Monday, January 26, 2015

Now is the time for a quick U.S. de-intervention in Yemen

The overthrow of the Yemeni government sets the stage for a Sunni-vs-Shia conflagration on the Arab Peninsula. The late Yemeni regime is a zero loss to the United States. What President Obama once described as a vital regional ally – media pundits are now echoing this lie – was nothing more than a Arab strong man and his gang who ruled the Yemeni capital of Sana and almost nothing else, men who generously agreed to take hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military equipment, cash, training, and who knows what else. In return, the Yemeni regime allowed what it could not stop in any event: U.S. drone and Special Forces’ attacks that violated Yemeni sovereignty. Silence was the Yemeni regime’s main contribution as Obama’s vital regional ally, and now with that government gone, and none ready to take its place, the attacks can continue because there is no sovereign government to object to them.

–First, in Yemen, as in Syria and Iraq before Obama intervened and hurt U.S. interests, all the people that U.S. governments have for forty-five years identified as “enemies” would be killing and maiming each other. In addition, Saudi Arabia would aid AQAP and Iran would aid the Houthis, so the benefactors of al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, Lebanese Hizballah, Bashir al-Asad’s Syria, Iraq’s Shia militias, and the Houthi fighters would be drawing each others blood and spending wastefully. While all of this lethal mayhem is proceeding, the United States could simply watch and “officially regret” a religious war that has been in the making for a millennium, and which, with a little luck, will bleed each side white and move the United States a bit off the Islamists’ bull’s eye.

–Second, the United States should withdraw all of its personnel and moveable physical assets from what the Obama called the Yemen success story. This should be done, of course, because we do not want our personnel to have to fight their way out with the help of the U.S. Marines. But more important, Washington could use Yemen as the opportunity to begin a policy of non-intervention in the Middle East, and thereby begin to sap the Sunni Islamists motivation to attack America. We could publicly say that our withdrawal is evidence of America’s granite-like support for self-determination – a lie, our governing elite loathes the idea for Americans or anyone else – but Obama’s arrogance will need some noble-sounding reason to abandon his now in-flames success story.

–Third, Washington should build on a successful de-intervention in Yemen by beginning the same process in the Syria-Iraq theater. Obama and the Europeans clearly have no intention of defeating the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda there – and U.S. generals clearly have no talent whatsoever in training Muslim armies, witness Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc. – and so whatever funding, weapons, and lives that are expended there amount to pure waste. Once U.S. forces leave, the road will be open for a resumption of the Sunni-Shia religious war in the Levant and Iraq that was perking along and expanding nicely until Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron saw themselves as the second coming and launched their avenging if always war-losing angels to save “innocent foreigners” at the expense of decreasing the security of their own nations and citizens. Who knows, two quick de-interventions might cause everyday Americans to press their bipartisan governing elite to abandon the knee-jerk, ruinous, and war-causing habit of intervening in countries where no life-and-death U.S. interest is at stake, as well as to reestablish the tradition of quickly and utterly annihilating those few enemies who pose a genuine threat to U.S. national security.

Because multiple second chances to redress errors, as Churchill said, come only to drunks and the United States, Obama’s Washington ought not to miss the Yemen opportunity to do something that would contribute to rather than erode U.S. national security. Relentless interventionism and open borders have, respectively, earned America a war with an increasing portion of the Muslim world and allowed our Islamist enemies into the United States undetected. A de-interventionist foreign policy and closing the southern U.S. border would head the United States toward a much more effective and Americans-protecting foreign policy summed up in the time-honored and commonsense phrase “America First.”

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