A look at some of the propositions put forward by influential American think tanks and government officials who have had their feet wet in the past two decades can shed more light on the policy articulation and implementation that has gone haywire not only in Syria but in the Middle East region. On April 24, 2017, Susan B. Glasser, editor of Politico, interviewed Paul Wolfowitz on a range of subjects, particularly Syria, immediately after President Trump ordered the firing of Tomahawk cruise missiles on that country. The interview is revealing regarding the neoconservative view of foreign policy and the kind of policy prescription neocons continue to promote. It should be recalled that Wolfowitz was one of the most prominent neocon members of the George W. Bush administration; he served as Deputy Secretary of Defense and, as an avid interventionist and militaristic advocate for American foreign policy, came to be known as the notorious “architect” of the Iraq War. Afterward, he became president of the World Bank with Bush’s personal support. However, he had to resign in disgrace over unethical behavior and charges of nepotism and corruption in breaking World Bank rules by promoting his partner Shaha Ali Riza to a position with a lucrative salary.
The following excerpts and points from the Wolfowitz interview highlight the crux of the neo-conservative trend of foreign policy thinking from the “People Who Brought You Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya” reflecting their thinking on the Syrian crisis. The interview was conducted in the wake of an alleged Syrian regime chemical attack and a Wolfowitz article in the Wall Street Journal (April 5, 2017) that advised a military response:
Glasser: Now, it’s interesting. So you wrote this initial piece, and then, boom, Trump let the Tomahawk missiles fly. You then followed it up by saying, well, this is a good start in effect, but now you need to pursue a broader basically diplomatic offensive as well as military offensive to get Assad out of power. Now a lot of people would say, “How has regime change as a policy worked out for you, Paul Wolfowitz, in the Middle East?” Is that really a viable policy?
Wolfowitz, referring to the U.S. intervention in Bosnia, states as an example of a successful intervention that “it’s worth thinking back to 1995.” He advocates yet another military intervention by adding: “The U.S. now has an opportunity for a completely different environment in which to negotiate, where the calculations of not only every Syrian whose fate may be tied to Assad, where also Putin’s future is at stake.”Other telling points evoked are:
Wolfowitz. . . There are big national interests at stake here, and I think a lot could be achieved. . . .
But do me a favor; drop this word neocon because no one knows what that word means.
Glasser: I know it’s infuriating to you guys.
Wolfowitz: You know, it’s peace through strength and promotion of freedom. It’s the foreign policy of Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman, and John Kennedy. So that’s where we should be.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Glasser: Although certainly there’s a strong sense among a lot of people in the region that it’s the involvement of the outside countries in the Syrian war that has perpetuated and allowed it to go on for so long? You know, you have the involvement of the Saudis and the Qataris and the Emiratis and people backing their own factions, not to mention, of course, the Iranians next door, and that that might have been in this vacuum-like situation, especially earlier on in the war, what caused it to be such a confusing mess in the first place.
Wolfowitz: No question about that. And in some countries that you might list and some that you just listed you might want to leave them out of the negotiation to start with. At least start with people that genuinely share an objective of bringing peace to Syria. And I think you can write Iran off that list right away, unfortunately.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Wolfowitz: . . . poor John Kerry was left to negotiate something with no leverage whatsoever.. . . If we give up the Western idea of freedom, we’re giving up one of the most important diplomatic tools in our arsenal.
Wolfowitz is right about the high stakes but other than the same old failed rhetoric (give him a violin), he does not offer anything practical for the current state of affairs regarding the Syrian crisis and the United States’ dilemma. It does not occur to him that negotiating with “no leverage” now applies to every American foreign policy challenge all over the globe, and the dismissal of Iran from any negotiating forum on Syria is as far from reality in the Middle East today as his own interventionist prescription for Iraq was years ago. Interestingly, in mentioning the “involvement of the outside countries in the Syrian war that has perpetuated and allowed it to go on,” Susan Glasser does not mention the United States, Turkey, Israel, or Europe.
The interview was conducted in a studio at a “grandly renovated new headquarters” of the American Enterprise Institute on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C. Part of the problem for American foreign policy has been the fact that people like Paul Wolfowitz, and even low-to-middle-level policy planners, make their fatal and critical decisions in the comfort of lavish offices and bureaucratic cocoons that are many thousands of miles away from the geographical and geostrategic areas in question. More importantly, they are removed from the sociocultural, religious, and ethnic considerations that have made every major foreign policy—and consequently every strategy—seriously flawed from the start, as witnessed over the past two decades.
