U.S. Foreign Policy: A Time for Questioning

It is long past time for the American republic to start asking some very difficult questions about its foreign policy, with the Middle East specifically; questions that have long been ignored or disregarded as “propaganda.”

One of the core tenets of American foreign policy has been to arm those who oppose the side which the United States government opposes. Maybe it has worked in a few instances. However, recent revelations now confirm that the policy is detrimental to both the United States and the actors involved.

On September 25, 2015, U.S. Central Command issued a memo detailing the fact that approximately 1/4 of the weapons provided to “moderate Syrian rebels” were handed over to Al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

The Hill- Syrian fighters voluntarily handed over equipment, including six pickup trucks and ammunition, to al Qaeda’s Syria arm, Jabhat al Nursa, according to a statement.

The admission comes days after Pentagon officials dismissed such reports as propaganda and said they had no evidence that U.S.-trained rebels had defected with their weapons.

The disclosure is the latest calling into question the efficacy of a $500 million arm-and-train program to aid Syrian rebels, which head of Centcom Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III said recently had only trained “four or five” fighters in the war-torn state. The military said approximately 70 fighters have been added since the initial estimate.

This is an extremely disturbing development. The Pentagon can no longer dismiss the claims that our involvement in the region is counterproductive. It is time for us to be 100% honest with ourselves, and accept the realization that we have aided in creating the slaughterhouse that is the Middle East in 2015.

This is not a popular thing to say among conservative Republican circles. Rather, these people would have one think that the U.S. can do no wrong when it comes to dealing with foreign nations. However, this is an intellectually inconsistent position. Just as Senator Rand Paul stated in his 2015 CPAC speech, “we should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow become successful abroad.”

The United States government is inept at home, and impotent abroad. If the government cannot even keep its own checkbook in order, how can we expect them to possibly understand the fierce, bloody conflict that has plagued the Middle East since the 7th century? This war between Sunnis and Shias has been raging since the beginning of Islam itself. How can any Western government have the audacity to claim that they can bring peace to the region by arming one side to fight the other? It’s insanity!

The notion that there are “moderate rebels” fighting against Syrian President Bashar al Assad is dangerous and misleading. Those who are involved in that fracas cannot be assumed to be moderate simply because the State Department and the Obama administration want to be politically correct. After all, what is so moderate about fighting against a government?

So why are we sending weapons into that region, when we know that the Islamic State is picking up anything and everything they can in their bloody crusade? For goodness sake, they are using our vehicles and weapons that we left to the Iraqis! What makes them think that non-state actors will be any different? These questions have not even been seriously considered or asked, let alone answered. The war hawks would rather just keep throwing weapons at the problem than to really address the heart of the issue: radical Islam.

So since the State Department and the Pentagon continue to derelict their duties, I am here asking the questions along with a few good men like Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, and Rand Paul.

If we are giving weapons to groups in the Middle East, do we know who those groups are?

If we are giving weapons to groups in the Middle East, how do we know that those weapons will not be going to jihadists?

If we are giving weapons to groups in the Middle East, do we have an end game for the strategy?

If we are giving weapons to groups in the Middle East, what will happen to those weapons once the conflict subsides (if ever)?

If we are giving weapons to groups in the Middle East, how to we know those weapons will not be turned against us?

These are all questions that the Pentagon and State Department do not seem to be asking. So we are left here scratching our heads wondering, what side are we on? Furthermore, is our involvement improving or exacerbating the situation? At this point in time, a rational person can say with confidence that our provisions have contributed more than their fair share in destabilizing the region. We have, indirectly, caused the current situation.

It is time to put an end to this madness.

Follow Seth on Twitter: @sconnell1776


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