US Foreign Policy: First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

By Joseph Cari Jr.

The United States is blessed in many ways, but unfortunately, historic memory is not one of the attributes that our government possesses. Every 10 years or so, our leaders think that using the same insight and judgment that failed in the past, will, for some miraculous reason, work in the present.

My generation's first take at foreign policy was the Vietnam War, where we decided using conventional methods of war would win the day against an insurgency of true believers in a country that we were occupying. We discounted the experiences of the French, who tried the same tactics. No one could explain an end strategy: How would the United States know it accomplished what it set out to do? The United States was never able to articulate what the endgame was, and we never really knew.

Let us breeze by Afghanistan and Iraq, as the same unfortunate mistakes were made. We never really defined what would constitute a win. We never defined how we would extricate ourselves from the morass of both of these ill-conceived wars. Now comes Syria.

The Obama administration has publicly made a decision to send arms to the rebels. Has the administration stated what the real purpose is? Have we defined our end strategy? Do we really understand the consequences of getting involved? Getting involved in Middle East politics is like a pregnancy. Either you are pregnant or you are not; you are either involved or you are not. You cannot “kind of” be pregnant, and no one will consider you “kind of” meddling. Neither allies nor enemies will give any credit for a kind-of-in approach.

We must not get involved in Syria. We don't have the collective will, economic ability, or a strategic endgame. Our intelligence sources, military, and society are stretched to the limits from our last attempts at exporting democracy.

While I am at it, let me ask the question: What was our ambassador, who was in Benghazi, doing when he was slain? The issue of his security has cloaked the real issue: Was the American ambassador involved in shipping arms to the Syrian rebels from Libya?



Joseph Cari Jr. is the Chairman and CEO of Integration Capital & Trade Global

[Photo courtesy of Ibrahim Al Agouri ]

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