Afghanistan

Trump Sticks to Status Quo With Idiotic Afghanistan Plans

The great disrupter of the establishment turns out to be-surprise, surprise-a man of the establishment.

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Nelvin C. Cepeda/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Steve Bannon's Breitbart and others notwithstanding, that was Trump being Trump when he announced he would not be quitting Afghanistan, despite the manifest futility and counterproductivity—that is, idiocy—of America's 16-year war there. He is not a captive of "my generals," bad as they are. He is his own man.

Just look at the attitude toward military power he displayed throughout his presidential campaign and young presidency. He boasted of being the most "militaristic" candidate in the large Republican field—and that was saying something. He promised to "bomb the shit" out of ISIS, torture terrorist suspects, and kill their families. He promised to win.

So now he says his military's renewed effort in Afghanistan will be directed at killing terrorists and eradicating evil. What else is new?

The great disrupter of the establishment turns out to be—surprise, surprise—a man of the establishment. He craves its acceptance and adoration, but he'll settle for the love of his base until the real thing comes along. "If you can't be with the one you love, honey," Stephen Stills wrote, "love the one you're with." The base may not like that he has put his "instincts" about Afghanistan on a shelf, but so be it.

Sure, during Barack Obama's second term Trump questioned the wisdom of staying the course in Afghanistan, although in October 2015 he said, "At this point we probably have to [leave US troops there] because that thing will collapse in about two seconds after they leave." The pro-withdrawal statements are easily explained in light of the Trumpian MO. As J.P. Sottile writes, "Trump never had a 'policy' of anti-interventionism. He was simply a troll who tweeted out oppositional statements attacking Obama's foreign policy. If Obama was doing it … he was against it. He knew that no matter what, it was red meat for his future base…. Sorry, but [his turn to intervene] wasn't a Deep State plot…."

Does anyone know what Trump's position on Afghanistan was on Sept. 12, 2001? I see nothing on the record, but it is hard to believe he opposed George W. Bush's invasion and occupation back then. It would have been out of character, to say the least, for him to have opposed a military response to 9/11. He probably thought Donald Rumsfeld's war-on-the-cheap strategy was for losers. Moreover, while he dishonestly and repeatedly bragged that he opposed in advance the U.S. military actions Iraq and Libya, I can't recall his bragging about his early opposition to the Afghan war. (I think he mentioned this one time.) In light of his change of heart, Trump's foes in the media, who love to point out flip-flops, would surely be pointing this out if it were true.

Beyond this, Trump's position is a tangled mess. He presents what is now his war as a matter of national security: his toy soldiers will be killing "terrorists" who allegedly threaten America, not building a democracy or telling the Afghans how to live. Leave aside the fact that killing alleged terrorists creates even more of them, as many military people recognize. Graeme Wood writes, "On September 11, 2001, al Qaeda commanded an army of 400. A decade and a half later, the Islamic State (or ISIS) had mobilized some 40,000 people to travel to Iraq and Syria." There was no ISIS in Afghanistan in 2001.

The national-security state is a perpetual motion machine, which is fine with most politicians, the military bureaucracy, and its contractors.

Yet while Trump says Afghanistan is about national security, he also says:

America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress. However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check. The government of Afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political, and economic burden. The American people expect to see real reforms, real progress, and real results. Our patience is not unlimited. [Emphasis added.]

If the U.S. occupation is, as Trump insists, a matter of self-defense, how can this be? If the Afghan government fails to fulfill his requirements, will he end the war and withdraw? How could he do that in light of his national-security premise? Maybe he's hinting he would overthrow the government and install a more cooperative one. Now we're back to regime-change and nation-building. This certainly sounds like nation-building after all: "We want [India] to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development." (Emphasis added.)

A related problem is Trump's stance that the U.S. government will not attempt to create a democracy in Afghanistan. Trump ignores that the democracy-builders make a national-security argument for their cause (which is not to say the argument is correct): a democracy, they say, would be less likely to harbor terrorists who seek to attack Americans. Trump surely cannot believe the political environment in Afghanistan is irrelevant to his security concerns. If he believes it is relevant and yet has no interest in promoting democracy there, doesn't it follow that he would prefer that a friendly authoritarian leader capable of crushing terrorists? It seems so. And we know what authoritarians do to their own populations.

The problem with Trump's case is his premise that Americans are threatened from any country that could be a safe haven for purported terrorists. Contrary to the official narrative, militant Islamists want revenge for decades of U.S. crimes against Muslims. (Civilian casualties are skyrocketing in several countries the U.S. government is bombing.) That's why Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda in Afghanistan did what it did on 9/11.

