Republican Party

GOP Voters Trust Trump to Deal with ISIS, But Is Foreign Policy Approach Too Militarized?

Expert says U.S. relies too much on military over diplomacy.

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With nearly a month to go before the Iowa caucuses, the GOP candidates will gather yet again for another debate ahead of the election. Fox News announced this week it's plans for the seventh Republican debate next month in Des Moines on January 28th. 

The last GOP debate was heavily focused on foreign policy in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings. Primary voters have appeared to award foreign policy hawks like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in the polls as both candidates sit atop the Republican field with 39 percent and 18 percent respectively in the latest CNN/ORC poll

 Overwhelming voters see Trump as the best candidate to handle the threat of ISIS. Forty-seven percent of GOP voters prefer Trump on the issue over other candidates. But do Trump's foreign policy plans—which include 'bombing the shit' out of ISIS—rely too much on military power at the expensive of diplomacy?

Nick Gillespie recently spoke with Gordon Adams, emeritus professor of international politics at American University about the recent GOP foreign policy talk and why America will have a hard time fighting ISIS. 

Does U.S. foreign policy always come down to the question of when and where to deploy the military?

It seemed that way in Tuesday night's GOP debate. While the candidates got a chance to showcase their foreign policy and diplomatic chops to the American voter, most of the time was spent bragging about who would be the more willing and able to use the military to accomplish national interests abroad. When and how did U.S. foreign policy become synonymous with military intervention?

"Ever since the beginning of the cold war," says Gordon Adams, emeritus professor of international politics at American University, "We built up a very substantial military and to some degree ever since then the instinct in American policy has been to say that the most useful tool to reach for to demonstrate American leadership, to demonstrate American commitment, to demonstrate American capacity is our military capability."

This heavy reliance on the military for diplomatic relations is actually hurting American national security, according to Adams. "As long as we imagine that we are both exceptional and indispensable in dealing with ISIS, we will fail," he says.

Adams, a former senior White House official for national security and foreign policy budgets under the Clinton administration, sat down with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie to give his thoughts on the recent GOP debate, why foreign policy has become so militarized, and why he thinks it won't help America win the fight against ISIS. 

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  1. Reason continues its transformation into caricature.

    “Expert says U.S. relies too much on military over diplomacy.”

    Oh wow they got an expert-a professor AND former Clinton hack no less! And yet this does not impress me any more than the ‘experts’ that called around to exculpate cops whenever they murder somebody.

    The US military is most of why US diplomacy works, so foreign policy must be ‘militarized’ at its core. No nation with a ‘militarized’ foreign policy is going to get taken seriously.

    There is no ‘diplomacy’ with ISIS or other nuts like them. That just lets them kill people. If you oppose the destruction of ISIS by (someone’s) military then you oppose peace.

    1. “No nation *with a ‘militarized’ foreign policy is going to get taken seriously.”

      *Without. When are we getting an edit button?

    2. “If you oppose the destruction of ISIS by (someone’s) military then you oppose peace.”

      Unless you support war, you don’t want peace. Got it.

      1. “Paging the Prophet Orwell, will the Prophet Orwell please come to the front desk, your party is waiting for you.”

    3. Yes. I know what they’re driving at, but the Q is stated strangely. How can foreign policy ever be anything but “militarized”? What does any country’s foreign policy consist of other than Qs of when & whether to get military w anyone?

      1. When and whether to have a beer summit or awkwardly bad gift exchange?

        1. Beer summits are for domestic affairs

          1. The beer was foreign! It counts!

    4. Everyone that disagrees with you, kill. Everyone that agrees with you, support. Not very complicated.

  2. GOP voters are always retarded to actually think Trump can handle anything outside of divorce and bankruptcy court.

  3. If trump cooled relations and started a working relationship with Russia, wouldn’t that be the greatest diplomatic victory in a generation? Granted I think the man is nuts, but it is refreshing to not hear the constant statements of stick NATO up Russia’s ass.

