Movement towards Retrenchment by US and its Consequences and Need for Grand Strategy


[28-10-2013 12:59 PM]

By Abdulillah

One can see that the United States domestic political landscape is changing. Fueled originally by the likes of Dr. Ron Paul who ran for President in 1988 as the nominee of the Libertarian Partyand later under the Republican Party banner. Dr. Paul advocated originally for a lessor role of the US in foreign conflicts such as those of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to a much greater extent the economic burden that the US was carrying trying to police the world.

Dr. Paul advocated for this lessor role early on during and after the election of President George H. W. Bush more as an economic burden on the US and meddling in other countries affairs than what is today advocated by the right wing Republican Tea Party constituents who have taken up disjointed pieces of his political ideas.

Many originally viewed Dr. Paul’s thinking as one of the return towards isolationism which was the practice during the US early history until its participation in World War I and later in WWII. However; what was advocated by Dr. Paul is more related to Retrenchment of the 1906 GladstonianLiberal Party in British Politics which advocated for “Peace, Retrenchment and Reform”.

The act of Retrenchment meant at that time and by Dr. Paul was the cutting or reduction of public expenditures towards militarism and foreign involvement as a way of bring back government to a better fiscal responsibility. The Gladstonian manifesto stated “Expenditure calls for taxes, and taxes are the plaything of the tariff reformer. Militarism, extravagance, protection are weeds which grow in the same field, and if you want to clear the field for honest cultivation you must root them all out.”

Today however, the right wing Tea Party of the Republican Party wants only disjointed pieces of what was originally advocated for by Dr. Paul. According to a Pew Research study in late 2011, “The Tea Party has emerged as a political force on domestic issues, especially the national debt and the size and role of the federal government. Republican supporters of the Tea Party movement also have a distinct approach to national security and America’s role in the world.” According to the Pew Research study “Tea Party Republicans favor an assertive foreign policy, are strong supporters of Israel and take a hard line against illegal immigration”.

In the recent US election Governor Rick Perry of Texas a Republican presidential contenderand those of other conservative Republican and sympathizers of the Tea Party movement, have criticized Obamas handling of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. They believe that he has sided with the Palestinians too much, and they have overwhelmingly according to the Pew Research study side with Israel over the Palestinian with a 74% majority.

Are they right? Not unless you believe the Obama has done anything in the middle-east since he was elected, which he has not outside of some lip services… but an easy explanation for this reasoning can be found. Most of the Tea Party constituents and sympathizers are Evangelical Christians and predominately white. They are mostly from the rural south and west of the US better known as the Bible Belt of America. They have been inculcated to believe in the Zionist propaganda of a greater Israel in the Middle-East, where the Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem will be returned to the Third Temple of Israel and the return of Jesus (pbh) to convert the Jews to Christianity.
This alone should bring pause to middle-east political strategists and leaders, however, couple this with other trends in US politics and you will see that some aspects of retrenchment, can not only fuel a rise in more confrontation in the middle-east, but can a very large vacuum that can be filled by other foreign players, which we can see happening today.
One can see because of domestic politics in the US, some aspects of the old principals of retrenchment, such as cutting back on foreign aid, military bases and foreign services, to bring back fiscal responsibility to government spending and taxation, can and will play a big part in what happens. We in the middle-east will start to see some of the following only to much greater extent than originally expected:

•We will see the US fully turn away for the Arab states towards a more Israeli friendly policy. This will mean even lesser listening to the Arab point of view, than before, and whatever advances Israeli policy gains will be implemented. This bodes very badly for the Palestinians and their sympathizers, especially in the light of the present US role as mediator to peace, between the parties.

•You will see them withdraw from their commitments to the region, both in responsibility and economic aide for the many wars they have pursued. Iraq will be left in the dangerous vacuum that presently exists, and the responsibility of breaking it, will be swept swiftly under the rug. This goes for Libya, Syria and Egypt, where originally promised aide will disappear completely, as seen by US actions lately.

•More money and aide will continue to flow towards Israel, with the newly found cut backs in Arab aide, and a blind eye will be turned and cover will be provided whenever Israel contravenes international law and standards.

So what should the Arab States do? Well for one they can start to forge an alliance for an Arab Grand Strategy, where they can attempt to secure a path towards a complex future, critical to the future of each participating state; one that will allow for containment of nefarious foreign and domestic actors, where this grand strategy can be framed in context to warfare and conflict amongst nations.

Although no one likes war or conflict, based on this new development or retrenchment by the US, war is bound to escalate in the middle-east. As such; this strategy must have a plan that will impose a pre-determined outcome. It must be comprehensive in such as way that is solves many issues as once, but also must be durable enough to last to completion, and it must not be prone to failure by some unforeseen conditions.

This grand strategy will require all Arab Nations to come together in such a way that they can transcend their bickering and political differences to forge a new narrative that will provide them with confidence and commitment, with a beginning, middle and hopefully a happy ending. Some of the strategies required will be as follows:

• How do we get Iraq, Syria; Libya and Egypt back to stability? This could mean raising a collective Arab army not relying on the West or other power brokers to work with the governments of these states or setup governments that can take control when necessary.

• How do we work with other Muslim and sympathetic nations to obtain our goals as related to Israeli hegemony and middle-east peace in the region as a whole?

• How we can work towards engaging nations in the area and nearby areas for more permanent solutions, such as Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and even Somalia and other non-aligned nations, with whom we used to have good relations but have ignored for some-time.
• This grand strategy must not be a fairy tale either. It should never be something for nothing. It must be allowed to play itself out and elastic enough to maneuver within its components.

•It must have a mission statement and a collective ideal, one maybe similar to that of NATO, where containment of communism in Europe was its objective, But it must not follow the present rolewhen it morphed into one or two nation proxy organization, playing a role in old Yugoslavia/Balkan wars, Afghanistan and Libya, completely out of its main protocols and grand strategy after the collapse of the old Soviet Union.

•It must be able to put politics aside in comparative relation with the needs of each participating nation. Such as aiding in their infrastructure, education, and economic needs, etc…
•It must not allow only one or two nation to set the agenda for all participating nations.
•It must be like one nation working for the economic good of all participating nations and prepare our citizens for an economically competitive world.

•It must be morally upright.
•And lastly, we must allow for education of the public of these new ideals and make them stakeholders in its narrative.

Or we can do what we have been doing since the 1400’s and put our head in the sand and believe that others will not fill a vacuum left by others, which we have done repeatedly.
God Bless Jordan and its People




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