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Many years ago, when I ran for the South Carolina House of Representatives, I asked an older lady for her vote. “I never vote,” she replied, “It just encourages them!” I think now, perhaps she was right.
Take, for example, South Carolina’s senior senator, Lindsay Graham, who received only fifty-six percent of his party’s vote in the last election, and who now takes that as a mandate to run for president. Graham never misses an opportunity to zealously advocate a foreign policy that stresses what can only be labeled “nation building,” that is, he wants the United States to go around the world and impose American-style “democracy” on countries, many of which still live contentedly in the 12th century and which have never had any experience with democracy. And if it takes American intervention and the deaths of American boys to do it, no matter.
I just finished reading a book entitled Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building, which recounts the colossal failure of this theory of foreign policy under both Democrats and Republicans. After Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Egypt, we should have learned that lesson, but apparently too many politicians have not.
A good example of the wrongheaded bipartisan incompetence that occurs in Washington is the US government’s support of the Free Syrian Army. These “champions of democracy” are enthusiastically embraced by the likes of Hillary Clinton, Lindsay Graham, and most of the current Republicans running for president. An exception is Senator Rand Paul, whose father, Ron Paul, was treated like an escapee from a mental asylum when he suggested that our Iraqi war policy was seriously flawed.
Earlier this year I was in Beirut, Lebanon, when I picked up a local newspaper and saw a front-page photograph of “Rebel Jihadists,” including the US-backed “Free Syrian Army” and Al-Nusra, the notoriously brutal Al-Qaeda affiliate, embracing in celebration of the capture of a town in Northern Syria. The US has been on their side, supplying them with training and weapons.
The last time I checked, the government of Syria was not involved in any terrorist attacks on the United States. It was Al-Qaeda, not the government of Bashar-Al-Assad, that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York on September 11th, 2001. In point of fact, currently the Syrian government kills more jihadists in a month than US air strike forces do in a year.
With politicians like ours, the vicious war in Syria will only worsen. If the US is successful in overthrowing the Syrian government, thousands of Christians will die at the hands of US-backed terrorists. So much for the Bush, Clinton, Graham, and Rubio brand of American “nation building.”
Richard T. Hines