Oh dear. What a disappointment. Trump signs an executive order to bomb Syria with cruise missiles. Well, that’s pretty much the end of any hopes of non-interventionism by the Trump administration isn’t it. One executive order with federal court backing and it’s bombs-away time….again.
Leaving aside the reasons for the strike – the use of chemical weapons by Assad’s regime – it has become increasingly clear that the only way out of the Syrian fiasco is to let Assad and his allies (Russia) alone to complete the job against the rebels, which include al Qaida, its affiliates and Islamic State. Replacing brutal but stable, secular regimes with ‘democracy’ from the bomb-bay doors of a B52 created the sort of power vacuums that resulted in failed states, chaos, floods of refugees and more death and destruction. What a result since 2001. What crowning successes, and yet Trump wants more, despite vociferously opposing Syrian intervention in the past.
Some of us had high-hopes that Trump would at least scale-back the imperialism and avoid confrontations in the Middle East and elsewhere where the native populations are inherently hostile to Western civilisation. Iraq, Syria, Libya = zero sum game. But perhaps that’s a naïve view. It’s clearly in someone’s best interests to intervene in these theatres. Cui bono?
It used to be said that the business of America was business. The business of America is now war. More accurately, that has been its business since the Second World War. The military-industrial complex is now so hugely influential that it effectively dictates US foreign policy. On his farewell address to the nation at the end of his eight year Presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the consequences of the “disastrous rise of this misplaced power”. The US political establishment is a neoconservative (‘neocon’) interventionist and geared to utilise the resources of the arms industries. It funds and influences who wins elections. Senate and Congress are full of bought-and-paid-for shills to the big defence contractors and manufacturers. Former Vice-President Dick Cheney did very well as one of the owners of Halliburton, for instance.
It has never mattered which administration, Republican or Democrat, has held the Whitehouse – ongoing interventions have been par for the course. The relationship between the ‘defence’ (ironic , surely?) establishment and the political need to sustain the petro-dollar has resulted in a marriage of inconvenience for the rest of the world.
Once the genuine political outsider, Trump appears to have bowed to the pressure and influence of the neocons. One can only hope that his push to make the US energy independent comes to fruition. This would surely remove one of the main drivers – the need to secure cheap foreign oil supplies – behind US global military and economic interventionism. That can’t be a bad thing.