August 1, 2021

THE ENDGAME

Many of us saw it coming. Our administration’s foreign policy has been a mix of ignorance, naïveté, and according to some an intent to diminish our country’s world leadership with the purpose to integrate us to a “new world order” led by the United Nations. After the recent news of the chaos in Iraq, where al Qaeda elements are taking over parts of the country, I remembered Yogi Berra’s famous quote “this is déjà vu, all over again”. More than 2 years ago I wrote; “We killed Osama Bin Laden, ended the war in Iraq, will end Afghanistan’s, and have decimated Al Qaeda’s leadership” claimed our President in a 60 minutes TV program. Really?  OBAMA AND JUNK FOODThe troops were withdrawn from Iraq, following to a T the plan agreed to by President Bush. The only issue pending, the number of military support to remain behind was ignored by Obama and this lack of resolve has that emerging democracy in a near anarchy. Afghanistan is what the President called the “just” war and his resistance to follow the Generals advise, and his insistence in giving a fixed withdrawal date, has resulted in many of our young fighter’s deaths and a failure in the training of the local Army, that has the possibility of leaving a country in chaos and primed for a Taliban takeover. It all comes back to a simple premise. Wars are horrible; their cost in human suffering and financial stability makes everyone wonder why they exist.

Throughout the world’s history people have fought each other to defend their lifestyle, gain freedom and/or conquer territory. It was clear that the endgame would be victory. It seems that our present foreign policy is that ending the war, not necessarily winning it, is enough to consider it a success. Where in history have citizens sent to fight with a fixed timetable for withdrawal, as it happened during Obama’s presidency when he increased our troop levels in Afghanistan, the conflict that he claimed was the one that had to be fought? What in reality constitute our foreign policy? In Egypt we supported a friendly dictator, then opposed him, then encouraged an elected government, the Muslim Brotherhood, even if their announced goals went against our nation’s interests. We resisted a military takeover backed by massive demonstrations, finally accepting a “new” dictator, one that we had rejected, who might look for collaboration elsewhere. In Libya, we intervened following France’s leadership, in order to remove another tyrant, but not planning for the future, leaving a weak regime in place that was directly responsible for the death in Benghazi of 4 brave Americans. Now we ignore the anarchy in the country where different factions are presently fighting for control.

We, at the time, heard “avoiding genocide” as a policy for our country, but we then ignored a worse one in Syria. Our response to that country’s massacre of its people by another despot has been so confusing and weak that it has been condemned by our own Ambassador. Our leaders have promised several times to broker a peace treaty between Israel and Palestinians, ignoring past difficulties, and then failing, and are still pursuing a dialogue with Iran that plays into that country’s goal of acquiring nuclear weapons. As a result, the Middle East is a powder keg where a radical Islamic group seems to have the upper hand in its ambition to reestablish the boundaries existing during the Ottoman Empire.

In Russia we made a “reset” of our relationship, by giving away our Europe’s defensive missile strategy, signaling to Putin a weakness that has encouraged him to start taking over the territory lost with the breakup of the Soviet Union territory, I.e., Crimea. The European Union is in disarray, China is threatening to expand its territory, and Africa is a beehive of al Qaeda activity, but as far as our present Secretary of State, people that express fear of the recently released Taliban turning against us are talking “baloney”, and past Secretary, Hillary Clinton, tells us that we should not fear the Taliban, while our president occupies himself in Starbucks and seeking hamburgers!

In the endgame of the World’s chess match, we appear to be still struggling with the intricacies’ of playing checkers. Troubling and dangerous times indeed!

Fernando J Milanes MD

 

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