Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Governor Scott Walker and ABC's This WEEK Program Interview: the militarization of America’s Foreign Policy?

Keywords or Terms: Gov. Scott Walker; Presidential Aspirants; ABC This WEEK Program;  Militarization of America’s foreign policy; ISIS, Al Qaida in Arabia; White House’s action; National Security Agencies; Israel, Netanyahu; Gaza Invasion; Simultaneity; Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT);  National Counter Terrorism Center; Al Awake; Charismatic Leader; and 2016 Elections

Why are Republicans willing to sign on to military intervention anywhere across the globe, even when and where the direct interest of America, or American lives, is not at stake? Is military intervention always the answer to all Foreign Affairs issues; or is there other options to foreign wars?  Is current White House strategy against the terrorist groups like ISIS, Al Qaida and others not working as claimed by Republicans?

There are several possible explanations to the first question. The most important one is the perceived decline in the power and influence of the United States in a dynamic world, where terrorist groups release videos of beheading or decapitation of human beings with little immediate consequence. The perplexing horror of watching the head of a journalist severed or a Jordanian pilot set ablaze by ISIS has made some Republicans conclude that President Obama’s strategy on foreign policy is not working. A 2016 Presidential aspirant, Governor Scott Walker’s response to foreign policy question on ABC’s This WEEK with George Stephanopoulos, confirms the suspected resolve of establishment Republicans to militarize America’s foreign policy. Martha Raddatz, the moderator of the ABC This WEEK with Stephanopoulos on Sunday February 1, 2015,  had asked Governor Walker for a big idea on Foreign Policy, precisely on Syria's civil war; and, the governor says: “Don't Rule Out 'Boots on the Ground' Against ISIS.”

A next generation Republican leader, Scott Walker, who is eying the presidency, wants to find a way to resolve radical terrorist groups’ cowardice by sending Americans to war and unleashing US weapons in a country like Syria; a strategy many Middle-East experts and governments affirm is unrealistic. To the governor this action will signal to all allies across the globe that America is going to go anywhere in the world where the US interest is suspected to be at stake. This is probably the reason for a scornful comment from another hopeful, Ron Paul: “Some Republicans think a couple of trips to some foreign cities confer on them, an understanding of the complicated world of foreign policy.”

President Obama’s strategy is to adopt a neutral posture to some foreign policy issues where the direct interest of the United States is not at stake. Republicans have consistently antagonized that strategy, claiming a broader strategy is called for and this must include military intervention. Contrarily, there are those who maintain that the President probably has some national security information which his critics may not have, which advises against drawing America into another foreign war in Syria. Instead of seeing the wisdom in the White House's action, Governor Scott Walker and some other Republicans would rather commit us to war.

No one has taken the pain to call one of the next generation Republicans to order; however, it behooves the voters who are weary of wars to ask logical questions: Is America better off being in constant overseas wars or not? Does conquest in foreign wars bestow victory on what currently is seen as a clash of philosophic-religious ideological war, the type that is being fought over in some Middle-Eastern countries? Americans have the obligation to ask their leaders to show them a plan, entry and exit plan, whenever they commit our troops or go into foreign wars. Refusal to be explicit or explore other options that are effective is grounds for rejection; and in the case of Presidential aspirant Scott Walker, good grounds to make his dream of becoming the US President, moribund.

History has shown us that some foreign countries, even our close allies, have tendency to go it alone on issues that our government advised they be circumspect. A recent example to note: Israel’s invasion of Gaza. Instead of working with the US government, Prime Minister Netanyahu surprised the Obama’s Administration by going into Gaza and slaughtering children, in a bid to take out suspected terrorists. Plans for cease-fire initiatives from Secretary of State Kerry were re-buffed. It does not call for genius in a President to be circumspect of foreign conflicts or chronic disputes between parties; and, especially when the parties’ resolve to find solution to their problem(s) or conflicts on their own terms. It also appears that in some foreign conflicts, the principle of simultaneity adopted long ago by the US State Department, requiring an end to hostility before releasing foreign aid to allies, is hardly making an impact as corrective action for halting further hostilities. And in the case of Israel’s invasion of Gaza, had the President chosen to take actions that are somewhat punitive, allies of the State of Israel would have cried out foul.