The North Korean standoff has also been a serious miscalculation from its beginnings. It is not a secret to America’s Southeast Asian allies that North Korea has been more of a concern for the United States’ national security interests than any other country in the region. The development of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) that give North Korea the ability to hit the American continent is the unacceptable new reality. Since the last century, the United States has fought in other lands without being touched directly by the destructive physical realities of a brutal confrontation. The South Koreans and the Japanese, who have paid heavily in the past wars, are not impressed by American lavish and generous proposals to have such a horrendous scenario played out on their turf. This has led to South Korean–American tension and the statement by South Korean President Moon Jae-in that “We can never tolerate another catastrophic war on this land,” adding, “We will not give up our goal of working together with allies to seek a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
There is a precedent that clearly demonstrates the importance of safeguarding and negotiating for American national security first and foremost over and above even legitimate security issues for the United States’ staunchest allies. In the mid-1970s the Soviet Union was building a new strategic threat in Europe with their SS-20 ballistic missiles, which the Europeans, notably the Germans, called Euro-strategic and the Americans named as Theater weapons. Because of domestic American politics and the continuing, as well as overwhelming, Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II) between the superpowers, the subject of SS-20s, and particularly the German concern about being in the front line of the missiles’ fire, was delayed until the signing of SALT II in 1979, when Chancellor Helmut Schmidt hoped and insisted that the Carter administration would negotiate on behalf of the United States’ European allies.
However, the brutal and unimaginable truth was that the United States was only interested in negotiating a working deal with the USSR that excluded any discussion of the SS-20s. As a person familiar with the negotiations confirmed anonymously, this was to ensure the success of the negotiations in favor of American interests by avoiding any more tit for tat that would have been raised by turning the SS-20s into a bargaining chip for the Soviets. This remained a major sore spot for Helmut Schmidt years later, and he mentioned his ire with the United States (and particularly President Jimmy Carter and his national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski) at every opportunity. This included an interview with the New York Times published on September 16, 1984, almost two years after he had been out of office:
By the end of 1978, Carter let it be known to Giscard, Callaghan (former Prime Minister James Callaghan of Great Britain) and myself that perhaps it would be a good thing if the three of us visited with him in Washington to talk about the strategic situation of the world and other matters. Giscard said, Well, I am not going to let the French be summoned to the capital of the United States. I proposed, Why don’t you invite these people, but don’t invite them to Paris, because this won’t lead to anything.
So the meeting was convened in January 1979 in Guadeloupe, a French island in the American hemisphere. And Jimmy Carter opened the meeting by saying, Well, Helmut has misgivings about the SS-20, and we have thought it over and come to the decision that we will put medium-range nuclear weapons in Europe – and what do you, Helmut, think about it? And I said, I will reserve my position – I represent a nonnuclear power, and the three of you are representing nuclear powers.
So Jimmy Callaghan answered first and said, This SS-20 problem must not be permitted to continue, but before you deploy American Eurostrategic weapons – the name Pershing did not come up; the type of weapon was not really discussed, nor the name – before you do that, I would propose that you negotiate the weapon with the Russians. Then came Giscard, who said, I think Callaghan is right, but the Russians will never negotiate seriously unless they are presented with the threat that if negotiations fail, the United States will unilaterally proceed and deploy their missiles. And I was the last one to reply, and I said, I buy the combined solution of Callaghan and Giscard. And in the end this is what Carter bought.
So in the next 10 months the allies argued about it in Europe, and then the official double-track decision was taken in December 1979. In the meantime, also, Brezhnev and his people took action, too – enormous propaganda machinery got into gear in an attempt to blackmail my party in Germany, and so on.
The Americans are not to be blamed after Guadeloupe. But they are to be blamed for having neglected the whole problem until then, and for not even mentioning the SS- 20’s to Brezhnev at the summit meeting in Vienna in June of 1979 – ridiculous.
I had a technical stopover of three hours at Vnukovo Airport outside of Moscow in June on the way to a summit meeting in Tokyo, and with the greatest of joy Gromyko and Kosygin came out to see me and told me, Schmidt, you are mad – you have been talking to General Secretary Brezhnev about the SS-20, and the Americans haven’t even mentioned it. And the first thing I did in getting off the plane in Tokyo was to rush to Cy Vance and say, Cy, is it true? And he said it was. (Mr. Carter, in his memoirs, writes of telling the Russians that future negotiations would have to include American and Soviet medium- range weapons in Europe, but he does not specifically mention the SS-20.) I thought I had been let down one more time by this Administration.(My Empasize)
The Japanese and the South Koreans feel exactly the same way—that they have been let down by an American strategic posture that simply does not take into account their national security interests concerns, their collective past memories, and the horrific consequences in the wake of any miscalculated confrontation on their turf. This merits examination of China as a visible link that has either intentionally or wrongfully been overlooked in the entire North Korean crisis. They have astutely played the only card – N Korea — in their favor by both having and eating their cake i.e. pretending that N Korea is an independent country not influenced by them, while in reality pushing and supporting them indirectly in favor of their own strategic interests. On the other hand, the United States possesses allies in South East Asia, like South Korea, that have gradually been alienated, and might even turn out to be serious liabilities.