Moreover, much of the 9/11-attack planning occurred outside Afghanistan, including in the West. If Afghanistan, which the U.S. government helped to prepare for bin Laden by underwriting the guerilla war against the Soviet occupiers, had not been available, he would have found another place. In fact, the U.S. government has created havens for militant groups by destabilizing Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Syria.

What is Trump's strategy for preventing anywhere in the world from becoming a safe haven? His working principle is hardly "Come home, America."

A far better way to keep Americans safe would be to stop killing Muslims and propping up repressive regimes (including Israel's) in the Muslim and Arab world—in a word, liquidation of the American empire.

By the way, does Trump really think he can tell a terrorist in Afghanistan from an Afghan resisting the foreign occupation? He certainly can't tell a terrorist from a resistor to the savage U.S. occupation of the Philippines over a hundred years ago.

Also, how convenient for Trump to keep the American people in the dark about the details of his surge because it would tip off "the enemy"? There's a handy argument against transparency in anything Trump sees in national-security terms.

Perhaps most ridiculous of all is Trump's pledge of "an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives." Translation: since other Americans have already died, more Americans (he ignores the Afghan casualties) must die so it doesn't look as though the previous deaths were in vain.

Yet more Americans will die in vain. Retired Army Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, who knows something about this war, writes, "The Taliban and various terror groups are stronger now than that faced by Obama's 2010 surge. What possible rationale can the president make to the American people that sending thirteen thousand U.S. troops against an enemy significantly stronger than the one we faced in 2010 will succeed where 140,000 NATO troops did not?"

But don't try to tell Trump his objective is impossible. That line is for losers. Don't you know by now that what's impossible for others is a piece of cake for him? He's not about to be yet another president who loses yet another war. He will make America great again.

So Trump's military will remain—in greater undisclosed numbers—where empires go to die until no-one-knows when. Avoiding the appearance of losing is the new winning.

This piece was originally published by The Libertarian Institute.

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  1. Let’s not put too much into Trump’s Afghanistan policy. He seems to take the position of the last person who gave him an opinion (especially if that opinion came with a personal compliment, I’ll wager). And unfortunately the people most likely to talk to the president on policy issues tends to be a statist, a law and orderist and/or a troop surgist.

    1. Listening to the last opinion is indicative of a lack character or of knowledge.

      1. My guess is no one denies that about Trump.

        That being said, I wish more was brought against other politicians as well as Trump. This kind of shit tends to be popular. The Syria bombing was maybe the first time both sides lauded Trump for acting presidential.

        Maybe the buck stops with Trump, but we have a tremendous system of warmingers cheering him on and supporting him.

        1. True. It’s fine to point out that Trump in this matter is no better than most, but he’s also no worse than most people would be.

          We’re outliers. It’s no surprise to find out that the president is not an outlier of the kind we’d like, because the odds are overwhelming he’d instead be of the mainstream or an outlier of a kind we dislike.

          We should judge politicians by comparison to the avg. person in that country.

          1. It’s more than that. He would have to be a man so principled that he stood against the accolades of all sides and all media.

            I doubt any politician is that, few people period, but no politicians.

  2. By the way, does Trump really think he can tell a terrorist in Afghanistan from an Afghan resisting the foreign occupation?

    I have full confidence that the president and his advisors will be able to differentiate between terrorists and normal Afghanis like Arpaio and his officers were able to perfectly discern between undocumented immigrants and regular American citizens without violating the rights of the latter and….

    What? What are you guys laughing at?

    1. That’s just what it sounds like when I cry.

  3. A far better way to keep Americans safe would be to stop killing Muslims and propping up repressive regimes (including Israel’s) in the Muslim and Arab world?in a word, liquidation of the American empire.

    And stop Making America Grating Again? Why, Sheldon! How unpatriotic! You must be a “liberul”! A globalist!

  4. Idiotic Afghanistan Plans

    Hey, it’s only idiotic if your goal is to solve a problem. If your goal is to keep the problems going, so we can keep shoveling cash into the pentagon and military contractors, it’s pretty smart.

    1. so we can keep shoveling cash into the pentagon and military contractors

      That may be part of it. Maybe 20%.

      The rest is pure politics. Doing the right thing will be unpopular and who wants to be the politician who lost the unwinnable war?

      So just keep on spending and killing. That’s what America (FUCK YEAH!) wants. And it will go on as long as people don’t give a shit. It almost makes me want to bring back the draft.

