Contrary to the closely-held belief of the Paul family on the Right and faux closely-held beliefs of the Obama-types on the Left, the United States is NOT an imperialist nation.
America, from the very beginning has always engaged in a catch-and-release program concerning countries we find ourselves occupying after throwing out some imperialist power, or throwing down some tyrant who had become a threat to our security interests. (I exclude the Mexican War, which was little more than a land grab, but I would be willing to sit down with the Mexican government and work out a new treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo in which we would give southern California to Mexico if they would sign over any and all claims they have ever had on that area of land called Texas. We bought Arizona and New Mexico fair and square.)
Witness the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico following the War with Spain in 1898. Puerto Rico, as you know, decided a long time ago they would prefer to stay a part of the United States, but as a commonwealth, and not as a state. As for the Philippines, in 1898 a relatively backward and rural-jungle island group, the United States began quickly preparing them for statehood, targeting 1941, roughly forty years, which has a Biblical ring to it, to be the date at which they should be ready to go it alone. WWII set this date back, but in 1947 The Philippines entered the comity of nations, and while not the sort of democracy I would have designed, they are still a functioning self-governing nation.
Finally, there was Cuba, closest to home, which within four years, we walked away entirely, leaving struggling new democracy, taking only baby steps. And no god-parent. Note the short time we were there administering Cuba, only 4 years, before we handed over the keys, for in the next fifty years Cuba was dominated by political turmoil not unlike Spain until a strongman named Batista became supreme dictator from the authoritarian right, to be followed by Fidel Castro in 1959, who remains still as totalitarian supreme dictator from the Left.
I often wonder how things might have turned out had America stayed in Cuba longer.
Finally, in 1942-1945 America fought a great war against two evils empires simultaneously, Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich and the Empire of Japan, both of whom surrendered unconditionally in 1945. (It was in all the papers.) After three years or so of direct military control, the United States then turned both those countries back over to civilian control and by 1952, when formal treaties were signed, they each elected their first legislative bodies. But in both countries America still retained large military forces. And seventy years later, they are still there, though it has been a long time since they have been thought of as armies of occupation.
Today no one is really sure when the occupation of Japan and Germany ended and when the mutual security obligations (against the USSR and Asian communism, Red China and North Korea) began. But there was a period of overlap. For close to twenty years our military presence in Japan and Germany served two purposes, first as a deterrent against possible Soviet or communist aggression (we had the Bomb) but also to insure that forces insides these two countries did not try to lead them back to their old ways.
There is law of generations involved in these occupations cum security arrangements. We needed a military presence to be there to serve as a deterrent to aggressors who may be lingering about, but also, to insure that the old regimes died off and takes all their memories with them. That is a key element of successful regime change…you have to retain a military force in place long enough for the old regime to be buried.. (I served in Japan during the Vietnam War, and knew many Japanese people from the WWII era, in military and business. There were small cities where it was still not safe for American military to travel. It was common knowledge that there was still resentment in much of the old military establishment…my HQ was on the grounds of the old Imperial Military Academy where Tojo headquartered…so we actually had a small staff doing periodic reports on this whisper campaign inside Japan, almost 30 years after the war..)
Now, back to Cuba. Arguably her failure as a democracy was in the fact that we didn’t hang around long enough to permanently affix in the Cuban heavens the institutional values of self-governance we had hanging in our own. Cuba proved that a new democracy cannot survive for long when the people who created it just turn and walk away, and tell them, in Hillary Clinton’s words, “you need to learn to go it alone.”
The Republic of Iraq, 2005-2009 RIP
So it is with Iraq. We should have planned to remain in Iraq militarily for at least 20 years, especially considering that strategically an American presence in Iraq is as important today to our security interests in Germany were, 1945-1990. Moreover, we should have maintained enough of a grip on the Iraqi government, secured by treaty, as it developed for at least 15 years. I argued this point before the 2005 Iraqi elections in 2004, but am unsure if the Bush planners ever saw Iraq’s future in these historical and generational terms. A strong military presence there, if for no more than show, guaranteed the Iraqi government at least twenty years, so should have been a pre-condition to Iraq’s ability to survive its first decade.
Which it didn’t.
But if Bush planners understood this simple law, and then passed Iraq off to Barack Obama & Co with the expectation they would continue along the path of securing Iraqi democracy, then Bush is four-times damned for his gullibility in trusting the likes of Putin, Karzai, Maliki and Obama. From the outset, Obama refused to secure that necessary treaty, which among other things, would have maintained troops in Iraq, but also guaranteed our intervention if Iraq were invaded, as with the ISIS invasion. We would have had US airstrikes three weeks ago, instead of leaving Iraq waiting for delivery of a few old Soviet Sukhoi’s as if they were waiting for an appointment at the VA.
Several possibilities exist to explain Obama’s failure in Iraq since 2009, but good intentions is not one of them. We all now know, which we didn’t in 2009, just how supremely incompetent the entire Obama administration actually is, and worse, how good Obama feels about himself in his incompetence. (Self-delusion plus incompetence plus power is a real witch’s brew.) But there is genuine meanness involved here as well, not to mention some level of simpatico with Muslim extremists who many on our left see as freedom fighters, as some did the Vietcong in the 1960s. A childlike belief writ lethal in both instances. Visible also in this Obama administration has been, almost from the outset, an almost playground-like spite in wanting to see every standard they had been held up against them to match, (a strong economy, military success over America’s enemies) to be torn down and trampled. Instead of trying to better the years that preceded them, Obama, possibly out of laziness, or spite, or both, found it easier merely to destroy everything that had had gone before him so that there would be no markers for the future.
In the cold calculation of modern leftist political theory, instead of guaranteeing a “breathing space” (in George Washington’s words) for Iraq, to solidify their democracy, great policy minds such as Hillary Clinton have said, to wit,”let them eat cake”.
Sadly, as we have seen time and again with leftist tough-love, this indifference to the thirst for human freedom included that little ink stain on over 9 million Iraqi fingers. The source for this level of spite for that simple ink-stain can only be found in the bowels of hell.
I can say all this because the permanent partition of Iraq is now a fait accompli. This occurred the day ISIS took Tikrit on June 12. We said here then, “Where is George W Bush?” that it was all over. The great dance we will see for many weeks-months to come will be just a pretend-game to try to keep the few Democrats who can actually find Iraq on a globe believing that Obama is doing his dead-level best to save Iraq from the fate that George W Bush, and his lackey toad, Maliki, have leveled on Iraq. Still more will die for this indifferent policy of accommodation.
ISIS has declared their gained territory a new state, and there is no nation in the world, save Iran, who would dare try to move them from it. If those Al Qaeda bastards have even a dribble of decency, they should name their new state Obamastan in honor of the man who awarded them this land so easily.