  4. foreign policy hawks like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz

    They’re the “isolationists”.

    Marco, Kasich, Jeb!, Christie and Graham are the “hawks”

    1. Reason so desperate to bash Trump and Cruz they call they hawks. Trump is more critical of US warmongering and regime change policies than any leading candidate in memory. Reason can?t acknowledge where Trump is right because it doesn?t fit their mission to demonize him. Reason claims to be anti’establishment but seeks to bash Trump like NYT and WAPO establishment whores do.

    1. How’d the prime rib turn out?

      1. Great.

        1st batch was about 15 lbs. A little well done for my tastes, but whatever. My cousin is a chef at some winery up north, and she made some Jus from scratch 2 days in advance from 5 lbs of oxtail. It was like getting shot in the face with a beef cannon. Needless to say, I had chicken for dinner tonight.

        1. Dunno. Ours (3 ribs) came out ’bout like that and both of us were pleased. Some garlic mashed and a roux from the juice; fine…
          Wife found some lobster tails for this evening; they were live, par-boiled this afternoon, we’re to grill ’em for a couple of minutes. Experiment.

          1. I had 2 – 7 bones each. One of them was regular, and the other had “Costco seasoning”. I prefer the former. Beef should taste like beef. Salt, pepper, and a side of Jus, and I’m happy.

            1. I’ll have a touch of good creamed horseradish on the side, but yeah.
              A-1 is for meat you don’t like or for those who don’t like good meat.

            2. Oh, and the lobster turned out wonderfully, ‘cept for the lobster juice that landed on my scoots as I was cleaning up; now I have a pair of shoes that smells like lobster for the foreseeable future.
              Dunno if you have one of these in the southland, but $28 for two 1-1/2# lobsters is hard to beat.
              http://www.newenglandlobster.net/#home

              1. We don’t (that I know of), but lobster tail was on sale today at Costco.

                1. “but lobster tail was on sale today at Costco.”

                  “Tail” has to be frozen, and live lobster to frozen lobster is Mogen David to Chateau Montelena.

                  1. Mogen David? Technically isn’t lobster a bit treif?

        2. “getting shot in the face with a beef cannon”

          Seriously? Nobody? You guys are letting me down like the Cleveland Browns and all of their friends.

          1. You’re thinking of a meat cannon, and that’s totally gay.

            1. Pork cannon?

              1. I read recently that those who eat two slices of bacon with breakfast are probably not going to be suicide bombers.
                I think there’s something to that.

            2. Unless they’re chickens, then they’re FAAy.

          2. What happens in my bedroom stays in my bedroom.

            1. “What happens in my bedroom stays in my bedroom.”

              ftfy

        3. ‘It was like getting shot in the face with a beef cannon.’
          Wipes tear from eye, Shakespeare lives again.

        4. “It was like getting shot in the face with a beef cannon.”

          That sounds pretty good to me….wait a minute *scratches head*…is that a euphemism for something?

        5. “It was like getting shot in the face with a beef cannon.”

          Wait?! You had Warty over for dinner???

      2. Cousin Brucie’s was fine but can’t compete w Cousin Alan’s lasagna. How tragic on Xmas to have both on the table!

      3. The girl friend made a couple of dishes worth noting. One was a cornbread pudding: Pretty damn good. The other was an Apple-cranberry pie with a crumble crust: I thought i was going to embarrass myself and have an orgasm right there in front of the guests.

        1. “an Apple-cranberry pie with a crumble crust:”

          Get OUTA’ MY WAY! STAND BACK!!!!

          1. Sevo, you have no idea. Now, imagine with a scoop of toffee ice cream and a cup of good coffee doctored with Irish cream.
            I may have to keep this woman.

    2. Oh, and:

      “Barclays analyst Jeffrey Bernstein has noted Chipotle’s recovery may take longer than other chains that have been hurt by foodborne illnesses, because social media has increased people’s awareness of such incidents.
      He also noted that Chipotle’s “Food With Integrity” slogan makes the E. coli cases all the more damaging.”
      http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/…..717004.php

      Well, it’s food with something or other…

      1. “Food With Integrity” becomes “Food With Intestinal germs” so easily, doesn’t it?