      1. The answer apparently was Eisenhower and the Korean War.

        1. Except that war never ended, so doesn’t count.

      2. Hey look frank’s back.

        /leaves

  5. A far better way to keep Americans safe would be to stop killing Muslims and propping up repressive regimes (including Israel’s) in the Muslim and Arab world?in a word, liquidation of the American empire.

    Well, I gotta disagree with you there – leaving other people alone is no guarantee that they’re going to leave you alone. (See, for example, all of human history.) Human beings have a genetic predisposition for sticking their nose in other people’s business and Muslims base their whole religion on telling other people what to do and if they don’t do it you should kill them.

    Also, how convenient for Trump to keep the American people in the dark about the details of his surge because it would tip off “the enemy”? There’s a handy argument against transparency in anything Trump sees in national-security terms.

    And I gotta disagree with you here, too. His comments during the campaign about not wanting to go into details of his “great plan” lest he tip off the enemy and his subsequent vagueness on absolutely everything ought to suggest who Trump sees as “the enemy”. That’s everybody, everybody is Trump’s enemy. The guy’s paranoid and shallow and a sociopath, he trusts nobody.

    1. Re: Jerryskids,

      […] leaving other people alone is no guarantee that they’re going to leave you alone.

      Nothing is guaranteed in this life except death, Jerry. Unless you’re a paranoid schizoprenic, it would be very difficult for you to justify attacking your neighbors preemptively just because “they might bother me”.

      1. We aren’t attacking them preemptively. Were still trying to win the war we started 16 years ago hunting bin laden.

        And seriously, fuck this author. 9/11 wasn’t a result of decades of American crimes against Muslims. It was the autoerotic fantasy of a radical, extremist, piece of shit. If you want to talk about decades of crimes let’s go back through 9/11, the first attempted world trade bombing, the u.s.s. Cole, sirhan sirhan, Iranian hostage crisis, iranian revolution and khomaenis threats, the murders of the Israeli Olympic team, the pan am bombing, etc, etc,etc i can go back a century or more, not just decades.

        Anyone who thinks extremist Islam is a new creation is a disingenuous, ignorant, dumbass. So fuck you Richman, get your facts right and look at the whole picture.

        1. ” It was the autoerotic fantasy of a radical, extremist, piece of shit. ”

          There’s nothing extremist or radical about attacking your enemies. Nothing extremist or radical about trying to rid your nation of foreign soldiers, either. In many cultures, this is a noble and honourable calling.

          1. Bullshit, the totalitarian message of jihadism is so popular around the world that outside the war zones of Iraq and Syria, there has been a jihadi attack somewhere around the world every 84 hours.

            1. The Taleban don’t need the Koran for reasons to fight. If you think the Taleban are fighting the US occupation out of some fervent desire to spread Islam around the world, you’re deluding yourself.

          2. Oh, look! Our presumptuous imbecile is here with more bullshit and no evidence!

            “Nothing extremist or radical about trying to rid your nation of foreign soldiers, either:”

            What nation would that be, and please provide cites for your bullshit.

            1. It’s an opinion, moran. If you want to argue that it’s extremist or radical to try to rid your nation of foreign invaders, go ahead.

          3. Nothing extremist or radical about trying to rid your nation of foreign soldiers, either.

            Well sure, look what happened when the Afghans let Bin Laden and his fellow Arabs stay in the country.

            1. Nobody promised you a rose garden. National liberation struggles can be unfair and vicious. American involvement in Vietnam should have taught you that. Now seemingly you expect to fight these wars without any casualties.

        2. You forgot the 1953 CIA lead coup of the democratically elected President of Iran and the installation of the dictatorial Shah.

          1. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.

            1. 50 something years later?

              Bullshit.

              1. No, twenty-something years later, it got us the ayatollahs.

        3. We aren’t attacking them preemptively.

          Do you seriously believe anyone we are killing now had anything to do with 9/11?

          1. As much as they had anything to do with the CIA coup in Iran.

    2. leaving other people alone is no guarantee that they’re going to leave you alone.

      True enough, and those that don’t, we can kill.

      But fucking with people is a surefire way to ensure they won’t leave you alone.

  6. The problem with Trump’s case is his premise that Americans are threatened from any country that could be a safe haven for purported terrorists.

    “The calls are coming from inside the house!”

  7. Tony hasn’t shown up to voice his support for Trump’s Afghanistan plan? Did he *suddenly* come out against the war after 8 years of supporting it unconditionally?

    Incidentally, Tony’s not a total fucking partisan hack, right?

