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  • Trump has to choose a strategy.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on February 12th, 2017 (All posts by )

    There has been a huge uproar over President Trump’s Executive order to limit immigration from seven Middle East countries that are in turmoil. A Seattle federal district judge issued a restraining order to block the immigration “pause.”

    The result is widely hailed by Democrats and the usual open borders advocates.

    Still, there is some trepidation about the Democrats’ vulnerability on this issue.

    Democratic arguments about immigration mostly aren’t arguments. The party has relied on opposing Trump’s more outrageously exaggerated claims about the criminality and all-around character flaws of immigrants. That’s fine, as far as it goes — but as November showed, it doesn’t go far enough.

    The core problem is that Democrats didn’t really make an affirmative argument for an overhaul to U.S. immigration policy that might appeal to voters. Instead, they talked a lot about what great people immigrants are, and how much they benefit from migration. Unfortunately, the clearest group of beneficiaries from this policy — people who want to migrate, but haven’t yet gotten a green card — can’t vote.

    Most of this is, like the British Labour Party, an attempt the replace one voting group with another.

    However, aside from the implications for employment for American citizens, there is the question of terrorism.

    We are conducting a war with radical Islam in the Middle East.

    How do we fight that war ?

    One of the problems facing the Trump administration is the lack of an overall strategy to defeat radical Islamism. The one left over from the Obama administration consists of a schizophrenic blend of attempting to solve “root causes” incongruously combined with a program of targeted assassination. “The U.S. dropped an average of three bombs an hour in 2016 — a total of 26,171 explosive devices dropped in seven countries in the past year” according to a report published at the close of President Barack Obama’s second term, not counting thousands of air strikes which went unreported according to the Military Times. This vast campaign of targeted aerial assassination was accompanied by what the Nation called “the secret nation-building boom of the Obama years”. By 2014 Obama had doubled “nation-building spending from $24.3 billion to $51.3 billion”.

    The Trump administration campaigned on argument the Obama strategy has failed. David Ignatius says the Trump White House is steeling itself for the fallout.

    Michael Flynn, the national security adviser to President Trump, shows visitors a map predicting what will happen to the Islamic State after its stronghold in Mosul is captured. It shows menacing black arrows reaching west toward future battlefronts in Iraq, Syria and beyond.

    That’s the worry that motivates the Trump administration as it plans strategy against the terrorist group: Rather than a shattering defeat for the adversary, Mosul may be the start of a breakout to other regions.

    What if the ISIS terrorists all go home ?

    The new ISIS nightmare according to the Christian Science Monitor is that having lost their geographical bastions, its soldiers are going home to start new Syrias. “As coalition and allied forces push through Mosul, Iraq, and close in on the Islamic State’s capital of Raqqa, Syria, Arab states are bracing what some are calling a ‘disaster’: waves of ISIS fighters returning back home.”

    Attacks have left citizens apprehensive over the fighters’ return. In December, Tunisians protested against the return of former Islamic State fighters, holding signs like “Close the doors to terrorism” in front of parliament. Here in Jordan, many know a son of a neighbor, colleague, or distant relative who has gone off to fight to Syria.
    “It is better for them to die in Syria then to come back and ruin our homeland,” says Mohammed, a 45-year-old grocer in Amman, who says he knows of “several” families whose sons have travelled to Syria.

    I have read that there is little opposition to Trump’s travel ban.

    Dubai’s deputy chief of police and public security, Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, has praised US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to temporarily ban citizens from seven Muslim-majority states, saying in a series of tweets it was a ‘preventive measure’ to safeguard the country

    “Kudos to President Trump for his brave decisions… they (these people) can only be dealt with through preventive measures,” he said in an Arabic-language tweet dated January 29 on his official Twitter account.

    “Trump banned the citizens of countries in the embrace of Iran and prevented the Iranians from entering… sound decision,” he added in another tweet…. “It is not necessary for America to host backward people, it has received enough before,” he said in one tweet. “What would a Yemini, Iraqi, Iranian, Somali or a Syrian do in America? They have destroyed their countries, they should not destroy America.”

    What about Afghanistan and Pakistan?

