The simple, one-size-fits-all principle of US foreign policy

I’ll never forget the evening of September 10, 2014, when I googled to find Obama’s public address calling for war on ISIS in Syria. I accidentally pulled up his address from September 11, 2013, and was trying to understand it. After a few minutes, I realized my mistake: I was watching the speech where Obama was calling for war against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, not his most fearsome opponents.

September 11, 2013, speech:

September 10, 2014, speech:

After watching both short YouTube films of the 2013 and the 2014 speeches consecutively, I came up with this simple theory of US foreign policy:

If X, then bomb. If not-X, then bomb. Therefore, bomb.

Recall the Bush principle according to which X & not-X are mutually exclusive and exhaustive:

You’re either with us, or you’re with them.

All of this translates as follows in the current Syria crisis, where X = pro-Assad

If pro-Assad, then bomb. If anti-Assad, then bomb. Therefore, bomb.

The last time Obama called for war against the Syrian government, Raytheon stock jumped 20% over the course of a few days. I’m sure that the company execs will be happy with whatever pretext is offered next.

As for the people of Syria trapped in the midst of this quagmire? Refugees are understandably flowing in a steady stream to Europe, despite the mainstream media’s insistence over the past year that evil ISIS was luring new converts, both Americans and Europeans, to join the cause and strike in the West. Political leaders who support laying Syria to waste in a scenario starting to look more and more like Fallujah don’t really have answers to the question what to do when all of the Middle East has been evacuated because of Western bombing.

Can anyone truly deny that the record of this approach to US foreign policy is abysmal? Witness: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. Next up: Syria.


For more information and related criticism, see We Kill Because We Can, Chapter 9: Death and Politics

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