I started off my new article for The National Interest on America’s lost global lead in semiconductor manufacturing with the observation that “One of the leading features, and weakness[es], of globalist U.S. foreign policy has been the tendency to look mainly to foreign policy to solve problems that domestic policy could likely handle better. That’s because all else equal, conditions at home are much easier to change and control than conditions overseas.”
And one of my examples was “To eradicate, or at least reduce, jihadist terrorism, administrations from both parties mired the nation in costly and protracted foreign wars rather than secure the homeland.”
Little did I expect that the very same day this piece appeared, a front page article in the Washington Post would make clear that although the America First-oriented Trump administration has at least partly learned this lesson, the bipartisan, globalist U.S. foreign policy Blob, (which will return to power if Democratic candidate Joe Biden becomes President, and which contains many Mainstream Media journalists who faithfully serve as its mouthpieces) remains clueless.
The headline alone clinches both these cases: “ISIS attacks surge in Africa even as Trump boasts of a ‘100-percent’ defeated caliphate.”
It’s clear purposes – to spotlight a major broken Trump promise, and to whip up fears that the same kinds of jihadists who have attacked the United States are alive and kicking despite the President’s boasts, and that his ego and blockheaded isolationist foreign policy impulses will only ensure that this threat will keep metastasizing if he remains in office.
After all, “The rise in violence comes as the Trump administration moves to slash U.S. troop deployments and threatens to curtail support for local governments on the front lines of the battle against Islamist militants. The White House is considering steeper cutbacks in U.S. military forces in Africa, despite warnings from some analysts that the reductions could further hamper efforts to check the extremists’ advance.”
Worse, readers are told, the President has been repeating this mistake elsewhere: Despite performing well in killing jihadist leaders, and tightening “the noose on [ISIS] followers in Iraq and Syria, other White House policies undermined the effort to defeat violent Islamist militant ideology globally, according to …counterterrorism experts.”
Specifically, “Trump surprised his own security advisers by twice announcing — and then reversing — a decision to unilaterally withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, signaling an abandonment of U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters who were still battling thousands of Islamic State militants who fled as the caliphate was crumbling.”
And the icing on this cake of failures: Mr. Trump’s “anti-Islam rhetoric and ban on Muslim immigrants handed the militants a propaganda win, reinforcing a ‘fundamental al-Qaeda message, which is that America is against Islam’” as one of these experts contended.
Leaving aside the fact that the immigrants ban wasn’t on Muslims, but on individuals from terror-prone countries, these establishment authorities have it completely backward and the President’s generally America First-y approach is the commonsensical and strategically sound route to follow.
Unless you, like they, think that U.S. advisers or forces or whatever should spend the indefinite future running around failed regions of the world trying to stamp out the extremist factions that keep popping up precisely because of their homelands’ chronically dysfunctional conditions? And that since this strategy has worked so well in the Middle East, it’s now time to reenact it in Africa, where circumstances may be even worse? Because the continent is “already beset by poverty, corruption and the novel coronavirus”?
In fact, as America First-ers recognize, it’s precisely because Africa’s countries are (to quote the Post article) “ill-equipped to fight insurgencies that are well-armed and geographically dispersed” – or to perform as effective governments in just about any way – that Trump travel ban-like and other border security measures represent America’s best hopes by far for ensuring that Africa’s jihadist problems don’t become U.S. jihadist problems. This America First approach, by contrast, can only mire the nation in a new series of futile Endless Wars in one of the world’s least promising theaters.
And to complete this portrait of foreign policy Upside Down World, the biggest mistake in this regard that Mr. Trump has made has been his eager adoption of the globalist goal of defeating ISIS “100 percent” – and presumably eliminating jihadist threats for good with military shock and awe.
Instead, as I’ve written, he should have focused on U.S. borders all along – or at least portrayed continuing anti-terrorist military involvement in the Middle East and elsewhere as a bridge to the time when they become secur enough to keep out jihadists et al however active they are abroad.
The oft-quoted Serenity Prayer begins this way:
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
That’s logic that’s hard to argue with – and evidence that whoever wrote it would have been an America First-er today.