  8. The Sheldon Richman Foreign Policy Portfolio:

    1. Never support any organization that is engaged in fighting the world-spanning communist empire presently attempting to undermine and consume your allies around the globe, no matter how little reason you have to believe at the time that they’ll end up helping to blow up two of your skyscrapers later,

    2. Israel is *not* the *literally only functioning liberal democratic capitalist state in the Middle East*, and should immediately be abandoned to the vastly numerically superior Arab states surrounding it,

    and

    3. Killing terrorists only creates more terrorists, so the only response to terrorist attacks must be to increase funding to passive defenses to keep the terrorists out.

    Presumably, to consist of an immediate cessation of all immigration, the construction of a well-manned border wall, implementation of E-verify and a national ID card with all citizens’ DNA and fingerprints in a central database, and a massive, permanent increase to the budget of the Transportation Security Administration: now as before, our nation’s first, last, best line of defense against foreign attack.

    TL;DR: Sheldon Richman is an ignorant, incontinent, squalling baby.

    1. 2. Israel is *not* the *literally only functioning liberal democratic capitalist state in the Middle East*, and should immediately be abandoned to the vastly numerically superior Arab states surrounding it,

      What exactly has supporting Israel in the last 50 years gotten us? They’re a massive foreign aid vacuum and give us nothing in return. They couldn’t even get involved in the one time we did kick ass in the region during Desert Storm because the other Arab countries would have bailed on us. Supporting the overthrow of their Arab neighbors the last 14 years has thrown the region into near-chaos and we’re no closer to leaving the region now than we were the minute we landed troops in Saudi Arabia back in 1990 to keep Saddam from taking the oil fields there.

      We’d literally lose nothing of value by leaving Israel to its own devices.

      1. “What have the Israelis ever done for us!?!”

        Well, nothing I suppose. Just trade with us. Share intel on terrorist activity with us, when they happen to have it. Share family members and dual citizens with us.

        Sort of like Poland, I guess. Or Czechoslovakia. Or Belgium. Or Denmark. Or France. Or Norway. Or England. Or Estonia.

        None of those countries was strategically useful to us in the 1940s. We would have been fine without them. But they were worth going to war for: even if Hitler had just stopped there, and made no direct threat against us.

        The Liberal Democratic Capitalist nations are a *family*. If one member of the family is threatened, ALL of us are. And if we have to send some lawyers, guns and money to them before the attack starts, so that there won’t be an attack, so be it.

        1. Just trade with us.

          MUH CONSUMERISM

          Share intel on terrorist activity with us, when they happen to have it.

          Which wouldn’t be necessary if we hadn’t been there for the last 25+ years to begin with.

          Share family members and dual citizens with us.

          So, nothing of actual value.

          None of those countries was strategically useful to us in the 1940s. We would have been fine without them. But they were worth going to war for: even if Hitler had just stopped there, and made no direct threat against us.

          The Middle East was never an existential threat to us until we stuck our nose in their chili. Comparing Israel to pre-World War II Europe is a colossal joke.

          The Liberal Democratic Capitalist nations are a *family*.

          No, they’re not. You have zero understanding of how nation-states operate, and appealing to emotions as if they’re the equivalent of aunt or grandma sheer infantilism.

          If one member of the family is threatened, ALL of us are. And if we have to send some lawyers, guns and money to them before the attack starts, so that there won’t be an attack, so be it.

          No. The US would survive just fine if they pulled all support from Israel tomorrow. As a nice bonus, we wouldn’t be sacrificing any more Americans over there, either.

          1. So if Hitler had posed no long-term threat to the US- if he had taken every opportunity to reassure us that he wanted nothing more than to peacefully coexist with us, that he wanted Europe and nothing more, if he had conscientiously avoided attacking our merchantmen, etc.- you would have supported abandoning Europe to his domination?

            After all, according to your crudely Objectivist worldview, we have no interest in defending any other nation unless there is an immediate or existential threat to us.

            The truth is that those Israeli-American family members and dual-citizens you so casually dismiss DO matter, as does the shared blood between America and any other democratic nation. We ARE family- literally and metaphorically- and it is ridiculous to suggest that abandoning an ally and its free citizens to the maw of tyranny could ever be in our best interest. If nothing else, no other country would ever ally with us ever again.

            We evolved the instinct of altruism for a reason: because “altruism” benefits us in the long term. Because those we help, eventually help us in turn. Trade and shared culture benefit us greatly in and of themselves- however much protectionists, nationalists and other infants dismiss them- and Islamist terror aside, preventing the Iranian Hegemony from monopolizing the ME’s oil (like OPEC on steroids) is a strategic concern that’s not going away, and which would absolutely benefit from Israeli assistance.

            Isolationist is a curse word for a reason.

