Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

The Mindless Militarism of Max Boot

In the wake of the Paris attacks, prominent neoconservative Max Boot has breathlessly called for the United States to unilaterally support Sunni autonomy in Iraq and deploy 20,000 U.S. troops against ISIS.

Print Friendly

LobeLog

There’s so much hysterical nonsense spewing forth from the neocon/Republican echo chamber in the wake of the Paris massacres that it’s very difficult to know where to begin to focus one’s attention.

On why Christians from Syria should be given preference for gaining asylum in the U.S., for example, Elliott Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) asserted that “in the United States and Western Europe, Christian refugees have not become terrorists…” Which is a pretty remarkable statement given the history of Cuban Christians, such as Orlando Bosch or Luis Posada Carriles, who were granted refugee status in the United States and promptly turned their considerable talents to terrorism, including blowing up a civilian airliner in mid-flight.

And then there was this bizarre passage by neocon—or should I say neo-imperialist—Niall Ferguson in the “Notable & Quotable” column excerpted in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal from a Sunday Times op-ed about European decadence and its similarity to early fifth-century Rome:

It is doubtless true to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent. But it is also true that the majority hold views not easily reconciled with the principles of our liberal democracies, including our novel notions about sexual equality and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities. And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilization within these avowedly peace-loving communities.

Huh?

But I think Max Boot, who clearly sees the current moment as particularly propitious for pushing his chronically militaristic agenda, deserves special attention, if only because of his reputed close ties to COIN master Gen. David Petraeus and his status as a “foreign policy adviser” to neo-con favorite Marco Rubio. There’s no need to go into the details of his recommendations for eliminating the Islamic State (ISIS or IS). He laid them out quite clearly in “How to Fight a Real War on ISIS’’ published in Commentary magazine’s “Contentions” blog on Sunday. I must say he makes it all seem so simple, almost casual. (“We will probably need at least 20,000 personnel and they will need much more permissive rules of engagement that will allow them to go outside of their bases in order to call in air strikes and more effectively mentor indigenous forces fighting ISIS.”)

On Tuesday, Boot, the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies at CFR, repeated those recommendations in yet another post entitled “Doubling Down on a Failed Strategy.” I read the article while I was getting a late afternoon snack, and two passages really jumped out at me, again just because of the sheer casualness with which the supposedly serious “defense intellectual” and “military historian” threw them out. Here’s the first one:

There is some indication now that the bombing is intensifying a bit, with the U.S. finally hitting ISIS fuel trucks that had been off-limits until now for fear of collateral damage. But even now the truck drivers are receiving advance notice to leave their vehicles ahead of the bombing for fear they will get hurt. This is hardly the action of a superpower fighting a war of survival. [Emphasis added]

Now, I guess this is what he means by “more permissive rules of engagement.” But what really got my attention was his definition of the war against IS as one of “survival.” Has any serious person suggested that IS poses an existential threat to the United States or Western Europe? Does David Petraeus or Marco Rubio think that? Talk about hysteria.

But then he follows this up with the following passage regarding how those 20,000 troops can avoid becoming a “permanent occupation” of the kind that Obama warned against during his press conference at the G-20 summit this weekend.

Obama made no reference to the need to create a new Anbar Awakening by offering Sunnis autonomy within a federal Iraqi structure—something that the U.S. can effectively guarantee even without Baghdad’s cooperation. The U.S. can simply train and arm Sunni rebel fighters and then announced, as it announced in the case of the Kurdish Regional Government in 1991, that the U.S. would protect Sunni autonomy in the future.[Emphasis added]

Wow, it is so simple. I’m sure that the Shia-led government in Baghdad would never challenge a unilateral action like that. And it certainly won’t be necessary for U.S. warplanes to patrol the newly autonomous region as they did over Kurdistan for more than 10 years after the first Gulf War. And if Baghdad or its well-armed Shia militia allies did object to such an arrangement, I suppose a simple declaration by Washington would persuade them to back off. (Is this what Petraeus or Rubio thinks?)

So there you have it: 20,000 troops, more airstrikes less discriminately carried out, some good arming and training of local forces a la Surge, and unilateral U.S. declarations as to how Iraq (and maybe Syria, too) should be effectively partitioned backed up by unilateral (military) guarantees, and we’ll have nothing to worry about anymore. CFR should be proud.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Although sometimes characterized as a Republican “maverick” for his bipartisan forays into domestic policy, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks.


Former CIA director Michael Hayden, a stalwart advocate of the Bush-era policies on torture and warrantless wiretapping, has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump


The former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House has been a vociferous proponent of the idea that the America faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists.”


David Albright is the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-proliferation think tank whose influential analyses of nuclear proliferation issues in the Middle East have been the source of intense disagreement and debate.


A right-wing Christian and governor of Kansas, Brownback previously served in the U.S. Senate, where he gained a reputation as a leading social conservative as well as an outspoken “pro-Israel” hawk on U.S. Middle East policy.


Steve Forbes, head of the Forbes magazine empire, is an active supporter of a number of militarist policy organizations that have pushed for aggressive U.S. foreign policies.


Stephen Hadley, an Iraq War hawk and former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, now chairs the U.S. Institute for Peace.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

The Trump administration appears to have been surprised by this breach among its friends in the critical Gulf strategic area. But it is difficult to envision an effective U.S. role in rebuilding this Humpty-Dumpty.


Print Friendly

A recent vote in the European Parliament shows how President Trump’s relentless hostility to Iran is likely to isolate Washington more than Tehran.


Print Friendly

The head of the Institute for Science and International Security—aka “the Good ISIS”—recently demonstrated again his penchant for using sloppy analysis as a basis for politically explosive charges about Iran, in this case using a faulty translation from Persian to misleadingly question whether Tehran is “mass producing advanced gas centrifuges.”


Print Friendly

Trump has exhibited a general preference for authoritarians over democrats, and that preference already has had impact on his foreign policy. Such an inclination has no more to do with realism than does a general preference for democrats over authoritarians.


Print Friendly

The President went to the region as a deal maker and a salesman for American weapon manufacturing. He talked about Islam, terrorism, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without the benefit of expert advice in any of these areas. After great showmanship in Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, he and his family left the region without much to show for or to benefit the people of that war-torn region.


Print Friendly

Although the Comey memo scandal may well turn out to be what brings Trump down, this breach of trust may have had more lasting effect than any of Trump’s other numerous misadventures. It was an unprecedented betrayal of Israel’s confidence. Ironically, Trump has now done what even Barack Obama’s biggest detractors never accused him of: seriously compromised Israel’s security relationship with the United States.


Print Friendly

Congress and the public acquiesce in another military intervention or a sharp escalation of one of the U.S. wars already under way, perhaps it’s time to finally consider the true costs of war, American-style — in lives lost, dollars spent, and opportunities squandered. It’s a reasonable bet that never in history has a society spent more on war and gotten less bang for its copious bucks.


RightWeb
share