But the reaction of Prime Minister Netanyahu was to choose, ‘my way or the highway’ approach; and, that led to some frosty relations with the current White House. Republicans opposed to Obama’s Administration on foreign policy, who oppose the current plan not to commit American troops to Syria or Libya’s wars or any other hot spot across the globe, must be careful not to treat all foreign conflicts or hostilities, as emblematic of America’s weakness not to act. Sometimes in foreign policy, waiting and watching, is probably the best answer to resolving a very dicey situation. There had been instances in which US proposals to resolve foreign conflicts had been rejected by both parties in the conflict because of the weight or political implication of concessions to bring about peace. No one is rejecting committing troops to conflicts where America’s direct interest is at stake; however, a negotiated settlement that protects America’s interest is probably what is needed in some cases.

2016 Presidential aspirants looking at a mandate to commit troops at any hot spot across the globe must be specific about their plans; running campaigns with unspecified or bogus plans to commit American troops to wars, is tantamount to irresponsibility. And of course, if there are no provisions to explore alternatives until failure or noncompliance with agreement is imminent or obvious, there is hardly anyone who should take a war mongering aspirant seriously; including Governor Scott Walker. As long as negotiations to resolve conflicts without shedding blood are available, a true hawkish leader must always default to commonsense: No Foreign Wars! If any aspirant is listening, exploring negotiations rather than troops on the ground, is the first preferred option for America today. The nation needs a breather from foreign wars!

Another issue to contemplate: Is current White House strategy against the terrorist groups like ISIS, Al Qaida and a host of others not working? There is no current hard data to support the argument that current White House initiative on foreign terrorist’s policy is a failure; neither is there data showing that had we been to war by committing troops on the ground in Libya, Syria or Egypt, alternative results would have been obtained. First, our intervention in Iraq has not yielded a stable or democratic Iraq. Instability and constant barbarous behavior are still percolating day-to-day life of Libyans, Syrians and Egyptians.

At this time, ISIS, an off-shoot of a prison gang and a combination of religious fanatics, has turned up to be more of a problem for countries where this group has germinated. Other terrorist groups as Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) in Indonesia have been taken out by their nation’s counter-terrorism team. A host of others as listed on the active roster of the National Counter Terrorism Center, including Afghan Taliban, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, Greek Domestic Terrorism, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), are actively being watched or decimated by alternative means through the State Department and National Security Agencies. Information regarding the methods and ways that these diabolic groups work, including assassination, biological threats, chemical Incidents, common explosives, false travel Documents, Use of Sarin or Racin, TNT equivalents, are constantly being publicized and closely monitored. The Obama’s Administration has been relentless in using the drone technology as an offensive. In all these efforts, one thing we have learnt since fighting this rather unconventional war is that: Until you take out a couple of the charismatic leaders that head these terrorists underclass, it is close to impossible to eradicate this canker worm. Our government is working to deliver a huge blow to extremist organizations; but this takes time; and for now, patience is on our side.

Perhaps the best indicator of America’s success in countering terrorism is the ordering and taking out of Al Awlaki, the American Cleric who became a thorn in the nation’s flesh. The legality of the President’s right to take out the American was challenged in court because of its legal implications. However, the legal argument that Al Awlaki joined a foreign army and engaged in hostilities with the US, thus becoming a target of US military, persists and would have been upheld in a court of law. No matter where each of us stands on this legal implication, current developments, where Europeans, Canadians and some American citizens are known to have traveled abroad to fight side-by-side with terrorist groups, shows how complicated and challenging fighting terrorism has become in a short number of years. Al Qaida has not been able to strike on American soil because of our vigilance and constant monitoring. We understand that since September 11, 2001, over eighty terrorist attacks have been foiled on US soil. Now, to go about blaming President Obama as if the fight against the terrorist was manufactured by him; or he has not constantly been on the hills of these ilk’s, is untenable in a presidential campaign.

American voters must critically evaluate any 2016 presidential aspirants who claim he or she is going to bring a permanent solution to the terrorism crisis the world faces. You must ask him or her, how they intend to go about their plan; or, what is their long- term goal to eradicate terrorism; or, associated problems. The practical question for any of these aspirants is how they intend to preserve the homeland so that returning Americans from foreign terrorist camps do not attack all of us in our homes and neighborhoods. This is a very important question for the presidential aspirants to provide answers, especially the trigger happy ones. Failure to do this is an automatic disqualification or rejection of campaign for the US Presidency.
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