            1. After all, according to your crudely Objectivist worldview, we have no interest in defending any other nation unless there is an immediate or existential threat to us.

              We didn’t start fighting Germany until Hitler stupidly declared war on us. So no, we don’t have an interest in defending any other nation unless there’s an immediate or existential threat to us. Taking the opposite foreign policy stance is why we’ve only won a single conflict since WW2.

              We ARE family- literally and metaphorically- and it is ridiculous to suggest that abandoning an ally and its free citizens to the maw of tyranny could ever be in our best interest.

              You’re taking this awfully personally–I wonder why? Sounds more like their YOUR family, not mine.

              If nothing else, no other country would ever ally with us ever again.

              LOL–no country would ever ally with a nation of over 300 million people that has one of the largest economies in the world and nuclear weapons if we didn’t fight wars for a tiny nation in the Middle East? Talk about an over-inflated sense of importance.

              1. We evolved the instinct of altruism for a reason: because “altruism” benefits us in the long term.

                Altruism isn’t an “instinct”–tribalism is the evolutionary norm and has been for millennia.

                preventing the Iranian Hegemony from monopolizing the ME’s oil (like OPEC on steroids) is a strategic concern that’s not going away,

                A “hegemony” that never would have become an issue if we hadn’t illegally removed their elected leader over 60 years ago.

                Isolationist is a curse word for a reason.

                So is imperialist.

                1. 1. Altruism is absolutely an instinct. Where do you think charities come from? Humans are social animals, on the micro and macro level, and by rejecting the idea of helping others unsolicited, you’re not showing “strength” or “toughness”- you’re showing weakness at best, and Anti-Social Personality Disorder at worst. Randian Objectivism is as self-destructive a worldview in geopolitical matters as it is in personal matters; Libertarianism is only correct when it rejects Objectivist principles. Tribalism is one of several competing emotions in human interactions, and it is the one that should, in this modern age, be rejected above all others.

                  2. The failures of US foreign policy 60 years ago do not change the facts on the ground now, merely explain them. It is no justification for allowing an Islamist theocracy to control the better part of the world’s oil supply.

                  3. Defending a democracy from *imperialist* attack is not “imperialism”, it is THE OPPOSITE OF IMPERIALISM.

                  1. Humans are social animals, on the micro and macro level, and by rejecting the idea of helping others unsolicited, you’re not showing “strength” or “toughness”- you’re showing weakness at best, and Anti-Social Personality Disorder at worst.

                    Fighting wars in the Middle East for a country that already has its own nuclear weapons is hardly altruism.

                    Tribalism is one of several competing emotions in human interactions, and it is the one that should, in this modern age, be rejected above all others.

                    Tribalism is what prevents humanity from being submerged by soulless consumerism.

                    The failures of US foreign policy 60 years ago do not change the facts on the ground now, merely explain them.

                    “WE’LL GET IT RIGHT THIS TIME!!”

                    It is no justification for allowing an Islamist theocracy to control the better part of the world’s oil supply.

                    ::Ignores Saudi Arabia::

                    Defending a democracy from *imperialist* attack is not “imperialism”, it is THE OPPOSITE OF IMPERIALISM.

                    25-plus years in the same place, not improving the area but steadily making it worse for the benefit of a small minority, is in fact imperialism.

                    1. You seem to be confusing “defending Israel” with “the entire US foreign policy in the Middle East”. The Iraq War, Libya and Yemen were dumb ideas, and Afghanistan, while perhaps unavoidable, has been terribly mismanaged.

                      US foreign policy in the ME is *partially* imperialist, partially legitimate, and the defense of Israel is its most legitimate, non-imperialist component. Or is the defense of South Korea, Kuwait and Estonia “imperialism” by your convenient redefinition of the term, too?

                      And Saudi Arabia, a thousand curses be upon it, has one thing that Iran does not: namely, “plurality”. As in, Iran and Saudi Arabia are *two* theocracies, which compete with each other and cannot secure a monopoly on ME oil. A Saudi domination of Iran would be just as bad: our interest is in keeping either from securing a monopoly (on oil or the Suez).

                      And no, tribalism is not what keeps us from succumbing to “soulless consumerism” (is that your Karl Marx Calendar Word Of The Day?). Altruism is what does that; altruism towards all who work, trade, or intermarry with us. Villagers and townsfolk band together for mutual defense; democracies do too. Because we learned in WWII what happens when we don’t: we feed the crocodile our friends, until it eats us last.

                      You want to see what your “national tribalism” really leads to? Look no further than a map of Europe, circa 1941. Chamberlain was 100% on board with your worldview.