    To make matters worse, Russia and Iran have increased their involvement in Afghanistan in recent months. … The General also made it clear that the large youth populations in both countries—200 million people, 70 percent of whom are under 30—make them rife for the gestation of terrorist networks and recruitment of young and willing individuals. In the long term, this alone poses a massive threat to stability in the region and to US national security.

    Should Afghanistan be written off ? I have been saying we should get out of Afghanistan for years.

    Pakistan is not an ally.

    The enemy has a sanctuary and our allies are siding secretly with our enemies.

    Here’s how the game works. The Pakistanis are currently engaged in a much heralded crackdown on jihadists. But they are limiting those operations to the jihadists in the northwest tribal region — i.e., those whose primary target is the Pakistani government. By contrast, the Taliban — i.e., the jihadists targeting the U.S. and Afghanistan — are holed up in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, under the protection of the ISI. In fact, there are now reports that Mullah Omar has been moved to Karachi to protect him from U.S. drone attacks.

    Pakistan is playing a double game. Secondly, our troops are handicapped by absurd rules of engagement.

    That was 2009. It is worse now. I am reading a book called “Hunter Killer” about the Predator program by an Air Force officer who has been involved since the beginning. The ROE just got worse.

    What does Trump do now ?

    To avoid defeat from attrition Trump will need a new approach. While none has been officially announced the outlines of a new strategy may be emerging from the actions it has so far taken. Trump may be:

    Attempting to shrink the radical petrodollar support through increased domestic energy production, something Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would understand;
    close the West to Wahabism and its emigres via the immigration policy that is proving so controversial;
    trying to diplomatically neutralize Turkey and Iran and play off India against Pakistan.
    Such a concept would attack the money and ideology provided by the Saudis, lessen the influence of the Islamic brain trust (the Persians and Turks) and bottle up a potential sources of nuclear weapons (Pakistan). It would also prevent the buildup of a rear area inside the West itself by border control. It’s a WW2 or Cold War Era “center of gravity” approach to a problem so far dominated by the “root causes” method.

    Is this what the “travel ban” is a first step to ?

    We may find out in 120 days.

     

    27 Responses to “Trump has to choose a strategy.”

    1. dearieme Says:

      As long as the US insists on invading and bombing Moslem countries she’ll face the risk terrorism on a substantial scale. Apart form the bleedin’ obvious policy of desisting, what she really must do to stop the business getting out of hand is to avoid Moslem colonies springing up within the US which will eventually supply disaffected youths, and adults, who will be much harder to detect and deter. That’s why talk of a 3 month ban and extreme vetting is largely poppycock. What you need is a long-lasting ban, and one applied to more than the 7 countries listed in the statute that Obama had signed.

      The US has applied racial and religious criteria to immigration in the past; it’s time for another application of a religious criterion.

    2. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      There are multiple aspects of this. The Middle East, in the wake of Obama’s ministrations, is an Islamic goat-grope. Very little can be done. The best assumption is that between ISIS, Al Quada, other groups, and what passes for nation-states there, all of the Ummah is the enemy and needs to be dealt with accordingly. You did not mention Turkey. Turkey has transformed itself into an Islamist dictatorship and is no longer a secular pseudo-democracy. It is not a friend, it is an enemy. The only redeeming feature is that through the grace of whatever Deity is turning the crank this week, Muslims hate different flavors of Muslim almost as much as they hate those who are not Muslims. So Turkey has its own problems.

      My most immediate concern with Turkey is Incirlik AFB on the coast at Adana. It is the NATO nuclear storage depot for the region with about 200 nukes there. The base, last I heard, was surrounded by and semi-blockaded by Turkish troops loyal to the Islamist Erdogan. I really, really want those nukes moved to a safer storage. We cannot defend Turkey from the Russians if they are allied to them, which they now are; so kick them out of NATO and pull our forces out.

      Mention was made of vulnerability of Democrats. Despite unsupported and false statements to the contrary by Leftists on and off the courts, there are 72 convicted Islamic terrorists here from the countries listed. Further, the TRO issued by the court deliberately did NOT respond to the point that by black letter statutory law [8 USC 1182(f)] Congress gave the President the right to temporarily or permanently exclude foreign nationals, immigrants or otherwise when he judges it in the best interest of the United States. And it has been done before with no objection by the courts. All those Iranians here did not disappear after they took our embassy in 1979 just by magic.