        1. GMO is bad!!!! Like, worse than shitting blood bad!!! Because reasons!!!

          1. Speaking of Chipotle, how was your trip to Mexico?

            1. Too short. But we had a good time. My wife didn’t enjoy the drunken wave runner experience, though.

              The timing was perfect, though. Everyone was complaining about how cold it was here.

              1. Ha! I take it she was riding in the back with you captaining. You mentioned you like to have an adventure. If you make it back down there you should check out this cool waterfall that is about an hour from the airport. It has some jumps from a variety of heights. It has indeed been pretty rainy and cold (for California).

                1. It was interesting, to say the least. My first time, so I didn’t know what to expect. The airport reminded me of… Tahiti. Rugged peaks, and everything was green. I was told that’s not typical, and that one of the biggest hurricanes on record just passed through.

                  1. It’s hard to believe, but that Reason meetup we all had near LAX was over a year ago now. Seems like just a few months ago.

                    My work is likely going to be bringing me down to the Southland a lot this coming year. Hopefully we can arrange another rager.

                    1. IIRC, I flew out the next morning with a hangover. I always go somewhere for the second week in December. So cheap, it’s practically free.

                      Yeah, we can do better than last time. That was on short notice.

        2. They just need a good PR person.

          “HEY LADIES!!!! That 800 calorie Chipotle bowl is actually NEGATIVE TEN THOUSAND CALORIES after you factor in the E. Coli!!!”

          1. “It’s SUSTAINABLE! You’re dead a LOOOOOOONG time!”

            1. They certainly need to work in the weight loss potential into their ads.

          2. +1 pet tapeworm

  5. Does U.S. foreign policy always come down to the question of when and where to deploy the military?

    Um, yes. Ultimately all foreign policy relies upon the threat of force or other sanctions to back it up. Even diplomacy. Is this even a question?

    1. Dithering diplomacy and uncommitted military action is why Europe sucked. The opposite is why the USA didn’t suck. Just because the US is using military force more frequently (if not more intensively) doesn’t make up for the fact that in general it’s a part of dithering diplomacy and general lack of commitment to anything. Russia, despite its horrifying social conditions, could be a great diplomatic ally if the US were willing to actually commit military force to the attainment of real objectives and to use diplomacy as a clearly related adjunct to it, instead of like some kind of fucked up anti-military thing.

      1. if the US were willing to actually commit military force to the attainment of real objectives

        Such as…?

        1. Yeah, I’m waiting to see that, too.

          1. The fact that there are so many people of voting age who think that we aren’t solving the ME’s problems hard enough is not encouraging to me.

            1. It always seems weird to me how military intervention can be so popular – must be more than 50% of people seem to support it – while on the average only about 9% of Americans actually join the military.

              1. Plenty of people are like Cytotoxic in that they want to throw other people at the world’s problems.

        2. Such as turning the middle east into a sea of glass.

  6. The first paragraph in this post has a mistake. One million Reason Dollars? to the first to find it.

    1. With nearly a month to go before the Iowa caucuses,

      The Caucus is February 1st, more than a month away.

      1. I figured Fist meant the misuse of “it’s” when “its” was meant.

        1. Well, mine is better and I was first, so nyaah.

    2. One million Reason Dollars

      In guns or butter form?

      1. I was hoping I could use them to buy new top hats, stickpins, and monocles.

        1. If I win, I’m spending my loot on pot and Mexican butt-sex.

      2. Orphan ownership titles.

  7. REASON presents: A Very Trump Christmas.

  8. OT: everybody needs to get the fuck off I95 south. Seriously if you’re not comfortable with long drives, just grab a hotel and get the fuck out of my way.

    Now back to your regular commentariat nonsense.

