There is no Strategy Behind Trump’s War, Just Brute Force

Hits: 144

These are awesome days for headline writers. So many global settings, such an abundance of weapons, such a wealth of choices!

On the morning of April 14, the New York Times led with “A Giant U.S. Bomb Strikes ISIS Caves in Afghanistan,” matched by CNN’s “US Drops ‘Mother of All Bombs.’” The Washington Post chose Syria, where “Errant U.S. Strike Kills 18: Victims in Syria Were Allied Forces.” By mid-afternoon that same day, the Associated Press had shifted to the horn of Africa, where the “U.S. Sends Dozens of Troops to Somalia, 1st Time in Decades.”

And as the Friday rush hour began in Washington, Fox News opted to head to the north Pacific, leading with an aircraft carrier: “The ‘Powerful’ USS Carl Vinson Steams Towards North Korea.”

A few days earlier the most popular choices were various versions of CNN’s “U.S. Launches Military Strike Against Syria.” (That headline described something new only because the strike officially targeted a Syrian government military site, while ignoring the not-so-new reality that the U.S. has been attacking alleged ISIS targets in Syria with drones, bombing raids, and special forces for almost three years.)

A couple of weeks before that, coverage of the Trump wars focused on a devastating U.S. airstrike on Mosul, which a Los Angeles Times headline described as “One of the Deadliest Attacks on Civilians in Recent Memory.” And just before that, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism highlighted “Nine Young Children Killed: The Full Details of Botched U.S. Raid in Yemen.” (No headlines, however, told the full story of the U.S. role in Yemen. That one might’ve read “U.S.-Backed Saudi Bombing Has Killed Thousands, Worsened Famine Facing Millions in Yemen.”)

Around the globe, as these headlines testify, Donald Trump has been cavalierly deploying troops and weapons, claiming such military actions are designed to send political messages.

He’s threatened a preemptive strike against North Korea, considered a major escalation in Yemen, and turned loose his military commanders to bomb wherever, however, and with whatever they choose, weakening even further the already insufficient restrictions Obama had put in place to try to minimize civilian casualties. Deaths of civilians under both U.S. drones and conventional airstrikes have escalated.

For those who thought that military restraint was part of Trumpian isolationism, think again.

Raw Power

Not one of these actions was necessary. Not one will make people in this country — let alone the Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Somalis, or others — any safer. Neither was any of these actions sanctioned by Congress: All violated the War Powers Act, and indeed the Constitution itself, which puts the power to declare war in the hands of the people’s representatives.

Furthermore, not one of them fulfilled the minimal United Nations Charter requirements for the legal use of military force — either Security Council authorization or immediate self-defense. Thus they all violated international law.

And even beyond the illegality, not one could claim a strategic, legitimate, or moral justification.

Of course, the U.S. has been at war in various combinations of Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya and Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and beyond since George W. Bush declared the global war on terror just after the 9/11 attacks of 2001. In some of these countries, the U.S. was at war even before that. But Trump’s actions represent major escalations in every one of those devastated nations. According to the British human rights monitor AirWars, well over 1,000 civilians may have been killed by U.S.-led forces just in Iraq and Syria in March alone, the highest monthly total they’ve ever tracked.

What we see in these attacks is not a strategy, but a new way of communicating raw power.

How does it work? Instead of sending diplomats to help get all warring parties involved in negotiations, you drop the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat on one of the world’s poorest countries. Instead of supporting UN efforts to create incremental ceasefires, you send special forces. Instead of investing money, time, and high-level attention to help shift regional conflicts from the battlefield to the negotiating table, you send armed drones to drop more bombs.

And, of course, instead of increasing funding for diplomacy, you strip 29 percent of the State Department budget, and nearly zero out humanitarian aid, and hand it all over to the Pentagon as part of a $54 billion increase in military spending.

None of this is in service of any actual policy, just a unifying theme: War trumps diplomacy. Bullies rule. It’s a shock-and-awe attack — many shock-and-awe attacks, actually — to drive home a message aimed not only at troops on the ground or militants holed up in a cave, but also at the populations as a whole, across Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen, and beyond. The goal seems to be ensuring that no question remains as to where and with whom the ultimate power resides.

It’s also a message to a domestic audience here in the United States, designed to shock if not surprise: The bully in the White House is calling the shots.

Invigorating the Peace Movement

The question now isn’t what Trump — or the generals and billionaires filling his cabinet — will do next. It’s what will we do next, as opponents of these wars?

In short, we need to integrate opposition to these wars into the very core of the movements already rising so powerfully against racism, for women’s and LGBTQ rights, for climate and economic justice, for Native rights, for immigrant rights and refugee protections, for Palestinian rights, and much more.