                    2. You seem to be confusing “defending Israel” with “the entire US foreign policy in the Middle East”. The Iraq War, Libya and Yemen were dumb ideas, and Afghanistan, while perhaps unavoidable, has been terribly mismanaged.

                      You really think this shit isn’t linked? What benefits Israel more, the US fighting and destabilizing its neighbors or the US leaving those countries alone?

                      And Saudi Arabia, a thousand curses be upon it, has one thing that Iran does not: namely, “plurality”.

                      “THEOCRACY’S OKAY WHEN OUR ‘ALLY’ DOES IT!!”

                      And no, tribalism is not what keeps us from succumbing to “soulless consumerism” (is that your Karl Marx Calendar Word Of The Day?).

                      A society that’s tied to nothing is loyal to nothing.

                      You want to see what your “national tribalism” really leads to? Look no further than a map of Europe, circa 1941. Chamberlain was 100% on board with your worldview.

                      Stop with the “one world government” fetishization. That shit’s long passed its sell-by date.

                    3. You really have no debate tactics other than “deflect” and “build strawman”.

                      My points were:

                      1. The rest of America’s aggressive foreign policy in the ME has harmed the US *and Israel*, and we would *both*, *as allies*, benefit from ceasing unprovoked warmaking.

                      2. No, I did not say theocracy is okay when our ally does it, as you would know if you’d quoted the rest of the paragraph. Theocracy is *better* when there are 2 theocracies each denying each other a full monopoly.

                      3. Our non-tribal model of society has everyone tied to everyone: rich to poor, black to white, and nation #1 to nation #2. Tribalism is what turns one part of society against another- poor vs. rich, race vs. race- and is the root of all statism.

                      4. “One-world government”? What the fuck? You think fighting Nazis and thinking Chamberlain was an isolationist coward translates to wanting the UN to rule the world? The person who brought Europe closest to unipolar government was HITLER. The guy we killed, remember?

                    4. You really have no debate tactics other than “deflect” and “build strawman”.

                      Please. You’re the one claiming that not defending Israel would lead to every other one of our allies abandoning us, a stance so far outside reality it would take light several years to reach it.

                      1. The rest of America’s aggressive foreign policy in the ME has harmed the US *and Israel*, and we would *both*, *as allies*, benefit from ceasing unprovoked warmaking.

                      When was the last time Israel told us to pull out of the ME again?

                      Theocracy is *better* when there are 2 theocracies each denying each other a full monopoly.

                      Who gives a shit if there’s two of them if the rest of the region is burning?

                      Tribalism is what turns one part of society against another- poor vs. rich, race vs. race- and is the root of all statism.

                      Tribalism is the natural result of evolution.

                      What the fuck? You think fighting Nazis and thinking Chamberlain was an isolationist coward translates to wanting the UN to rule the world?

                      You’re the one blooing that democracies are “family.” Get over that infantile misty-eyed appeal to emotion.

                    5. 1. I was never claiming our *current* allies would *abandon* us: I was saying no *future* countries would choose to ally with us, as well as that, less conclusively, our current allies would be much less likely to come to our aid the next time a 9/11 or Pearl Harbor situation happens, because they would know we were treacherous cowards that wouldn’t come to theirs.

                      2. What do America’s and Israel’s governments’ opinions have to do with it? Of course the current governments think everything we’re doing is fine, they’re morons. That doesn’t mean going to the opposite extreme is wise. We can maintain a garrison in Israel without bombing Libya.

                      3. Who “gives a shit” are poor families that would be crushed by high gas prices. Fracking helps, but not enough to secure complete energy independence.

                      4. Tribalism is still technically the defining principle of humanity, but not the regional-monopolist version isolationists espouse- instead, we are forming a voluntary global “tribe” of independent democracies, maintaining sovereignty within their borders while becoming ever more entwined by trade, immigration, intermarriage and common defense. Naturally some ideologies (yours) cannot cope with this, but fortunately they are thoroughly ignored.

                      That is a misty-eyed appeal to emotion, I suppose. It is also evolutionarily beneficial… Which is why we *have* that emotion.

                    6. Or is the defense of South Korea, Kuwait and Estonia “imperialism” by your convenient redefinition of the term, too?

                      This one’s particularly precious. You really think any of those nations would give a shit if the US decided to stop supporting Israel? Half the time these countries are condemning Israeli actions against the Palestinians, not cheering them on.

