The current trope on the left is that “Black Lives Matter.”
The Democrats have an impressive record of genocide, beginning with the abandonment of South Vietnam. The Vietnam War was begun by Democrats, specifically John F Kennedy, who agreed to the assassination of South Vietnam leader Ngo Dinh Diem, who was killed by Vietnamese generals with Kennedy’s agreement.
Now we are faced with a somewhat similar situation in the Middle East. To quote Richard Fernandez, who I have always found reliable,
The collapse in the Middle East feels like Black April, 1975, the month South Vietnam fell. And it should, because just as the collapse of Saigon did not happen in Black April, but in a political American decision to allow South Vietnam to fall after a “decent interval”, so also is the ongoing collapse rooted, not in the recent tactical mistakes of the White House, but in the grand strategic decision president Obama made when he assumed office.
We are about to witness the total collapse of any American influence in the Middle East.
The reason the press has been trying to corner interviewees into “admitting” that George Bush made an error in toppling Saddam Hussein is the need to reassure themselves that catastrophe in the Middle East isn’t really their fault. The constant need to be told it’s not their doing is a form of denial. The more certain they are of their blunder the more they will need to tell themselves that the sounds they hear aren’t the footfalls of doom.
Because the alternative is to admit the truth and accept that to reverse the tide, 20th century Western liberalism has to die or radically reform itself. None of the people who have built political and establishment media credentials want to hear that, but all the same …
We are on the verge of a massive human catastrophe, one that the world has not seen since the fall of the Soviet Union or, in terms of percentage, since the fall of Rome.
In the next few years the political parties of Western Europe and the United States will clamp down hard in an effort to preserve themselves. They will try to square the circle and cobble together a Frankenstein stew of political correctness, repression, dysfunction and temporizing. It will fail, big time and when it does, it will take 20th century liberalism to the trash heap with it.
The challenge before ordinary people is to join actions which will help Europe and North America work its way through this coming episode of psychosis. In general three survivable exits from madness can be attempted.
1. Reforming the system through regular political action in a way similar to how the British went from absolutism to a constitutional monarchy. The old system replaces itself with new parts in a more or less peaceful process;
2. Creating “monasteries” of survival by establishing affinity groups which preserve culture, technology and values from submergence in the wave of chaos;
3. Flight to the frontier. Creating technology that will allow some people to physically escape or hold off barbarism.
Reforming the system through political action is probably the most obvious response and the one people will most commonly use. It means engaging in thankless, often fruitless interaction with the generally dishonest political class, but while it will never deliver as much change as one hopes, it will never be completely fruitless. It does something. Whether it can do enough to help us avoid the crisis entirely remains to be seen. But it should be tried.
I doubt this will be tried until is too late. In the meantime, massive shifts of population will be coming.
The president was never going to defeat ISIS, because that would require what he will not do. Despite the [Washington] Post’s belated exhortations, America won’t come back to Iraq. If Baghdad pulls it together, it will be a minor miracle. But it doesn’t look like it. One hundred thousand refugees are reported on the road to Baghdad, fleeing the house-to-house reprisals of ISIS and running straight into the hands of waiting bloodthirsty Shi’ite militias.
Behind the tide of misery is the Islamic state, now in control of a supply route running from Syria to the Baghdad. “This is a very big threat to Baghdad. If [ISIS] controls Ramadi and Anbar, it gives them a big morale boost,” Iraqi General Najim Abed al-Jabouri told The Daily Beast. “The road between Syria and Ramadi is open, so they can always send more fighters to Ramadi.” The capital, consumed with suspicion and hatred, waits in suspense for the assault, unable to trust itself with guns, unable to unify its strategy. Jacob Siegel of the Daily Beast reports:
The Sunni force to retake Mosul has not been built yet. The force to take back Ramadi exists, but it needs weapons, ammo, and more important, Baghdad’s willingness to trust it enough not to disarm it afterward. It may also need Iran’s approval.
The refugees flows are seen in the massive attempts to flee Libya, now that Hillary Clinton’s gambit has failed miserably.
Deep in their hearts the Washington Post and the New York Times must realize they endorsed Obama precisely because they knew that when this moment came he would harden his heart and refuse to re-engage, except for show. Since this is the plan, the only effective strategy, the only sane thing to do is to accept the liberal gambit and continue it.
The obvious continuation is not to dampen the sectarian conflict, but to exacerbate it to the greatest degree possible. America, like Britain in the Napoleonic age, should adopt the policy of supporting first one side then the other, or preferably both at once, so that the combatants inflict the maximum degree of damage on each other.
To be perfectly fair to president Obama, the weapon of sectarian warfare was originally the brainchild of Abu Musab Zarqawi. Aided ironically by the Iranians, Zarqawi sponsored attacks on the Shi’ite population because Tehran cynically calculated a civil war would loosen the grip of the United States on post-Saddam Iraq. The idea was that when America withdrew Zarqawi’s gang — and Iran — would inherit the carpet of bodies.
By an extraordinary effort of will America beat the civil war back temporarily, cementing it together with the the trust that people used to have in the good old USA , perhaps for the last time in history, forming a coalition in what was known as “the Surge.” But it did not last. With Obama’s 2008 election, it was plain to the wicked and cunning old men in Turkey and Tehran that he would throw it away and that the conflict would continue as soon as he withdrew and they could inherit what was left.
Obama has opened the Gates of Hell.
[T]o be the winner stand back and watch while the Arabian peninsula, Levant and North Africa destroys itself. Take every opportunity to make it worse. Clearly a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented scale will result. Hundreds of thousands are already dead and millions of displaced persons are on the road. That will only grow in scale and number to millions of dead and tens of millions of refugees. Therefore steps like preparing to sink the people smuggling boats, as the EU is doing, are in order.
If you can stomach it, it can work like a charm.
The main problem with this strategy is that Obama may not be able to contain its effects. The growing catastrophe may simply swamp European border controls. And playing balance of power politics is complicated by the fact that nobody will trust America — at least not Obama — any more. The Sunnis rulers have shown a distinct skepticism toward him and are now acting independently.
The coming age will be one of barbarism and turmoil approaching the vision of Thomas Hobbes who described a war of “all against all.” Not exactly the vision proposed by the political left that supports Obama.
President Obama need not have worried about a lack of legacy. He will have a legacy in abundance for historians, if there are any left in the future, as will the liberal project of the 20th century. At best the balance of power game will be as sad and dolorous as the clever machinations of imperial Britain in its heyday, which if nothing else, produced the Pax Britannica or the maneuvering which let Franklin Roosevelt enter World War 2 in time to win and produce the Pax America. At worst it will be worse than we can imagine.
It does add to a certain satisfaction that I am old.
Jay Nordlinger at National Review online adds a postscript from an American Iraq veteran.
Last year when I talked about John[an Iraqi officer friend] with my friend, I casually wondered aloud whether John had gotten out when his city fell to ISIS. My friend looked at me, surprised, and said, “Seriously? He’s dead, man. He’s dead. You know him as well as I do. He loved [his hometown]. He either died fighting or died in the mass executions after the city fell.”
At least some of the South Vietnamese allies got out.