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

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!
Albert Einstein’s 1948 Letter to the New York Times Comparing Israeli Politicians to Nazis
Albert Einstein’s 1948 letter to the New York Times If we want to understand the real history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, we can turn to a trustworthy Jewish source: Albert Einstein. Einstein was a humanitarian and peace activist, in addition to being one of the greatest scientists of all time. What did this extremely intelligent, wonderfully wise and warmly humane Jew have to say about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians? In a landmark open letter to the New York Times in 1948, Einstein clearly and candidly explained why Israel’s militant Zionist leaders were not to be trusted and did not deserve money ...
READ MORE
Democracy
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.   Save Save
READ MORE
“Making America Great Again” by Reducing the World to Ashes?
“In the event of a nuclear war, there will be no chances, there will be no survivors – all will be obliterated… nuclear devastation is not science fiction – it is a matter of fact. The world now stands on the brink of the final abyss. Let us all resolve to take all possible practical steps to ensure that we do not, through our own folly, go over the edge.” Former First Sea Lord, Lord Louis Mountbatten (1900-1979) Strasbourg, 11 May 1979.” As US threats ratchet up towards North Korea, the latest hinging on the accusation that the country attempted a ...
READ MORE
The 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre? What Massacre?
The truth is that no government will allow a protest to go on endlessly to the extent that it begins to destabilise the country and economy. — Wei Ling Chua, Tiananmen Square “Massacre”?: The Power of Words vs. Silent Evidence, 100. Last Sunday, I was with an American gentleman in downtown Chengdu, Sichuan, and during our conversation he mentioned that his Chinese wife had never heard of the Tiananmen Square massacre. I proposed that it is because it never happened, that it is a western media campaign of disinformation, and why should the Chinese media permit the dissemination of lies. In fact, ...
READ MORE
Have You been Brainwashed about Gaza?
It’s frightening. Unprincipled psychologists, in the service of a malignant regime, use sophisticated techniques in order to control the mind of a person from afar. The term “brainwashing” was born in 1950. It is a Chinese word (“xinao”, literally wash brain). Originally it served to describe a technique used – so it was claimed – by Chinese masterminds to manipulate the minds of American prisoners in the Korean War. They changed their unconscious mental processes and turned them into agents of sinister forces. Many books and movies purported to show how this works. For example, the classic film “The Manchurian Candidate” shows ...
READ MORE
The Sabra & Shatila Massacre
On September 16, 1982, Christian Lebanese militiamen allied to Israel entered the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila and the adjacent neighborhood of Sabra in Beirut under the watch of the Israeli army and began a slaughter that caused outrage around the world. Over the next day and a half, up to 3500 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, mostly women, children, and the elderly, were murdered in one of the worst atrocities in modern Middle Eastern history. The New York Times recently published an op-ed containing new details of discussions held between Israeli and American officials before and during the massacre. They ...
READ MORE
The Anti-Russian Warmongering
I graduated from the exact same PHD Program at Harvard that produced Kissinger and Brzezinski before me. They gave me Kissinger’s old office at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs. I also went through the exact same Soviet/Russian Studies Program at Harvard that produced Brzezinski before me, and passed my PHD Oral/General Examinations in Soviet Politics and Russian History under Adam Ulam and Ned Keenan, respectively. R.I.P. Obama was behind me at Harvard Law School. Brzezinski has been Obama’s mentor and foreign policy guru since Obama’s student days at Columbia. Zbig ran Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign on foreign affairs and defense, and ...
READ MORE
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
This April 4th will be 100 years since the U.S. Senate voted to declare war on Germany and 50 since Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the war on Vietnam (49 since he was killed on that speech’s first anniversary). Events are being planned to help us try to finally learn some lessons, to move beyond, not just Vietnam, but war. That declaration of war on Germany was not for the war that makes up the single most common theme of U.S. entertainment and history. It was for the war that came before that one. This was the Great War, ...
