Echoing the sentiments expressed by a young John Kerry during the Vietnam War, it’s time someone ask, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for our enemies?”
When will we stop falling on our swords for our enemies? When will we learn the lesson that if there is no strategic interest for us or a key ally in a given fight, we should stop arming our enemies and tipping the balance of power to our adversaries? When will we stop sending our troops into meat grinders with no conclusive outcome or strategic objective other than punishing them for violating rules of engagement?
The question of keeping Erdogan’s Turkey in NATO and defending them under Article 5 of its charter is one that must be answered by all presidential candidates.
These are all questions that conservatives must ask of our presidential candidates.
Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he would back NATO support of Turkey if Russia tried to retaliate against them for shooting down their fighter jet. A Russian helicopter was also shot down by “Syrian rebels” who are closely affiliated with Al Qaeda, armed with CIA-provided TOW anti-tank missiles.
Accordingly, Marco Rubio would have us go to war with Russia in order to defend the Islamist Erdogan’s regime in Turkey and the Al Qaeda-infested Syrian rebels. Make no mistake about it, Putin is an enemy of the United States, but to side with Al Qaeda and Turkey in this fight instead of staying far away from it altogether is sheer lunacy.
The question of keeping Erdogan’s Turkey in NATO and defending them under Article 5 of its charter is one that must be answered by all presidential candidates. The inanity of keeping Turkey in NATO 12 years after their ad hoc Islamist revolution reflects the obsolete nature of this military alliance and the broader dyslexia of our foreign policy. Erdogan has turned Turkey into the Sunni version of Iran, serving as the nexus for all pan-Islamist jihad movements in the region. They are also quietly helping ISIS in terms of providing safe haven, safe passage, weapons, and intel support when it works to their benefit. Yet, the European Union is willing to grant Turkey fast-track status to EU membership.
This is not a war for which U.S. lives, weapons, and money are worth expending.
Why not let ISIS, Al-Qaeda-saturated rebels, Assad, Turkey, and Russia – all enemies of the United States – duke it out without us expending lives and resources on behalf of any of them? Turkey has stopped being a NATO ally a long time ago and we should never get sucked into defending them, as Rubio suggests. Let’s focus on arming the Kurds and creating safe-zones for the Christian minorities in the region.
We need a strong and prudent foreign policy, but arming Al Qaeda in Syria, Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, and the Palestinians in Israel is neither prudent nor a projection of strength.
Moreover, it’s time for GOP candidates to both offer a rationale for why we are still in Afghanistan and commit to executing that mission, or to pull our troops out altogether. Our soldiers are still dying for nothing on almost a weekly basis and are continuously being persecuted and prosecuted for doing their jobs. That must end now.
Let’s have a quick review of do’s and don’ts in the Middle East in order to reorient our foreign policy to one that actually promotes our best interests:
The next president needs to take a Hippocratic oath on foreign policy. The annals of foreign policy can be tedious to sort through, but it’s easy to start with a simple pledge to first do no harm. The Graham/Rubio/McCain approach of involving us in every Islamic sectarian civil war and then bringing in Islamic immigrants from both sides is the equivalent of fighting a fire with a blow torch.
It’s time to move beyond the lost decade of Republican foreign policy and focus on protecting America and our strategic interests first. It’s time to stop funding and arming those who hate us. And it’s certainly time to stop involving our military in conflicts where there is no conclusive outcome, no ground to be gained or held for our strategic interests or protection of consistent and reliable allies.
The only thing worse than not having a strategy in the Middle East is sending our troops over there into a meat grinder while we have no strategy. Or worse, sending soldiers and arms to our enemies. And we can start by not having our military and CIA do the bidding of Al Qaeda and Erdogan.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.