      Now, the State Department is still staffed by Obama appointees. Until they can be rooted out throughout the government, we are in danger. Since the TRO was released, they have been admitting as many “refugees” and “immigrants” as they can from those 7 countries, with the numbers reaching the thousands. There is no vetting, extreme or otherwise.

      As of this moment, any terrorist attack on this country by nationals of the 7 “state sponsors of terrorism” states [which list was made by the Obama administration, so Democrats cannot claim ignorance] are now the responsibility of the Democrat Party, its members, and its allies. The blood of any Americans killed is on their hands. They are actively fighting to bring more of them in, knowing that they are admitting terrorists in the process.

      Which takes us back to my last piece here. We need a settled immigration system that serves OUR interests and protects our people. NOT wide open borders.

    3. Kinuachdrach Says:

      “As long as the US insists on invading and bombing Moslem countries she’ll face the risk terrorism on a substantial scale.”

      Dearime’s statement highlights the problem facing the US — even smart people have difficulty avoiding the Politically Correct nonsense that “It is all our fault”. If only we would buy the world a Coke, terrorism would come to an end. If US students are subject to that much anti-American indoctrination & hatred in US schools, can you imagine what is happening in the madrasas around the world — to say nothing of the European school systems.

      Stopping pointless bombing in foreign countries would indeed be a good place to start … but it will not stop terrorist attacks on the US homeland.

      Trump already has revealed the bones of his policy — control the borders; rebuild US industrial & economic strength; limit involvement in foreign actions (military or otherwise) unless those actions are clearly in US interests.

      The major problem in implementing that kind of common-sense policy is the Enemy Within The Gate. It remains to be seen whether President Trump will be able to overcome obstructionism from the indoctrinated self-hating American Left. For sure he will try — and his success or failure will have major consequences for generations to come, in the US and around the world.

    4. dearieme Says:

      There’s nothing politically correct about it, you chump. Explain to me how the US gained from invading Iraq or bombing Libya. It’s moronic US policy that’s much of the explanation for the problem.

    5. dearieme Says:

      “Do you think we are so innocent?” is Trump saying “Aw, grow up!” Quite right too.

    6. Grurray Says:

      “It is better for them to die in Syria then to come back and ruin our homeland,”

      I know a few Syrian Christians and a number of Iraqi Assyrian Christians. They all say this.

      In fact, I try not to talk about the subject anymore. They all believed Obama was a Muslim, and they love Trump. They’re hoping Trump will start carpet bombing Muslim cities to ease the refugee situation. I’m not kidding, they have a long list of grievances going back centuries. And don’t even get them started on Pope Francis.

      All those Hollywood stars who say they want to welcome and embrace immigrants would definitely have a different view if they met this group.

    7. Mike K Says:

      We need a settled immigration system that serves OUR interests and protects our people. NOT wide open borders.

      I think that is coming. That may be why Trump is not contesting the TRO. Beyond words, of course.

      Dearie has reverted to the previous position that it is all our fault.

      In fact, it is Sykes-Picot fault.

      I told my British friend one time that we should never have gotten into WWI.

      He was shocked. I added they should not have gotten in either. It would have been Franco-Prussian II.

      This all goes back a long time. Should we have let Saddam have Saudi ? He made a mistake to pause after Kuwait. Either his tanks needed fuel or he wanted to see what we would do.

      Should we have let him have his way ? That was pre-fracking.

      Maybe we should let the Muslims have Europe,

      Trump will face furious resistance to a real Muslim ban. The Deep State.

    8. Brian Says:

      “As long as the US insists on invading and bombing Moslem countries she’ll face the risk terrorism on a substantial scale.”
      Um, one of Osama’s chief complaints was about the Reconquista of Spain, completed in 1492. As hard as it is for some to accept, we’re bit players in the Islamic Civil War that’s been raging white hot for the last few decades, and is likely to only get worse.

    9. Mike K Says:

      Blame America is an old default position of Europe, and I;m sorry to say, England.

      Soon England will be gone, as will Germany.

      I don’t know about France. They might have enough cultural arrogance to fight back but they are very deep in the hole.

