Federal

Aug 23, 2017

Happy warmonger Trump joins the circle of a perpetual war

While the foreign policy establishment applauds Trump's conversion to military intervention, they never ask the question of why the War on Terror has been such a spectacular failure.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The exhalation of relief from the foreign policy establishment was audible. Trump would, at least when it came to military intervention, be a traditional Republican president. His address on Afghanistan -- as could be predicted from previous major Trump policy pronouncements -- lacked small things like detail (excused as strategic obscurity, to keep the enemy guessing) and a clear description of what indicators could be used for determining if his "policy" was a success. But it appeared to be distinguished by two key features from previous policy -- more troops sent back to Afghanistan to kill terrorists, rather than build Afghanistan into anything resembling a viable self-sustaining state, and getting tough(er) on Pakistan.

Cue nods of appreciation and supportive op-ed pieces around the world. Trump would not be the dangerous maverick from his campaign who, even if entirely inconsistently, damned US foreign adventurism abroad and promised an end to it. He even acknowledged that he'd changed his position in support of withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Purity Left who damned the neocon Clinton as a blood-soaked hawk are oddly silent. Bombing Syria. Sending troops into Yemen. Threatening military intervention in Venezuela (thus accomplishing the extraordinary achievement of engendering support for the socialist thug Maduro). Now, back into Afghanistan. But her emails!

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18 comments

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18 thoughts on “Happy warmonger Trump joins the circle of a perpetual war

  1. The Curmudgeon

    The war on terror- as successful as the war on drugs.

    1. Dog's Breakfast

      Damn you curmudgeon, you took my line! Prohibition worked well too!

      1. John Hall

        Ditto. Also the Defense industry has a massive and terrible inertia of its own. With Pine Gap and our craven Foreign Policy we are addicted to the same violence that is gradually throttling the concept of democracy in the USA that started with a violent rebellion over taxation and then led to a massive civil war that to this day killed more Americans than all other wars combined to date.

        1. AR

          Oh well, me four. The analogies are just too perfect.
          Almost as if there were some konspiracy…?

  2. klewso

    Of course the big question now is “Will this take the minds of US voters off his high-rise wall-to-wall cock-ups?”

    1. AR

      Probably – nothing the lumpen lurve more than a whiff of cordite, so long as it is far enough away.

  3. Iskandar

    How many of us of a certain age, like myself, listened to Trump’s bellicose speechifying with a sense of déjà vue, of heard it all before, of more of the same, ho hum. From Kennedy’s sugary bellicosity “…we shall pay any price, bear any burden…to assure…the success of liberty”, to Johnson’s desperate “We will not be defeated. We will not grow tired. We will not withdraw…” and again Johnson’s “…a long protracted war will disclose our weakness, not our strength.”, to H.R. Haldeman’s psychopathic “The bastards have never been bombed like they’re going to be bombed this time.”, to Nixon’s “Peace with honour”. And this from the Vietnam era only. A whole other list can be compiled from Gulf War 1 to today. Surely those spineless jellyfish who are our leaders must realise that our great and powerful friend and ally has become a 300-pound lunatic rampaging loose in the asylum with an assault rifle. Perhaps it’s time for them to be a real “friend” and say to him “Whoa! Calm down! Easy there!”. But this a dream. I expect to turn on the news and see them there yet again, snuffling and brown-nosing in lockstep. Depressing.

    1. cyberfysh

      ‘Perhaps it’s time for them to be a real “friend” and say to him “Whoa! Calm down! Easy there!”’
      Exactly! I was extremely disappointed when Turnbull leaped so quickly to his “joined at the hip” comments when Trump was escalating his bellicose rhetoric about North Korea. Surely, as in a pub brawl, a true ally would put a hand on a friend’s shoulder and say, “C’mon, mate, let it go; he’s not worth it. Let’s go get a kebab.”

  4. Peter Said

    The British lost in Afghanistan in the 1890s and Russians with much shorter lines of supply also lost in the 1980s, and now the US has lost. Who is learning what?