    1. Lizards drive?!

      1. He’s on his hamster wheel.

        1. No one has ever been in a bar where everyone stood up and drunkenly, loudly and violently sang along with “Fountains of Wayne”.

          1. I beg to differ, I’ve certainly been in a place where people drunkenly sang along to “Stacy’s mom has got it going on.”

            Now, any “Fountains of Wayne” song except that, I think you have a solid point.

    2. Lizard. Tell me you’re not one of those entitled sub-human monsters who thinks the freeway was made just for him and drives it…

      1. You know those people in the fast lane, the ones who freak out that the other speeders are only doing fifteen-twenty over. And they ride bumpers, swerving and using their brights even though there’s a perfectly empty lane just to the right.

        The rest of us just don’t realize how super important those people are.

        1. even though there’s a perfectly empty lane just to the right

          Then why aren’t you in it?

          I get that people can be obnoxious, and it can be fun to fuck with them, but the “fast lane” is the passing lane and if you aren’t passing anyone, get out of it.

    3. Are you surfing the inter-toobs whilst driving? Bad lizard, bad!

  9. do Trump’s foreign policy plans?which include ‘bombing the shit’ out of ISIS?rely too much on military power at the expensive of diplomacy?

    Perhaps. But do ISIS’s foreign policy plans?which include ‘bombing the shit’ out of the West?rely too much on military power at the expensive of diplomacy?

    1. ISIS doesn’t have a foreign policy – it has fantasies.

      1. Pretty much. ISIS right now has a lot of ambition but their actual capabilities are incredibly limited. This situation is likely to become worse for them as they have managed to anger just about everybody with an interest in the Middle East. They have limited equipment with which to fight and few sources of money of any real scale except oil sales, but other countries have many sources of inexpensive oil at this point so unless they sell at substantial discounts they aren’t likely to find buyers. A string of defeats on the battlefield has shown their weakness and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the whole works collapse in the coming year unless they acquire a significant ally willing to defy just about the whole world or they receive the divine intervention in which they so apparently believe.

        1. They are as dangerous to the US population as the horrors of general aviation.

          1. I don’t know, Sevo. ISIS has never subjected me to beer farts and body odor at 32,000 feet.

            1. Pita and hummus farts are pretty bad.

      2. and anal sex with adolescent boys.

    2. I can understand wanting to let other countries deal with ISIS, but the idea that we can use diplomacy with them is one of the dumbest things I have ever read from a Reason writer

      1. How about we just ignore them and let them fizzle out on their own?

        1. Or let someone else beat the crap out of them…

          1. Yeah, that’s probably going to be in the mix too.

          2. Or let someone else beat the crap out of them…

            Maybe the Canadians? Led by General Cytotoxic?

            1. He doesn’t fight. That is for lesser beings. He will be General Thinker.

            2. He’s more likely to get gang raped by baby harp seals.

            3. He’s more likely to get gang raped by baby harp seals.

        2. And not create jobs? Why do you hate American industry, Rhywun?

      2. one of the dumbest things I have ever read from a Reason writer

        That’s saying a lot

        1. Challenge accepted, motherfuckers.

          /Dalmia and Richman

    3. But do ISIS’s foreign policy plans?which include ‘bombing the shit’ out of the West…

      Plans vs capabilities

      There are two countries in the world with the capability to “bomb the shit out of the west.” None of them are middle eastern.

      1. And we treat both of them much more cavalierly than we do ISIS, which to me is the height of insanity.

      2. Three. Russia, China and The US.

        1. Huh, I thought France, Great Britain, Germany, and Israel, at least, all had the ability to nuke their enemies.

          1. While I make no claims of expertise on French military capabilities, I suspect the only delivery method France has to “bomb the shit” out of the west is radicalizing their foreign ghettos.