      I expect furious resistance to Trump’s attempt to shut the door on Muslims. He says Muslim radicals but most of them are tolerant of the jihadis.

    10. Mr Black Says:

      Dearieme, the problem with pre-emptive wars is that the thing you were trying to prevent, never happens. So the argument that invading Iraq was pointless because nothing happened… is kinda the point. They represented a standing threat into the future and we removed that threat.

    11. TMLutas Says:

      We are not at war with radical Islam in the Middle East. Don’t believe me, go call up the Pentagon’s media line and ask them that question. The answer may surprise you. I ran a similar exercise a few years ago now and their answers certainly surprised me.

      In fact, I think it might be useful to run that again soon, this time with timers. A question for the community, how long is a reasonable period to give the Pentagon to answer that question? How long would it be reasonable for a Congressman or Senator to answer that question? How long would it be reasonable for the Trump administration to answer that question?

    12. dearieme Says:

      “They represented a standing threat into the future”: poppycock. They were not the least threat to the USA, in fact they were a potential ally in your continuing stand-off with Iran.

      “Blame America” is perfectly sensible when she pursues foreign policies that are either sublimely stupid, or are based on motives that are entirely mysterious, and which lead to, as one consequence, revenge attacks.

      “one of Osama’s chief complaints was about the Reconquista of Spain”: no doubt, but his principal complaint was the existence of American bases in Saudi Arabia. Be that as it may, his chances of doing you any substantial harm were very slim until W launched his loopy attack on Iraq.

      Anyway, look at the evidence. A score or so of Saudi terrorists managed to destroy two skyscrapers and part of the Pentagon. The US became hysterical and lashed out. Now all you have to do is explain why it is conceivable that Moslems who have been repeatedly bombed and invaded would remain entirely calm in the face of such action and wouldn’t dream of retaliating in some way. You can’t because your proposition is absurd.

    13. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

      Trump doesn’t have a strategy for much of anything so why is terrorism any different. He’s a guys who’s never been accused of being diplomatic but that’s not because he is single minded. He lost huge money in NYC development for a stupid press war with Mayor Koch, tweeted for years about his beef with David Cameron (former PM of UK). A successful strategy would involve building relationships with Eygpt,Jordan, and India while carefully handling Saudi Arabia and the gulf States. Avoiding reliance on Putin is also key as he will never be reliable. It will take some reading and listening on Donald’s part (and not just the “shows”). The Presidency is a vast honor and opportunity for him. To refuse to take advantages of the resources available to him is just childish.

      A lot of conservatives keep inventing complex hidden schemes to explain Trump’s actions. Sorry guys there aren’t any complex negotiating deals or hidden plans. What you see is what you get.

    14. Brian Says:

      “his chances of doing you any substantial harm were very slim until W launched his loopy attack on Iraq.”
      Um, 9/11 happened before the Iraq invasion, as you note above in your comment. Do try to keep your timelines straight.

      “look at the evidence. A score or so of Saudi terrorists managed to destroy two skyscrapers and part of the Pentagon.”
      Actually, in a small attempt to find some common ground, let’s do look at the evidence–it’s clear that the 19 AQ hijackers had at least some level of state support from multiple ME countries, most obviously Saudi Arabia and most substantially Pakistan (it’s obvious that Pakistan supported OBL well before 9/11, and that they shielded him afterwards, so I see no reason to believe they weren’t perfectly well aware of his most ambitious program). It’s amazing to me that we are all supposed to pretend that we don’t know this, and treat these countries accordingly.

    15. dearieme Says:

      My timelines were straight; your thoughtlines are confused. I said that only after the Iraqattack were Moslem terrorists capable of doing you substantial harm. That’s true , unless you are going to count a hole in the wall of the Pentagon and three thousand dead as substantial. If so you may be disillusioned on this score as the years go by. The trillions you’ve wasted on all this madness will come back to haunt you too. Or rather, their absence will haunt you: the trillions will never come back.

    16. dearieme Says:

      What’s substantial? Here’s one measure and, a useful reminder, it was Slick Willie’s doing – the folly didn’t begin with the feckless W.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM0uvgHKZe8

    17. Mike K Says:

      They were not the least threat to the USA, in fact they were a potential ally in your continuing stand-off with Iran.