                    7. Deflect, duck, dive, dodge!

                      I was never talking about those nations’ reaction to a US withdrawal from Israel: their dependency on us means they have no choice but to kiss up to us. When I mentioned how our allies would react to such a withdrawal in the earlier comments, I was referring to our allies that *aren’t* completely dependent on us- UK, France, the Anglosphere et al- and, to allies on the fence about siding with us or Russia/China.

                      But I was referring to NONE of that when I brought up Kuwait and the rest: I was referring to the fact you seem to think posting a garrison in, and giving aid money to, Israel qualifies as “imperialism”. And yet, that is exactly what we do in- you guessed it- South Korea, Kuwait, and Estonia. So: are those garrisons “imperialism” by your definition, or not? Those garrisons, that defend against North Korean, Iranian (once Iraqi) and Russian- dare I say it- *imperialism*?

                    8. I was never talking about those nations’ reaction to a US withdrawal from Israel: their dependency on us means they have no choice but to kiss up to us.

                      When I mentioned how our allies would react to such a withdrawal in the earlier comments, I was referring to our allies that *aren’t* completely dependent on us- UK, France, the Anglosphere et al- and, to allies on the fence about siding with us or Russia/China.

                      Oh, bullshit–these are your EXACT WORDS: If nothing else, no other country would ever ally with us ever again.

                      South Korea, Kuwait, and Estonia aren’t countries? Ok, doofus.

                      The problem is you think you’re making some sort of clever argument about ARE VALUES require us to die by the thousands and spend trillions in a region that’s gotten even more chaotic the longer we’ve been there. Save that neocon bullshit for National Review where it belongs.

                    9. Exact quote:

                      “no other country would ever ally with us ever again”

                      As in *future tense*. As in, countries *not currently allied with us*, who were considering allying with us. Vietnam (and technically the Phillippines under Duterte) spring to mind.

                      I gather you think that I had some image in my head of Germany and France flinging their wine glasses at us and storming out. I did not. Though I do think they would be a mite perturbed that they might be next… And thus less inclined to lend ships or contibute troops, if China ever makes a grab for Taipei, or Putin says “mine” to the Baltics (both perfectly acceptable outcomes to you of course). Once faith is broken, it’s broken.

                      But please, don’t let me interrupt you while you’re building your latest strawman, namely that we’re “dying by the thousands and spending trillions” by maintaining a garrison and defense aid to Israel.

                      Garrison/Spending in Israel =/= Entire (Idiotic) US Presence in the Middle East

                      Stick that in your neocon and smoke it.

              2. Wait…

                Did I just… Get you to ADMIT, that you would actually have abandoned Poland and Denmark and France and the rest to Hitler, if you were certain that he posed no threat to the USA?

                Alright, follow-up question, then: what would have you done- if you were C-in-C of the US, in a situation where Hitler had made no threat against us- and someone handed you an intelligence file, full of photos from Treblinka?

                I have a feeling I can guess your answer. The remarkable thing is that you actually seem to think such a stance is credible enough to attempt it in debate.

                PS I have no *personal* family or friends in Israel… Other than all of them, and the populations of every other liberal democracy on Earth.

                PPS if you think America could abruptly abandon one of its oldest and longest-term allies with no negative ramifications for how the rest of the world deals with us, you have zero understanding of how nation-states operate.

                1. Did I just… Get you to ADMIT, that you would actually have abandoned Poland and Denmark and France and the rest to Hitler, if you were certain that he posed no threat to the USA?

                  Hey dumbass–when did the US enter the war–in 1939, or 1941? Who was the first to declare war, Hitler or the US? Think hard, or at least do some research.

                  if you were C-in-C of the US, in a situation where Hitler had made no threat against us- and someone handed you an intelligence file, full of photos from Treblinka?

                  FDR turned away a whole boatload of refugees. Looks like that question has already been answered.

                  if you think America could abruptly abandon one of its oldest and longest-term allies with no negative ramifications for how the rest of the world deals with us, you have zero understanding of how nation-states operate.

                  Lol–the only people who would give a shit if the US cut ties with Israel are (most, not all) American Jews and Israel fetishists.

                  1. You did not answer my question.

                    My question was not about what the totalitarian, genuinely-imperialist, national socialist scumbag Franklin Roosevelt did. He may burn in hell as he does.

                    My question was:

                    What would YOU do?

                    If YOU were president in 1939, or 1940, or December 6, 1941.

                    If YOU were handed that file. If YOU were shown, conclusively, that the photos inside were not fake. If YOU realized that Hitler wasn’t just trying to conquer Europe, but to exterminate 6 million and counting of its people. And if YOU were the leader of the only country that could respond: no Soviet Union, no British Empire, no way to weasel your way out of the choice by foisting it on some other nation, in this theoretical scenario.