  10. Trump will negotiate ISIS into surrendering. Because he is the greatest negotiator in world history! He is a fucking genius in negotiating! Iran will surrender too! He is that fucking great! He says so.

    http://www.politifact.com/trut…..tatements/

    1. How’s Obama’s Hawaiian vacation going?

      1. Buttplug is cleaning Obama’s pool right now, but as soon as he finishes and changes out of his “pool boy” thong, he’ll get right back to you.

        1. “changes out of his “pool boy” thong,”

          This is a 50yo bank janitor with a coke habit; that image is painful.

          1. That’s why it might take him a few minutes. You need some pretty heavy duty equipment and lubricant to pry a thong out of those crevices.

          2. You need a lubricant. Coconut oils is useful and tasty.

        1. I maintain that Trap music is not a genre, but a collection of presets in (the other) Reason

          1. I’m inclined to agree, actually.

        2. Man, where do you come up with shit…you are a you tube guru. You got an algorithm or sumpun, man.

    1. The most horrifying thing about ISIS is the ugly shoes. They wear all black but choose worn ugly white sneakers. It ruins the tone for me. Get some fucking black sneakers you bitches.

      1. They would have black sneakers, Chuck Taylors, if it weren’t for the insidiousness of world Jewry.

          1. It might’ve helped his case to clean up his desk a bit, or were the Zionists behind that too?

              1. Is there a term in psychology for extreme paranoia that is shared and accepted by a large group of people. Seriously, that guy is not mentally well.

                1. “Is there a term in psychology for extreme paranoia that is shared and accepted by a large group of people.”

                  Politics

                  1. Or somewhere around pg 90-100 of “True Believer”.
                    Glad you mentioned it; it’s certainly worth a re-read.

                  2. But hippies ARE out to get me

            1. Cluttered desk; cluttered mind.

              1. Empty desk, empty mind.

        1. Boondockers and spats or GTFO.

      2. White Keds are hot on women. But you already knew that.

      3. Ms. Eleanor Lavish|12.26.15 @ 10:17PM|#
        “The most horrifying thing about ISIS is the ugly shoes.”

        I LIKE it!
        Folks, we’re dealing with the tag-end of a feudal society; these are not ‘fearsome fighters’, they’re the pathetic remains of antiquity.
        Yeah, people with edged weapons, guns and bombs are dangerous, but so is falling in the bathtub. These people deserve the sort of attention given by Ms. Lavish, not the sort that costs us a half mill every time a missile gets launched.

        1. They are nonetheless destroying people, families, communities, and other valuable things. They must be contained (by whom is the important question) as well as ridiculed.

  11. OT: I just realized this weekend marks the 4th anniversary of the death of Siobhan Reynolds. What Tanya Treadway did to her was worse than what Preet Bharara did to Reason and it’s commentariat.

    1. And dammit, my phone’s autocorrect changed its to it’s! 🙁

    2. Ah, a nut-blast from the past.

  12. BTW, all you deviants: You know who else celebrated Christmas?

    Happy Federally Approved Holiday to all, and to all a good pie!

    1. Taiwan. Constitution Day.

  13. OT, but NFC East Champions Washington Redskins Native Americans

  14. Oh god dammit.

    I’m on a Christmas eating schedule now.

    So hungry so late at night.

    1. A little chipotle will take care of your will to eat

      1. Well, it will prevent weight gain.

        If I go to one of the lucky locations.

  15. So I’m browsing Facebook just now and I run across a new movement to…

    Make it known that Democrats need more Obama and desire for the next Democratic president to appoint him to SCOTUS because…

    1) He’s an excellent writer.
    2) Has the correct temperament.
    3) Has the right values.
    4) Was a constitutional law professor.

    I mean, holy fucking shit.

    1. Ceaucescu woulda appreciated a sweet deal like that

    2. Oh, gag me with a spoon– or whatever is hip these days.

      1. A Splorch.

    3. The only thing worse than President Obama would be Justice Obama.

      His lectures from the bench would have actual lasting effects, and he’d have a real opportunity to destroy liberty in a way being president simply doesn’t afford.

