Reese Neader I just did. And I was already familiar with it. And you're obviously hostile to U.S. involvement in Africa if you equate, "providing a security environment conducive to good governance and development" with implicit government-backed support for U.S. corporate resource extraction on the African continent. I don't argue that traditional forms of development have failed and that the U.S. should redirect foreign assistance towards business development and capacity building, but to argue that the Chinese have a better model of development or that that the U.S. government currently and overtly supports resource extraction in Africa are unfounded opinions.
Reese Neader Ha yea of course I read it. You don't cite your claims either. Find me a credible source that claims the mission of AFRICOM is to support American corporate resource extraction in Africa.
Reese Neader I think the author doesn't realize that in many cases the African jobs created through Chinese investment are dwarfed by the jobs the Chinese are taking away from Africans in the service sector and the Chinese are building infrastructure to engage in the same resource extraction operations that Western companies engage in. Also, anyone who refutes the connection between democracy and development shouldn't be taken seriously. The Asian economic miracle wouldn't exist without Western consumption of cheap consumer products...if this author believes in the power of global trade then they have to acknowledge the global liberal order, constructed and administered by democratic states, as the protector and facilitator of that system.
Reese Neader The definition of open warfare: any overt and demonstrative combat employing conventional forces and legitimate resources, as opposed to covert or clandestine operation. "Surgical strikes" are still public. When U.S. drones strike in Somalia or Yemen, we are using conventional forces and we acknowledge their use. In diplomatic terms, that makes us responsible for violating another country's sovereignty. It ramps up the game. If we bomb Iran we will have directly (and openly) violated their sovereignty. This is is oppose to the covert operations that Mossad and the CIA have been carrying out against the regime for years. Conversely, Iran has engaged in covert military action against us, funding and arming resistance in Iraq and (its speculated) Afghanistan. A public bombing campaign escalates the conflict.
Reese Neader I missed that, George. But you're stating a position that I've never supported....I don't think that bombing Iranian facilities will necessarily lead to war. I just think its a bad idea. Your comment is "inaccurate". All I said was that waging OPEN war with Iran is not in our national interest. We've been waging a covert war with Iran for years. Its in our interest to hold the status quo and keep choking out the regime without unnecessarily escalating the conflict beyond our ability to control it. See my article: http://www.policymic.com/articles/3570/president-obama-should-resist-calls-for-war-with-iran-and-continue-to-use-sanctions
Reese Neader Duly noted, and thanks for the clarification, Dr. Hammes. I would be interested then as to why you cannot comment on your article, but no reply is necessary. Thank you for your commentary and for your service.
Reese Neader It would also be wrong to assume that he would be permitted to be published publicly before clearing it. You're absolutely right, the Pentagon is not a monolith. No organization is because organizations are made up of individuals. I'm sure there are a lot of folks there that would welcome war with Iran just as there are a lot of folks who wouldn't. But the fact he could publish this and then not be permitted to comment is notable because it signals he cleared the publication of the article. The Pentagon is not a democracy and if they choose to allow public comment on an issue its because there is bureaucratic (political) support for the comment.
Reese Neader Its very interesting to note that Dr. Hammes represents the National Defense University and is being allowed to publish an opinion piece on engagement with Iran. It demonstrates that the Pentagon is completely removed from the public affairs brinksmanship being waged on the matter between the governments of the U.S., Europe, Iran, Russia, and China and is keen to tone down the potentially harmful rhetoric. The Republicans, in a shallow election year ploy, have been baiting Obama to toughen his stance and opportunists in the media have been playing up a false divide between the U.S. and Israel. But in reality, as Dr. Hammes points out, waging OPEN war with Iran is not in our national interest. Its wise of the DOD to recognize that public perception urgently needs to be brought back into focus.
Reese Neader FDR: Four Freedoms. Check it out. Agree with it or not, but I think as the author of the liberal global order and hegemonic power of the international system we owe it to ourselves and the world to be a moral actor. I'm not talking about how "it is", Michael, I'm talking about how it "should be".
Reese Neader Hey Michael, I read the article and it was part of my inspiration for writing this. You'll note that I reference Turkey. And if I was going to make the article longer, and talk about geopolitics, I would've better articulated suggested strategy(ies) for intervention . Like with any conflict there are dozens of ways to approach this...and if/when intervention does happen I'm sure they'll be some surprises. For example, who expected Qatar to take a prominent role in the Libyan War? Thanks for the insightful comments.
Reese Neader First, I don't want the U.S. doing this. I want an international coalition doing this. But yes, but "freedom" was also part of the narrative for World War II. And if we look to the Korean Peninsula we can see the difference between freedom and servitude. The U.S. has definitely made strategic and tactical mistakes in foreign intervention, but regret from past mistakes can't cloud our obligation to the present. Do you think the international community has the responsibility to protect people whose government is waging war against them? And if not, why?
