Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Let's give peace a chance


This won't receive much attention what with Trump's government shutdown and his bleating about a fictional border crisis that requires a fantasy wall -- but Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group and Jon Finer of the Council on Foreign Relations offer some thoughtful advice to people concerned for peace who are revolted by the Preznit. It comes down to a simple thought: just because he's an impulsive, ignorant hate merchant, his instincts about ending endless wars are not crazy, merely ineptly executed (if indeed they come to be executed).

There is no shortage of policies and decisions made by President Trump worth criticizing, but since the earliest days of his presidential campaign, he has expressed at least one belief that deserves to be encouraged, not denigrated: the desire to disentangle the United States from costly overseas conflicts...

So much is objectionable about the Trump era that it is hard for critics to know which targets to strike. But principled opposition requires that progressive opponents of President Trump not distort their beliefs for quick rhetorical wins. Whatever administration eventually follows will have many messes to clean up and will need to distinguish those that truly matter.

Inevitably, the United States will face threats that will require the use of military force. But we ought to continually question our enduring involvement in faraway conflicts, particularly when they come at a terrible cost to the United States and local populations as in Afghanistan and Iraq; make us complicit in abuses as in Yemen; entangle us with unsavory partners as occurred with some elements of the Syrian opposition; or exacerbate anti-American sentiment as our broader counterterrorism campaign often did.

Troop withdrawals can be messy and costly even in the best of circumstances. But that is not a reason to drift into forever wars while searching for the perfect exit. It is a reason to be disciplined about objectives and judicious about intervening in the first place....

... So much is objectionable about the Trump era that it is hard for critics to know which targets to strike. But principled opposition requires that progressive opponents of President Trump not distort their beliefs for quick rhetorical wins. ...

It's worth reading it all.

Once again, a humane political stance demands that we learn to walk and chew gum at the same time: No Ban, No Wall, No Forever Wars.

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