    4. Yeah, but do Supreme Court Justices get a personal Chef, meals flown in from fancy restaurants all over the nation, and all expenses paid vacations?

      I doubt it.

      1. I don’t. They just call it something else, like deluxe MREs.

        1. Or the Pentagon or Congressional cafeteria, but catered.

  16. Totally (TOTALLY) OT:
    Human creative activities (“design”) tend toward a convergence; plays have three acts, cars have 4 wheels at the corners, houses have square rooms, turd has to empty the trash in the large container, etc. All because the designers have looked around and seen there is pretty much a limitation to what you can do and what is successful within the possible range.
    I’m not going to link them, since quite a few are cr’d, but in looking at hundreds of examples of ships’ screws, there is no convergence. Some designers prefer ‘paddles’, some ‘daggers’. Some want to fill the entire disc with blade, some want open space between the blades. Length/width blade ratio? Square ends? Round? Pointed? Amount of curve on the leading or trailing edges?
    This applies across speed/power applications; a tug is as apt to have one as the other. It seems one of the oldest design questions in the steam era is yet to be decided; no one seems to have a handle on the optimum, and there must be such.

    1. My guess is that there are other factors that matter more, such as streamlining, materials, and such.

      1. Or brother-in law’s favorite/ most easily produced/already in production.

        1. ‘My wife thinks it looks good’?

    2. It has to do with the engine rotation speed range, produced torque at given rotation speeds, and hull drag.

    3. Hmmm. The person to consult on this would be an expert on fluid mechanics.

      1. Now that you mention it, I have a buddy very well-educated in a closely-related subject and we haven’t talked in a while.

    1. She’s been dead for thousands of years.

    2. And, then what?

    3. Chinese food means food that is made up by the Chinese culture. Including mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, which has the local variety. Is the most common eating vegetables and grains as the main dish. In addition to the court to have meat. Known dishes such as noodles, dim sum shift fin fish eating culture is not shared by the devices is eating with chopsticks.

  17. This is some pretty damn good analysis, part III due out tomorrow.

    Act I
    Act II

    1. The editor needs to issue a moratorium on apostrophes. I’m barely through the first “act” and my eyes keep focusing on how every other noun is needlessly possessive.

      1. For example, take this sentence:

        The main Sunni monarchies’ congenital worse-than-uselessness is why, in the decade after Iranian Islamic Republic’s establishment, US policymakers vigorously courted Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, who ruled mostly-Shia Iraq with a bloody hand through its Sunni minority.

        First of all, I know Saddam Hussein is “Iraq’s”, not only because every idiot knows that, but also because saying he ruled Iraq establishes that possession pretty well on its own.

        I don’t even know if you could produce a Reed-Kellogg diagram for the first part of this sentence, but I can think of half a dozen ways to reword it that would be much easier to parse.

        As for “Iranian Islamic Republic’s establishment”, what the fuck is wrong with using the word “of”?

        Thus endeth the rant.

        1. Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the analysis?

      2. Its possibly a product of the author’s multi-lingual background (see what i did there?). Use of possessive nouns is far more common in romance languages but awkward in English.

        1. Use of possessive nouns is far more common in romance languages

          English “Billy’s cat”
          French “chat de Billy”
          Italian “gatto di Billy”
          Spanish/Portuguese “gato de Billy”

          Am I missing something? The grammatical word “de”/”di” translates to “of” in English (most of the time).

          1. And let us pretend that those languages use ” as the quotation mark…

            1. I really don’t care and was just speculating. English allows for possessive expressions (via apostraphe) more easily so maybe its just the author’s linguistic tic.

              I think its a silly criticism in the context of what he’s talking about.

              1. It is absolutely beside the point and I eventually got over it and read the whole thing. It was just very annoying and struck me as the sort of thing up with which an editor should not put. Reason sets such a high bar for editing, after all…

                1. …as the sort of thing up with which an editor should not put.

                  Churchill drilled his staff on being grammar pedants, and there are few better writers in the English language than he.