We know that some approaches from earlier efforts are needed once again. Building ties with and privileging the voices of people facing the consequences of U.S. actions, dying under the bombs or reeling under brutal sanctions, remain crucial. Lifting up anti-war veterans provides entre to important new audiences. Reminding people of how U.S. wars are too often fought for resources — as well as for the expansion of power, for military bases, for regional and global domination, and how racism informs all of Washington’s wars — are all key to popular education.

What we do know is that everyone — from Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Somalis, and Yemenis to those of us in this country — needs diplomacy to win out over war. We’ve faced wars for decades now, but we’ve also had some victories where negotiations triumphed over force — in Cuba, in Paris at the climate talks, and most especially in the Iran nuclear deal.

We know what diplomacy looks like, and we know how to fight for it.

We’ll need new strategies, new tactics — but we continue to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. Our country is waging war against peoples across the globe, indeed waging war against the earth itself. But we are still here, challenging those wars alongside those who guard the earth, who protect the water, who defend the rights of those most at risk.

The great historian Howard Zinn reminds us of it all: Our country’s history began in the genocide of indigenous nations and the enslavement of Africans brought here in chains. But from that beginning it also became a country of people’s movements against genocide and slavery, against racism and misogyny and Islamophobia, of movements for justice, for internationalism, and yes, for peace.


Originally published on 2017-04-20

About the author: Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Her most recent book is Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror: A Primer.