      If the truth were known, Hitler was not the least threat to us. He did the UK a huge favor by declaring war on us.

      After Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt would not have gotten a declaration of war on Hitler or a focus on Europe out of Congress or the American people. The only people who cared about Europe or the UK were those who had traveled there and travel was very different in that era.

      The era before fracking and after the 1967 war was one of oil as king and all the world depended on the Middle East for it.

      Saddam was “a potential ally in your continuing stand-off with Iran” until he invaded Kuwait and was very close to doing the same with Saudi. It is very easy to minimize the risk now when it is all over.

      The amusing aspect of this all is how Hitler remains a faustian devil all these years later when Lindbergh was probably correct and we should have let him have Europe.

      The one moral aspect of all this was the Jews but we did not accept any Jewish refugees and Britain shipped the refugees they did accept to Canada once the war began.

    18. Brian Says:

      “unless you are going to count a hole in the wall of the Pentagon and three thousand dead as substantial”
      Um, ok, thanks for the reminder that you’re not capable of being reasoned with.

    19. Grurray Says:

      The hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi children from sanctions was a myth. The figures came from Saddam’s government, who obviously had a lot of incentive to lie. The myth was initially useful for getting European companies and multi-national corporations to circumvent and violate the sanctions. It eventually became a tool for all sides. Bin laden used the myth to justify his attacks against the West. Tony Blair used the argument of saving the children left to sell the invasion. Facts are always in short supply in that part of the world.

    20. PenGun Says:

      Indeed TM, you are not at war with radical Islam. You have been using radical Islam for your purposes.

      The main thrust is to get ISIS to do your dirty work for you. The reason Russia joined in the party was because of this. ISIS is a much more direct danger for them than the US, so they have little choice really.

      This very dangerous game has backfired and really you lose. Iraq you handed to Iran, did you not know that Sadam was all that kept the Sunni minority in power?
      Iran now gets it’s way, pretty well all across the middle east.

      The Sunni states, your allies have pretty well given up on you. You cannot _not_ help the Saudis do war crimes in Yemen, although, I’m sure you would really like to.

      There is far more to war than a big army, as you might be finding out.

    21. Mike K Says:

      PenGun is such a nice example of Canadian hatred of the US. I guess it began when the “Tories” fled north after the revolution.

      Since then, it seems to be an inferiority complex that grew when Canada chose Trudeau and weakness over the World War II image of brave Canadian soldiers.

    22. PenGun Says:

      “PenGun is such a nice example of Canadian hatred of the US.”

      You are delusional. The fact that you have screwed up the middle east big time, does not mean that those who can see this hate anyone.

      I think the US has lost it’s way to such a large extent that anyone following it is a fool. A great deal of the rest of the world can see this too, and are adjusting their priorities. Preeminence is a serious addiction, and there is not much hope for reason anymore.

    23. Mike K Says:

      Nice of you to confirm my description of you.

    24. dearieme Says:

      “The hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi children from sanctions was a myth.” I dare say, but Albright was happy to accept the it and defend it, maybe even to glory in the “very hard choice”. Not quite as psychopathic as “We came, we saw, he died” but perhaps more chilling.

    25. TMLutas Says:

      PenGun – Dirty work implies that we are, indeed, at war with somebody. You don’t mention who.

      I do have to say that it’s strange to find you agreeing with me to this extent. Not very usual.

    26. PenGun Says:

      “PenGun – Dirty work implies that we are, indeed, at war with somebody. You don’t mention who.”

      Well Assad of course. You don’t the CIA/Pentagon believed the ‘good moderate opposition’ was a real thing, do you?

      Assad blocks the Sunni effort to control the area and the Saudis, Qataris and the UAE, among others, dearly want him gone. He also cements the Shia crescent, with Hezbollah on one end and Iran on the other.

    27. Rich Rostrom Says:

      Mike K Says: After Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt would not have gotten a declaration of war on Hitler or a focus on Europe out of Congress or the American people.

      Wrong. Gallup did a poll on 12/9/1941 (after the US declaration of war on Japan, before Germany’s declaration of war on the US), asking whether the US should also have declared war on Germany. About 80% said yes.

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