Blowback in itself is not a good enough argument for a non-interventionist foreign policy. Every cause has an effect, and sometimes threats MUST be intercepted, but not in the current fashion. The real reason we should avoid blowback isn’t for the sake of avoiding blowback… it’s a simple cost benefit analysis. It’s poor military strategy.

I think Rep. Ron Paul could make the better argument during the Presidential debates by highlighting these key facts: [1] We are in The Fourth Generation of warfare [2] Wilsonian occupations cost us trillions and thus create domestic economic dangers [3] The power vacuums of the Arab Spring may very well be filled by greater monsters than traditional authoritarians.

The Fourth Generation of war basically underscores that as we become more globalized and digitized, stateless entities are emerging as some of the largest threats. By this, waging traditional campaigns against states is ineffective at best. Our enemies are not directly funded by states. It’s like trying to swat a fly with a cannon, and you end up making more enemies in most cases. Imagine if the US had occupied Japan? They’d have fought to the last man. It’d been a bloodbath, and the country would not have survived.

The Chinese nationalists lost out to communist guerillas for many of the same reasons during the Chinese civil war. Chiang Kai-sheck was unable to eliminate a stateless threat with traditional forces, eventually seeing the rise of the People’s Liberation Army.

One point to make to Republican voters who are so quick to boo and jeer Rep. Paul is this: Why are we advocating the foreign policy of Wilsonian liberal nation-building? Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a very telling statement recently when he proclaimed that, ““The most significant threat to our national security is our debt.” And, at least on that broad assessment, I’m in complete agreement, the Pentagon has to cut its spending too. Defense spending is not synoymous with military spending, and in the midst of 14.7 trillion dollar debt, and the specter of default never far away, we certainly shouldn’t be trying to Westernize tribal countries with roads and schools. It won’t work. It may create warm fuzzies… but it’s not going to take hold. The reacitionary forces continue to thrive, as they’re able to drive recruitment through the ‘invader’ narrative. Every stray bomb will create only more enemies.

Leading me to my next point, whether an Arab Spring is organic, or aided by U.S. intervention, as we have seen in Libya is of no consequence. There stands a great chance that these regions will move deeper into tyranny as power vacuums manifest. If we cannot calculate an outcome, we shouldn’t be throwing dice. Cause has effect, but a good stragetigist only takes calculated risks. As the New York Times is reporting this morning, Islamists have a growing sway over that nation now ( )…

“The most powerful military leader is now Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the former leader of a hard-line group once believed to be aligned with Al Qaeda.”

In Egypt, the Israeli embassy was recently overrun in Cairo by mobs… so while it’s hard to predict what the outcomes will be of an Iraqi exit, a post-revolution Egypt, and a post-Qadaffi Libya… there’s certainly a high possibility that we could see a repeat of Tehran circa 1979 (which was itself a reactionary event, spawned from the CIA’s 1953 intervention during Operation AJAX). It’s possible that these regions will experience a drastic move away from the Western populism the uprisings wore at-face during their beginnings… perhaps not. But we shouldn’t be arming or aiding anyone when we don’t know where they’re going to stand when the smoke clears.

A non-interventionist foreign policy is the best military strategy… by simple cost benefit analysis, and for our national security. Frankly, the blowback has, in almost all cases, led to greater problems.

One response to “Blowback.

  • Kit

    Craig, I find your opinions right on the mark, accurate and insightful. To quote Bill Clinton, I feel your pain. Unlike Bill Clinton, I really mean it.

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