An example of American mishap in dealing with China’s calculated long-term plan and a strong understanding of the “realpolitik” was demonstrated in the state visit by Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping (January 29–February 4, 1979) at the invitation of President Carter in a follow-up to the normalization of Sino-American relations. As related by a knowledgeable senior American official, familiar with the talks, during the course of a meeting, President Carter had mentioned the subject of human rights, stating that China should allow its citizens to leave and travel freely to the United States. In response, Deng agreed and asked how many would Carter like traveling to the United States? One or two hundred or a million? The President kept quiet and changed the subject. Of course, the flow of the Cuban immigration to Florida under the same scenario had only emphasized the point that Deng was making in response to the political game that was being played.
The End Game
As America is being battered by its own foreign policy missteps, its adversaries can only find more openings to take advantage of multifaceted errors and calculations. The Syrian strategy is already a lost cause with a foregone conclusion. The firing of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles by President Trump was probably an attempt to “talk up” and impress American adversaries prior to meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in high-level discussions. There have been questions surrounding the chemical attack by the Syrian regime. The most prominent have been raised by Theodore A. Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and International Security at MIT, who has consistently maintained that the intelligence report of the Syrian gas attack was politicized and not being covered by the mainstream media. That aside, the notion of a democratic or even military solution to the Syrian crisis has been dismissed even by experts such as General David Petraeus, who has experience on the ground. At the New Albany, Ohio Community Foundation’s Jefferson Series, Petraeus stated:
“Western leaders need to abandon the notion that there is a democratic solution to problems there. Instead,” he said, “they should try to cooperate to set up security zones for warring groups” — which he acknowledged is a tenuous undertaking.
Thus, the only viable solution would be to accommodate Red Lines that would be strategically unacceptable to the United States and the Western alliance, such as the security of Israel. But short of a real major conflict, there are absolutely no viable leverages in the U.S. arsenal. The same is true for North Korea and should be considered as part of a China strategic alliance package. The best strategy is to ignore rather than to provoke the North Korean leadership, which is determined to challenge the United States into a showdown of humiliation. The most overused phrase used during the past three decades by consecutive administrations has been “All options are on the table.”
What American decision makers should try to grasp is that the majority of the people who are grappling with serious economic problems at home would be unwilling to foot more foreign policy interventionist or even humanitarian policies. In the classic movie Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara asks Rhett Butler, in desperation, what she is going to do. Butler’s famous line is: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” In the same manner, the current minimum 700 billion dollars of estimated costs from the disastrous hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico with its melted down economy,already bankrupt and 100 billion dollars in the red prior to the hurricane disaster, plus an unexaggerated minimum 2 trillion dollars more in climate-inflicted pain to come — during the next decade — means there is all the more reason for Americans to feel they don’t give a damn about any further adventurism on the part of their political elite anywhere in the world. In short, the “Head” may be willing for another extravaganza foreign policy play, but the aching body is not.
As for the foreign policy perspective itself, the 2003 paper on Iraq cited above begins by stating:
Comment: The current United States Government’s (USG) choice of the “Militaristic/Force” option instead of the Diplomatic arm in the conduct of its foreign policy—and notably Iraq—has dangerously isolated it in the most sensitively strategic regions of the world and alienated it amongst its most pragmatic allies. The long-term consequences for the US geopolitical and strategic question important to its National Security may, therefore, face serious and costly reverses abroad as well as at home, if the USG persists on the same course and fails to address its foreign policy shortcomings on the scene of International Relations and its market place of conflicting exchanges and interests. [My Emphasis]
Those with a pragmatic approach should realize that the neocons’ notion of peace through strength has not brought peace and has certainly diminished considerably any effective use of American military tool. The firing of more costly missiles will not deter America’s adversaries, who can do the numbers and fully realize the realities and shortcomings of American foreign policy capabilities. The recent deployment of 5,000 more troops in Afghanistan without any specific timetable of disengagement is really meant to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table for a face-saving solution, the same forces that were created during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and then condemned by the U.S. in the aftermath of 9/11 period. This is only perpetuating the critical image, credibility, and loss of valuable resources for a foreign policy apparatus that is lost in a serious whirlwind of a confusing state, devoid of a plan or strategy to accommodate its — incomprehensible “End Game” — manipulated by friends and adversaries while continuing to make a spectacle of itself.