READ MORE
Pearl Harbor Day and the Fantasy of US Victimhood
The United States is indisputably the world’s most frequent and extensive wager of aggressive war, largest occupier of foreign lands, and biggest weapons dealer to the world. But when the United States peeps out from under the blankets where it lies shivering with fear, it sees itself as an innocent victim. It has no holiday to keep any victorious battle in everyone’s mind. It has a holiday to remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — and now also one, perhaps holier still, to recall, not the “shock and awe” destruction of Baghdad, but the crimes of September 11, 2001, ...
READ MORE
Why America is a Dictatorship
America is a country in which dollars count far more than voters do, and that’s what all of the data shows. And that’s a dictatorship by the richest. This kind of country, this kind of country, and this kind of country, get this kind of President. And the rulers blame it on the public, instead of on the billionaires, the actual rulers themselves (the behind-the-scenes rulers). These rulers selected the politicians and offered those to the public to select from in ‘elections’ — and they then blame the public for the choices that the public make, from amongst these bad final ...
READ MORE
The Biggest Threat to World Peace is NATO
On November 8th, Britain’s Daily Mail bannered “NATO tells Europe to prepare for ‘rapid deployment’:” and sub-headed “Defence chiefs say roads, bridges and rail links must be improved in case tanks and heavy vehicles need to be quickly mobilised” (to invade Russia, but the newspaper’s slant was instead that this must be done purely defensively: “In October, NATO accused Russia of misleading them, saying that Moscow had deliberately violated international rules of military drills”). The article continued: Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for the infrastructure update across Europe as NATO is set to overhaul its command structure for the first time since ...
READ MORE
The Spirit of Christmas: War Criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair Banned from the Birthplace of Jesus Christ
First published by GR in December 2006 War criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair were banned for life in April 2003 from the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, widely believed to be the birth-place of Jesus Christ. The ban was announced at the height of the illegal US-allied bombing and invasion of Iraq. Below are the original 2003 press reports pertaining to that decision as well as a subsequent introductory note published by Global Research in December 2006. “The Bethlehem sanctuary issued a ringing reprisal Sunday [April 2003] of the coalition attack, going as far as barring US President George W. Bush, ...
READ MORE
Dysfunction in the Balkans – Can the Post-Yugoslav Settlement Survive?
The political settlement in the former Yugoslavia is unraveling. In Bosnia, the weakest state in the region, both Serbs and Croats are mounting a concerted challenge to the Dayton peace accords, the delicate set of compromises that hold the country together. In Macedonia, political figures from the large Albanian minority are calling for the federalization of the state along ethnic lines. In Kosovo, the Serb minority is insisting on the creation of a network of self-governing enclaves with effective independence from the central government. In Serbia’s Presevo Valley, Albanians are agitating for greater autonomy. In Montenegro, Albanians have demanded a ...
READ MORE
Putin is Defeating More than ISIS in Syria
Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin, a little more than a year ago, in July 2014 were the focus of attention in Europe and North America, accused, without a shred of forensic evidence, of shooting down an unarmed civilian Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine. The Russians were deemed out to restore the Soviet Union with their agreement to the popular referendum of Crimean citizens to annex into the Russian Federation and not Ukraine. Western sanctions were being thrown at Russia by both Washington and the EU. People spoke of a new Cold War. Today the picture is changing, and profoundly. ...
READ MORE
How Corrupt America is
The best reporting on the depth of America’s dictatorship is probably that being done by Atlanta Georgia’s NBC-affiliated, Gannett-owned, TV Channel “11 Alive”, WXIA television, “The Investigators” series of local investigative news reports, which show, up close and at a cellularly detailed level, the way things actually work in today’s America. Although it’s only local, it displays what meets the legal standards of the US federal government in actually any state in the union; so, it exposes the character of the US government, such that what’s shown to be true here, meets America’s standard for ‘democracy’, or else the federal ...