  5. Will

    The ‘Purity Left’! Love it, but not quite sure who’s included? (Anyone? Is it the old ‘artificial negativity faction’, or ‘the sunshine gang’? You’ll forgive my confusion, but the reference to Clinton’s emails as their fallback critique came so far from left field that I quite lost my bearings on who the culprits could be.)
    I’m guessing the Purity Left might be those of stern humanitarian principle, rather than of principled pragmatism (i.e. adamant opponents of both offshore interventionism and offshore detentionism, instead of only the former). But then, if so, the critic of the Purity Left would have to explain how interventionism and detentionism aren’t both driven by exactly the self-same imperative, being the contemporary right’s defining commitment to politically crucify the left on the cross of its own humanism.
    Lamenting the humanitarian cost of unnecessary wars yet advocating the necessity for offshore detention (as distinct from processing) might then well inspire an understandable defensiveness. For its hypocrisy.

    1. AR

      Will – you & grundle would be a black hole of fun if you ever met over cardonnay lattes.

      1. Will

        At least I’m not trying to look cute fly fishing.

  6. AR

    Not that I’m a Marxist(Groucho tendency)/Lennonist or nuttin’ but I recall someone, somewhere, sometime saying, “fighting for peace is like..something something.. for virginity”.
    For those not familiar with kipling, having never kippled, “strong nations, well armed, keep their goods in peace” (NB Bowdlerised for the snowflakes) we could lurch further back in time but many sages through thyme have noted, “if you would avoid war, be well prepared to attack” but the one thing they all have in common in the Bronze Age phallacy.
    Axes, spears, knives, machetes are very useful because they have many functions.
    A sword has only one function.
    I have preserved in digital form (not currently to hand) an ad for B&H deathsticks which showed the golden box, on an elegant Louis XVI table, beside a pearl handled pistol which, as Raygun’s skeletal spouse effused when showing it to admiring reporters, “fires lady-like bullets”.

    1. AR

      ..except that I’m already being moderated, I should correct that to “..Bronze Age phallusy“.

  7. Charlie Chaplin

    But the War on Terror has been very successful, BK. Hell, even Australian politicians are talking up the need for us to buy antimissile defense systems. And they’re upping our defence budget. And wasn’t there something about us going into the arms trade business?

    War capitalism is very healthy, thanks to the success of the War on Terror.

  8. Clive Woodworth

    Does anyone remember the Vietnam war.?? the one we won right?? oh no that one we lost sorry, to a group of ragtag freedom fighters and their brothers in the NVA.
    there were 500,000 US and Aussie troops and even that number couldn’t win it.. Why? Because as so many have found [ ask the Brits and Ruskies about Afghanistan] there is no winning a war against the people who are defending their country. Remember Gallipoli ? There is only one way to win in Afghanistan and that is to withdraw and let the people work it out for themselves. There is no way the West can
    do it.

    1. Iskandar

      You’re right of course Clive. There are several recent examples of war-afflicted countries that booted out interfering foreigners, shut themselves in while they sorted out their own history, however painfully, and re-emerged stable and at peace. China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Iran come to mind, as well as Russia, twice in the last hundred years.

      So how do wars get going in the first place? Forget the hogwash about “fighting for freedoms we enjoy”. Aside from a few based on ideological nuttiness like falling dominoes in Vietnam, wars are started for reasons of imperial expansion, in the main geopolitical agendas for getting control of territories and the resources they contain.

      No secret about the Middle East wars: O…..I…..L.

      Afghanistan is an interesting case. Land access to the Caspian oil fields has been suggested, the Unocal pipeline theory, in which the refusal of the Taliban to negotiate such access being the real reason for the invasion of 2001 (Yeah, yeah, I know about the 911 attacks, the three towers, you know, not the twin towers. I incline to the “inside job” theory). Afghanistan is a mountainous country, and the tectonic forces that push up mountains also create mineral deposits. Afghanistan is said to have vast undeveloped mineral resources, a tasty morsel the occupying powers make no secret about eyeing off. To help the Afghans, of course (snigger, snigger). There’s a lot on the internet; have a look at https: //geopolitics.co/2017/08/23/war-worth-waging-afghanistans-vast-reserves-of-minerals-and-natural-gas/ .

  9. AR

    To add to Iskandar’s point about resources, is it passing strange that there has been little to no comment re “Trump refused to say how many troops he was sending, or set any goals or timetables for withdrawal. “We are not nation-building again,” he stressed, boasting that “we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us.
    How does this differ from previous comments he & others made about taking Iraq’s oil as compensation?
    As the bumper sticker put it in the day, “how come our oil is under their sand?” – can anyone think of something suitable for the minerals of Afghanistan? “One lump or a thousand, Sir?”.

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