Reese Neader Thanks for giving me another read, Douglas, I appreciate the fair hand. Yes, I do mean that inaction is perceived as implied support for the Assad regime...especially to the people who are going to eventually topple the regime. I also want to stress again that my call for the U.S. to intervene is absolutely grounded in the support from a strong international consensus and the Arab League. Critiques against the U.S. playing "global cop" are justified...we need to share the cost of global security as equally as possible with our allies. But that doesn't negate the fact that (for good & bad) the international community looks to the United States for leadership. So any international intervention is (for good & bad) going to demand U.S. presence
Reese Neader Evidence? Nobody contests that the vast majority of Middle Eastern countries are controlled by authoritarian regimes. Look at any internationally-recognized index that measures "freedom", such as the "Press Freedom Index". Then you can check the past 25 years of records from the State Department's list of regimes that sponsor terrorism. Hezbollah & Hamas are openly supported by Syria & Iran. And the Arab Spring has proven the vulnerability of these regimes to collapse. I don't advocate the U.S. leading the way: "The U.S. should work as a “super-partner” to forge a coalition of European and Arab allies that will assume leadership and responsibility for engagement with Syria"; also note that I say we should use Libya as a model for engagement
Reese Neader 1. Further isolating Iran 2. Choking off Hamas & Hezbollah 3. Ending Syrian domination of Lebanon 4. All of which secure Israel's borders 5. Supporting the Arab Spring. Read conservative scholars like Huntington and Fukuyama and see what they say about promoting democratization as a key strategy for U.S. national security. 6. Ending the Assad regime's ability to export WMD technology to other rogue states like Iran and North Korea
Reese Neader 1. I would hazard to make the guess you think its good that the American system is infused with Judeo-Christian values, but that you think infusing Arab governance with Islam is bad. That's hypocritical. Yes, Islam will influence Islamic Democracy. Thats OK. 2. the War in Libya only set a precedent for you (and conservatives) because you want to vilify Obama. Congress hasn't declared war since WWII. The imperial presidency has been around since even before you were born. 3. You do realize the U.S. dollar is the global reserve currency (making it imperative that we generate debt to fuel global economic growth) and that our comparative level of debt is low compared to other developed countries without that privilege? 5. BALDERDASH?
Reese Neader I used "responsibility to protect" intentionally, so thanks for catching on to that, Alex. You're definitely right: R2P is still evolving. And I think that humanitarian crises in Libya, and now Syria, are laboratories for testing that idea. When/how/should convenience give way to a new norm? I'm arguing that it should. Lynch makes good points, thanks for your comment, Alex.
Reese Neader Its been less than a year since the Libyan War ended. No one can say with any authority what will happen and anyone who says that democracy is "easy" is a liar. But again, supporting the status quo stability provided by regional dictators is a near-sighted approach that betrays America's values as well as its strategic interests in the Middle East.
Reese Neader Genuine in my convictions? I went to Egypt for the State Department in 2011 to train youth opposition leaders in grassroots policymaking. I put my money where my mouth is. And while I can understand your concern for further American engagement overseas, you're taking a short-sighted perspective on the Arab Spring. You would rather instead the U.S. supports despotic regimes that murder their citizens, fund terrorism against the U.S. and its allies, and pursue WMD programs? And btw the Spanish Civil War ended with Franco ruling Spain with a fascism. Non-state intervention didn't end up working out very well.
Reese Neader You're definitely right, George. I was just using some rhetorical flourish to get the point across. Policymakers should always use values to infuse and guide their actions, but always consider the interests of their country, as well as the geopolitical environment they are operating in, before taking action.
Reese Neader It has everything to do with Liberalism, Robin. Her generational critique is from an elite perspective. The broken promises she laments were never extended as possibilities to the vast majority of this country's citizens. And if you haven't noticed, lots of people in this country on the Right and Left are getting very angry about not having the power to control their lives. Its insulting to hear someone born with so much privilege whine about their lack of success and trivialize the problems of 99% by lamenting the shattered dreams of an elite upbringing and alluding to "ski bumming" as some form of social hell. And she chose to put her concerns into a public forum so no, she doesn't deserve a break. This isn't a self-help site.
Reese Neader Hey Audrey, I grew up in a trailer park in Appalachian Ohio, and like most everyone else that I grew up never really expected to go to A college, let alone a nice college. In school most of us spent our time either embracing or hiding from a culture of drugs and violence born from a hopelessness in our futures. When we graduated high school we didn't have health insurance to fall back on. We took 1,2,or 3 jobs to support ourselves making minimum wage. No one told us growing up that we were "winners". And we didn't have beanie babies. You act like you speak for a generation but you have no idea how the 99% lives and thats whats wrong with Liberalism in this country today.
Reese Neader You make a valid point, Todd. Sanctions do hurt the lives of ordinary Iranians. Sanctions are a blunt instrument of economic diplomacy and they usually always punish the citizens of a country more than their leadership. But the sanctions we've used in Iran have specifically targeted Iran's Revolutionary Guard, nuclear program, and oil exports. That has ripple effects through their economy, but only because Iran's economy is heavily state-controlled. And will the Green Revolution retake Iran? No one knows. But with what's happening across the Middle East right now, especially Syria, I would say its a waiting game for when, not if, Iran will experience deep political changes.
Reese Neader Brad raises an excellent point: the Iran and U.S. are not operating in a vacuum. U.S. relations with Iran are highly complex always need to be contextualized within the broader interplay of the international community.