    2. That guy has a pretty solid bio

    3. That (so far, just finished part I) is pretty much the best analysis I’ve read of the current ME status quo.

      Some of it is old-hat. Some of it is very well stated.

      I think the best part about it is the awareness that the “islam” part of the ME isn’t so much about ‘religion’ so much as they are simply power-blocs.

      The distinctions between sunni & shia, radicals vs ‘moderates’ are mostly meaningless – what’s important are their respective political interests and desire for power and control vis a vis one another.

      You could just as well run the same analysis and call one “TEAM A” and “TEAM B”. The fact that they are religious groups is to some degree irrelevant. I think that’s a very important first step in doing any kind of realist analysis of “what these competing groups WANT”.

      1. The thing that stands out to me is how easily bamboozled the “foreign policy establishment” is by a bunch of fucking barbarians. Half a dozen or more Presidential administrations have all been played like cheap fiddles by a bunch of transparently self-interested savages.

        1. this is always the case, as far as I can tell. The history of international conflicts is the history of “at least one country’s misconceptions being dashed”.

          The real problem – as Codevilla points out – is how little the US has really digested since 2006, and how huge our misconceptions remain about “Why ISIS exists” …. and Why there will be no peace in the region until the various interest groups fight each other to a bloody standstill.

          He actually seems to suggest at the end of part II that complete annihilation and ‘shaming’ of ISIS might change some of the dynamic appeal of Sunni jihadism. Maybe.

          I think the underlying issue is that there are “3 Competing Quasi-States” in the same region.

          Iraqi-Shiadom (backed by Iran),
          ISIS-sunnidom (backed by a conglomerate of Sunni states and populations, Gulf money),
          …and Kurdistan (sort-of backed by the US as well as Not-Really backed by the US)

          …none of whom really have any “official” borders with one another. And none of their current statehood-status reflects the real facts on the ground. They all sort of remain in limbo while the larger powers behind them dither and try and avoid any concessions to each other.

        2. I think the biggest reason for that is it requires the FP wonks to actually learn about some place other than [team] America. To too many of these fucks, the world is a canvass upon which we shall paint a world conforming to our preconceptions and desires. In short, they treat the world much like they treat the opposition within their own country.

    4. re: “Why “THE 2006 SURGE” worked”

      “The US choice to neglect the massive fact that fear of the Shia had led the Sunni to stop fighting Americans fit all too well with the US foreign policy establishment’s perennial, ignorant, practice of categorizing foreigners as “moderates” or “extremists” (aka. good guys and bad guys). That practice eliminates the bother of learning what foreigners actually have in mind.’

      another very good point.

      The use of the term, “Moderates” in American foreign policy-talk is a big piece of wallpaper to cover up the fact that we don’t seem to ever bother trying to find out “what exactly these competing interests are fighting FOR”

      At least no one seems to honestly grant that there are actual ‘political’ desires of these respective groups. And that maybe both ‘moderates’ and ‘extremists’ might actually have some shared goals in common.

    5. ” in 2011, as the Americans were leaving Iraq, Sunni elements in Syria as well as in Iraq stepped up their fight for power in their own countries. They drew from most (but not all) of the same donors in the Persian Gulf who had fed their fight in Iraq and gained control on both sides of the border.

      Having long since learned to disregard that border, it would have been surprising had they not coordinated and consolidated administration of the areas over which they ruled. The result was what can best be understood as a Sunni-stan, which stands naturally alongside Kurdistan whose capital is Erbil, and Baghdad’s Shia-stan

      And this is why i think there is unlikely to ever be any significant US military ground force committed to changing what is basically going to be a de-facto redrawing of borders.

      the problem with the “3 part” split of Iraq *(and part of syria) into “Kurdistan/Shiastan/Sunnistan”… is that 2 of those parts have Shitloads of Oil.

      And the 3rd that doesn’t is also the most historically prone to murdering and lording over the ones that do.

      I believe even if “ISIS” is destroyed as an organization that this dynamic is still unchanged.

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