                    Would. You. Just. SIT THERE. And do nothing.

                    1. My question was not about what the totalitarian, genuinely-imperialist, national socialist scumbag Franklin Roosevelt did. He may burn in hell as he does.

                      An imperialist doesn’t wait until someone attacks them to declare war, you doofus.

                      If YOU were shown, conclusively, that the photos inside were not fake. If YOU realized that Hitler wasn’t just trying to conquer Europe, but to exterminate 6 million and counting of its people.

                      A lot more people were being killed in World War II and the years prior by the Nazis than just Jews.

                      And if YOU were the leader of the only country that could respond: no Soviet Union, no British Empire

                      “Ignore what actually happened because another Holocaust is always right around the corner!”

                      Would. You. Just. SIT THERE. And do nothing.

                      Considering what Libya’s turned into using your same baby logic, yes.

                    2. FDR’s imperialism was at home, not abroad; though I would term his refusal to intervene in Europe prior to December 1941 a sort of imperialism too- in the sense that standing by while someone is murdered in the street makes you, morally if not legally, an accessory- if it weren’t for the fact that, courtesy of the influence of isolationists like Lindbergh and you, I know he had no real option to do so. His decision to help the British, as soon as he could, is the one thing that compensates for his imperialism at home.

                      Meanwhile, we can add “not understanding the concept of a hypothetical scenario” to the loooong list of Red Rocks Deflecting and Evading’s intellectual failings.

                      Anyway, to the real point… Let’s just clarify something:

                      You think… That if America had declared war on Germany, *before* he directly attacked us… Due to having recieved conclusive intelligence from multiple sources confirming the nature of the Holocaust… That would have been “baby logic”?

                      You are just one, big Aleppo Moment that never ends.

                    3. though I would term his refusal to intervene in Europe prior to December 1941 a sort of imperialism too

                      That’s because of your stultified worldview.

                      if it weren’t for the fact that, courtesy of the influence of isolationists like Lindbergh and you, I know he had no real option to do so.

                      Stop making shit up and actually read something above the level of an 8th-grade history textbook.

                      Meanwhile, we can add “not understanding the concept of a hypothetical scenario” to the loooong list of Red Rocks Deflecting and Evading’s intellectual failings.

                      Probably because your hypothetical scenario is ahistorical nonsense.

                      That if America had declared war on Germany, *before* he directly attacked us… Due to having recieved conclusive intelligence from multiple sources confirming the nature of the Holocaust

                      Are you fucking daft? Hitler’s persecution of the Jews was no secret before the war even started. After it began, people (not just Jews) were slaughtered by the millions. And we still waited until we were directly attacked–by Japan no less, not Germany–before entering the war. The fact that 125,000 Americans were killed in the span of a year during World War I might have made most Americans a BIT reluctant to get involved in another conflict of global industrial genocide, but I’m sure GI Telcontar isn’t aware of such nuances.

                    4. Yes, hypothetical scenarios tend to be “ahistorical”, that’s why we call them “hypothetical”. But hey, at least you’re improving.

                      Anyhoo, I’m fully aware that America was reluctant to get involved in WWII because of WWI. I’m *also* fully aware that no one outside of the Reich was fully aware of (or willing to believe) what Hitler’s well-known but as-yet-non-genocidal Antisemitism had blossomed into during the war, until the Russians started overrunning death camps during the reconquest of Eastern Europe- and even then the Western Allies didn’t believe it, not least because the British had invented similar stories during the last war and assumed it was propaganda.

                      Which is why I went to the trouble of developing that *hypothetical* scenario, remember?

                      As it happens, it was still a mistake not to declare war when Poland fell- because WWI was between 2 equally imperialist aggressors, whereas WWII was purely aggression by Hitler against democracies. Aggression which was not only bound to spill out onto America directly given time, but which was also aggression against our ability to trade, travel, intermarry and with the conquered peoples.

                      “So long as one man is in chains, none are free”. It applies to peoples too.

                      Oh, and you still haven’t answered my question. “Baby logic”, in that *hypothetical scenario*, or not?

    2. “Presumably, to consist of an immediate cessation of all immigration, the construction of a well-manned border wall, implementation of E-verify and a national ID card with all citizens’ DNA and fingerprints in a central database, and a massive, permanent increase to the budget of the Transportation Security Administration: now as before, our nation’s first, last, best line of defense against foreign attack.”

      Hasn’t Israel already taken up most or even all of these measures? Doesn’t seem to have solved their problems. Palestinians are still moaning about their stolen land.

      1. That was… sort of my point, mtrueman.

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