Source: Counter Punch

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
Criticizing Israel Unrelated to Anti-Semitism
Calling criticism of Zionism and Israel anti-Semitic turns truth on its head. One has nothing to do with the other. Anti-Semitism reflects hostility or discrimination against Judaism as a religion. Israel is a nation-state. Criticizing its ruthlessness is essential to challenge what’s clearly intolerable. Equating it to anti-Semitism is a bald-faced lie. On Wednesday, proposed House legislation disgracefully conflating the two was introduced in deference to Israel and its US lobby – called the Anti-Semitism Act of 2018. It cites Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. It says nothing about religion, ...
READ MORE
World Conquest: The United States’ Global Military Crusade since 1945
GR Editor’s Note The following article by professor Eric Waddell was first published twelve years ago by Global Research in December 2003 in the immediate wake of the invasion and occupation of  Iraq by US and British forces, with a postscript added in 2007.  The article provides an incisive historical perspective on America’s “long war” against humanity, which is being carried out under a fake humanitarian mandate. Let us be under no illusions as to the intent of the US and its allies. We are dealing with World Conquest under the disguise of a “Global War on Terrorism”.  Michel Chossudovsky, December 24, ...
READ MORE
Washington is Ramping Up Military Confrontation With Russia and China
On November 26 the New York Times asserted that “Russia’s seizure [on November 25] of three Ukrainian naval vessels was the first overt armed conflict between the two since 2014, when Russian forces occupied Crimea.” There was no armed conflict in Crimea and not a drop of blood was spilled. There was no “occupation” because, under treaty, over 20,000 Russian troops were stationed there. Crimea’s citizens have always been Russian-speaking, Russian-cultured and in general pro-Russia. Following the US-sponsored rebellion in Ukraine that went the way the US intended it to go, there was the awkward matter of Crimea which had been part of Russia until, as noted ...
READ MORE
The Jewish Role in the Bolshevik Revolution and Russia’s Early Soviet Regime
In the night of July 16-17, 1918, a squad of Bolshevik secret police murdered Russia's last emperor, Tsar Nicholas II, along with his wife, Tsaritsa Alexandra, their 14-year-old son, Tsarevich Alexis, and their four daughters. They were cut down in a hail of gunfire in a half-cellar room of the house in Ekaterinburg, a city in the Ural mountain region, where they were being held prisoner. The daughters were finished off with bayonets. To prevent a cult for the dead Tsar, the bodies were carted away to the countryside and hastily buried in a secret grave. Bolshevik authorities at first reported ...
READ MORE
The Lie of the 21st Century: How Mainstream Media “Fake News” Led to the U.S. Invasion of Iraq
The mainstream media (MSM) has declared war on alternative media websites labeling them “Fake News” ever since Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump. The New York Times editorial board expressed their frustration in an article calling for the censorship of alternative and social media‘Facebook and the Digital Virus Called Fake News’ which claimed both social media platforms (Facebook and Google) has not been aggressive enough in blocking fake news sites: Most of the fake news stories are produced by scammers looking to make a quick buck. The vast majority of them take far-right positions. But a big part of the responsibility for this scourge ...
READ MORE
Endless War Is No Honor to America’s Veterans
Veterans Day has passed. The annual ritual never changes. Politicians who didn’t serve in the armed services start unnecessary wars, killing military personnel whose sacrifices are then lauded. Officials say these heroes died defending our freedom. That is almost always a lie. Sometimes Washington must go to war. Not often, however. Despite the endless claims that we live in a dangerous world, America is amazingly safe. No other power could defeat, let alone conquer, the United States. Only Russia has a comparable nuclear arsenal, but it would be destroyed if Moscow targeted America. China and Russia trail U.S. conventional military strength ...
READ MORE
President Slobodan Milosevictalking to reporters at the Sava centre, Belgrade, Serbia, in the run-up to elections, Dec 1993., Image: 6033063, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: , Model Release: no, Credit line: Profimedia, Alamy
On March 11, 2006, President Slobodan Milosevic died in a NATO prison. No one has been held accountable for his death. In the 10 years since the end of his lonely struggle to defend himself and his country against the false charges invented by the NATO powers, the only country to demand a public inquiry into the circumstances of his death came from Russia when Foreign Minister, Serge Lavrov, stated that Russia did not accept the Hague tribunal’s denial of responsibility and demanded that an impartial and international investigation be conducted. Instead, The NATO tribunal made its own investigation, known as ...
READ MORE
The Hysterics of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė
The outbursts of anti-Russian rhetoric of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė is certainly very bizarre in view of her curriculum vitae. Dalia Grybauskaitė is a very educated woman. Because of the free education system of the former USSR, she was able to complete her university education at the elite Saint Petersburg State University. She became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1983, some five years before she earned a doctoral degree at the prestigious Academy of Social Sciences in Moscow. It is generally known that not every applicant is routinely accepted to become a Party member. This ...
READ MORE
Croatia Must Not Whitewash the Horrors of Jasenovac
There are horrific realities of history that must not be questioned, distorted or denied by anyone with even the slightest integrity or sense of decency. The slaughter of millions of Jews in the death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Majdanek, Belzec, Chelmno and Sobibor during the Holocaust of World War II falls squarely in this category. So does the fundamental fact that this ultimate crime against humanity was perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its multinational fascist accomplices. Any attempt to deny or to attempt to trivialise or minimise the enormity of this genocide, or to rehabilitate its perpetrators in any way whatsoever, is, simply ...
READ MORE
Western Policy Doing the Bidding of Islam in Kosovo: Destroying Orthodox Christianity
Islamic forces entered Europe from Asia and North Africa in order to enslave, convert, persecute and either completely destroy Christianity or to enforce dhimmitude. Before this process began you had the complete annihilation of Christianity in many parts of North Africa and in various parts of the Middle East it was one long sojourn into dhimmitude, pogroms and massacres. Christianity survived in some areas, for example in Egypt, however, numbers succumbed after Arab colonial and Islamic discrimination took route. Therefore, a complete Islamic inquisition took root in Arabia (modern day Saudi Arabia) and just like the Sunni Islamic inquisition against Buddhism ...
READ MORE
NATO’s “Drang Nach Suden”