READ MORE
Bosnian Muslim Genocide against the Serbs in Srebrenica Municipality in 1992-1995 (Photo Album)
A Serb from Bosnia, General Mladic, protected Muslims civilians and gave them buses, food and water for to leave fighting zones (as you can see). There was no genocide over Muslim population in Srebrenica like main stream media want you to believe – there was no genocide over Bosniaks because all Bosnian Muslims victims were jihad fighters who had been killed during fight (in war). Even the so called „tribunal“ in The Hague for ex-Yugoslavia admitted that there was no genocide! The President of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s, Alija Izetbegović In Srebrenica, there was a massacre over Serbian civilians: youngest victim was ...
READ MORE
America’s Myth of a Peaceful Nation
"We are a peaceful nation," claimed Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson in an interview with Katie Couric late last year. Carson voiced a view that is held by many in our society. Like most people around the world, we naturally like to think of ourselves as a peace loving country. Unfortunately, the record does not bear this out. It, in fact, indicates something quite opposite: The United States has had a long and bloody history of aggression and war making. A survey of history shows that America has either been involved in armed conflict or conducted some form of military operations during 223 ...
READ MORE
Remember the Golan Heights?
During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Syrian forces had surprised Israel and were fast approaching the edge of the steep Golan Heights, captured by Israel during the 1967 war. It seemed as if Syrian armor and infantry would retake Golan, then pour down into Israeli Galilee. Soviet recon satellites observed Israel moving its nuclear-armed, 500km-range Jericho missiles out of protective caves and onto their launch pads. At the same time, Israel was seen loading nuclear bombs on their US-supplied F-4 fighter-bombers at Tel Nof airbase. Believing Israel was about to use nuclear weapons against Syria and Egypt, Moscow put huge pressure on both ...
READ MORE
Impending Threat to Canadian Democracy: Harper Government’s “Anti-Terrorism Act”
The Harper government’s Bill C-51, or Anti-Terrorism Act, has been in the public domain for over a month. Long enough for us to know that it subverts basic principles of constitutional law, assaults rights of free speech and free assembly, and is viciously anti-democratic. An unprecedented torrent of criticism has been directed against this bill as the government rushes it through Parliament. This has included stern or at least sceptical editorials in all the major newspapers; an open letter, signed by four former Prime Ministers and five former Supreme Court judges, denouncing the bill for exposing Canadians to major violations of ...
READ MORE
The Demolition of U.S. Global Power
The superhighway to disaster is already being paved. From Donald Trump’s first days in office, news of the damage to America’s international stature has come hard and fast. As if guided by some malign design, the new president seemed to identify the key pillars that have supported U.S. global power for the past 70 years and set out to topple each of them in turn. By degrading NATO, alienating Asian allies, cancelling trade treaties, and slashing critical scientific research, the Trump White House is already in the process of demolishing the delicately balanced architecture that has sustained Washington’s world leadership since ...
READ MORE
Albert Einstein’s 1948 Letter to the New York Times Comparing Israeli Politicians to Nazis
Democracy
“Making America Great Again” by Reducing the World to Ashes?
The 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre? What Massacre?
Have You been Brainwashed about Gaza?
The Sabra & Shatila Massacre
The Anti-Russian Warmongering
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Pearl Harbor Day and the Fantasy of US Victimhood
Why America is a Dictatorship
The Biggest Threat to World Peace is NATO
The Spirit of Christmas: War Criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair Banned from the Birthplace of Jesus Christ
Dysfunction in the Balkans – Can the Post-Yugoslav Settlement Survive?
Putin is Defeating More than ISIS in Syria
How Corrupt America is
Bosnian Muslim Genocide against the Serbs in Srebrenica Municipality in 1992-1995 (Photo Album)
America’s Myth of a Peaceful Nation
Remember the Golan Heights?
Impending Threat to Canadian Democracy: Harper Government’s “Anti-Terrorism Act”
The Demolition of U.S. Global Power
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