During the final years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the US reached a verbal agreement whereby Moscow would allow for the reunification of Germany in exchange for the US agreeing to never expand NATO further East. As history attests, the US shamelessly reneged on its guarantee the moment the Soviet Union collapsed and was powerless to effectively stop it, swallowing up almost the entirety of Eastern Europe (save for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine) and all the Baltic States by 2004. What’s less studied by observers is NATO’s “Drang Nach Suden” (Drive to the South), which represents one ...
READ MORE
Documentary Movie: “Bosnia: Cradle of Modern Jihadism?” BBC News, 2015
Bosnia 2015 Documentary movie: "Bosnia: Cradle of Modern Jihadism?" BBC News, 2015 20 years ago in the civil war in Bosnia, hundreds of Arab jihadists came to join Bosnian Muslims fighting against their neighbours the Serbs and Croats. Grouped into secret fighting units in Central Bosnia, this was the first time in centuries Jihad had been fought against a Western, Christian enemy. Two decades later Bosnia is still reaping the consequences. In the past month ISIS declared the Balkans the next front of Jihad - and in remote mountain villages extremists are flying the ISIS flag. Mark Urban returns to Bosnia and ...
READ MORE
Edward S. Herman: The Srebrenica Massacre was a Gigantic Political Fraud
Eleven Years ago: 11 July 1995, The Srebrenica Massacre First published by GR in February 2013. Renowned author Dr. Edward Herman spoke with John Robles of the Voice of Russia regarding the facts surrounding the Srebrenica Massacre, the pretext for the “humanitarian” invasion of the former Yugoslavia, and takes apart the “official” ; version that has always been promoted by the West. Dr. Herman reveals that there were in fact multiple massacres at Srebrenica, and that the killing of Bosnian-Muslim soldiers at Srebrenica (the West’s pretext) was in response to the killing of over 2,000 Serb civilians, mostly women and children, at ...
READ MORE
Who will Miss Obama?
See who is missing and who is not missing Barack Obama as the US President? Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
Trump, Brexit and the Collapse of the Liberal Order
One of the most confounding aspects of Donald Trump’s election as 45th President of the United States is that in the space of a year – indeed less than a year – a man with zero political experience has destroyed two of America’s most entrenched political dynasties: Bush and Clinton. Just pause on this for a moment, and place it in the context of someone who when he first appeared on the political stage as a candidate for the Republican nomination was met with ridicule and scorn. Consequently, a mainstream media and liberal commentators for whom politics is an exclusive club, ...
READ MORE
Disobedient Hungary: From the Soviet Union to the European Union
CNN recently discovered a paradox.  How was it possible, they asked, that in 1989, Viktor Orban, at the time a Western-acclaimed liberal opposition leader, was calling for Soviet troops to leave Hungary, and now that he is Prime Minister, he is cozying up to Vladimir Putin? For the same reason, dummy. Orban wanted his country to be independent then, and he wants it to be independent now. In 1989, Hungary was a satellite of the Soviet Union.  Whatever Hungarians wanted, they had to follow directives from Moscow and adhere to Soviet communist ideology. Today, Hungary is ordered to follow directives from Brussels and adhere ...
READ MORE
NATO Aggression Reaches for Russian Waters
The recent Kerch Strait incident marks a new low amid the US-led expansion of NATO eastward.The intentional provocation executed by Kiev saw three Ukrainian naval vessels seized by Russia. The vessels were intentionally violating the protocol for passing through the Strait – previously agreed upon by Kiev and previously observed by Ukrainian naval vessels.The extent to which Ukraine was aware of these protocols and the 2003 agreement that put them in place includes entire events organized in Ukraine by NATO-sponsored “think tanks” discussing the necessity to “rip them up” and attempt to assert greater control over the current joint-use of the ...
READ MORE
BREXIT vs. GREXIT – The True Face of Europe
With every day, the true face of Europe mirrors ever so clearer the abject inhumane colonial power that raped and usurped Asia, Africa and South America for hundreds of years, as so well depicted in numerous articles and essays by my friend, philosopher, historian and war journalist, Andre Vltchek. Every day this neo-colonial continent spits out new atrocities. And it’s getting worse. Jean Paul Sartre was right, when he said the US is but a Super-European-Monstrosity. The colonial Europeans, mostly Anglo-French Europeans, are at the helm of this monster-octopus, self-declared empire. They are behind the mysterious and Machiavellian eye on ...
READ MORE
Operation Paperclip: Nazi Science goes West
The bleak truth is that a careful review of the activities of the CIA and the organizations from which it sprang reveals an intense preoccupation with the development of techniques of behavior control, brainwashing, and covert medical and psychic experimentation on unwitting subjects including religious sects, ethnic minorities, prisoners, mental patients, soldiers and the terminally ill. The rationale for such activities, the techniques and indeed the human subjects chosen show an extraordinary and chilling similarity to Nazi experiments. This similarity becomes less surprising when we trace the determined and often successful efforts of US intelligence officers to acquire the records of ...
READ MORE
Brainwashed Nation
The United States is immersed in a political St. Vitus’s dance typical of empires in convulsion. The confident colossus that watched its arch-rival disintegrate from 1989-1991 now has its highest office occupied by a malevolent clown enabled by supporters befitting a casting call for a Hieronymous Bosch panel. The liberal class gnashes its teeth and blames Trump, the Koch brothers, the Tea Party. But the shock is hardly credible. The current political trap befits a country that internalized its own Cold War propaganda campaign from 1945-1991. The unrelenting flow of messages aimed at keeping Americans fearful and accommodating debased our ...
READ MORE
Criticizing Israel Unrelated to Anti-Semitism
World Conquest: The United States’ Global Military Crusade since 1945
Washington is Ramping Up Military Confrontation With Russia and China
The Jewish Role in the Bolshevik Revolution and Russia’s Early Soviet Regime
The Lie of the 21st Century: How Mainstream Media “Fake News” Led to the U.S. Invasion of Iraq
Endless War Is No Honor to America’s Veterans
The “Extrajudicial” Assassination of Slobodan Milosevic in 2006
The Hysterics of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė
Croatia Must Not Whitewash the Horrors of Jasenovac
Western Policy Doing the Bidding of Islam in Kosovo: Destroying Orthodox Christianity
NATO’s “Drang Nach Suden”
Documentary Movie: “Bosnia: Cradle of Modern Jihadism?” BBC News, 2015
Edward S. Herman: The Srebrenica Massacre was a Gigantic Political Fraud
Who will Miss Obama?
Trump, Brexit and the Collapse of the Liberal Order
Disobedient Hungary: From the Soviet Union to the European Union
NATO Aggression Reaches for Russian Waters
BREXIT vs. GREXIT – The True Face of Europe
Operation Paperclip: Nazi Science goes West
Brainwashed Nation
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu