How do you feel when you hear the term military intervention? What’s the first thought that comes to your mind? Do you think of our service men and women that are entering into another armed conflict thousands of miles away, risking their lives for what is often referred to as our “national interest”? When politicians say we have to support so and so ally because “it’s the right thing to do” does it make your neck tense up and your eyes well up when you hear stories of soldiers being killed in those wars over the sake of intervention? If one of your family members were killed in any of the numerous freedom operations that have changed names and been going on for decades, do you feel their patriotic sacrifice was worth the cost?
Often times I question the wisdom of our elected leaders who claim to give great thought before committing our troops and assets to fight for a country against another that causes no direct threat to our own. Sometimes the struggle is internal and involves overthrowing dictatorial regimes in the name of democracy. Vietnam was a classic example of intervening militarily to promote our preferred brand of ideology. The day we left that country was the day the communist controlled north took over the south in quick fashion. All the lives lost on both sides to “stop the domino effect of communism” proved pointless. In a strange twist of fate and seemingly ironic, Vietnam, a one-party communist state as reported on by BBC News is now one of south-east Asia’s fastest growing economies and has its sights set on becoming a developed nation by 2020.
Syria is another example of multi-country military intervention. Now in its eighth year of war, the United States along with Turkey, Israel, Russia, Iran, Syrian Kurds, Rebels, and the Syrian Regime have bombed, shot at and killed each other thru strategic alliances that are interchangeable and fluid. What was originally promoted as the next battleground on defeating Islamic Jihadists against the war on terrorism has now morphed into liberating an oppressed people who have fled the country by the millions, from a dictator who has killed his citizens thru the use of chemical weapons. To President Trump’s credit, he attempted to withdraw the U.S. from the conflict in Syria earlier this year. On January 03, 2019, when asked about his decision, Trump stated “Syria was lost long ago” and there was no reason for the U.S. to remain there. He further, in typical Trump-ease said, “We’re talking about sand and death. That’s what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about vast wealth. We’re talking about sand and death.” I have to say I agree whole-heartedly with his sentiments. Unfortunately, more than four months have passed by from his declaration of removal of U.S. troops and we are no farther away from the land of “sand and death” as we were when we first landed.
When you watch your television news broadcasts and read the opinion sections in the political newspaper columns occasionally you will see a concerted effort across the various mediums that seem to focus on a foreign country and struggles ensuing there. This is usually done as a precursor to shape public opinion and justify potential military action. Initially, a dictator is framed as public enemy number one. The dictator, who may or may have not been an ally in the past is now a force of evil that oppresses his people and often times kills innocent women and children. History is filled with bad actors that ‘rule with an iron fist.’ Once we have determined that the evil dictator needs to be eliminated we preach the moral high ground of freedom and democracy and proceed to intervention.
Saudi Arabia’s new young leader Mohammad bin Salman (or MBS as he is often referred to) was recently accused of ordering the murder and decapitation of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi for the crime of being critical in his reporting of the Saudi Royal family. The United States recently entered into a $110 Billion weapons purchase contract with the Saudi’s. With money like that on the line, one can see why the Trump administration did not push too hard to obtain a confession from MBS or cut off ties. In other words, this dictatorial regime is an ally because it serves the national interest of economic trade and prosperity.
While we are still engaged in military conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria since 2001 the potential for another military intervention has been promoted seemingly overnight over the past few months in Venezuela. The Maduro led socialist regime has seen a spiraling economic decline that has led to hyperinflation of over 80,000% by the end of 2018 according to Forbes.com. Like Syria, but for economic reasons citizens of Venezuela have fled the country en masse over the past few years in search of a better life. An oil-rich country that was at one time one of the wealthiest in South America has since become the poster child of why socialism does not work.
The ideological ‘It Word’ to promote military intervention in the 1950s and ’60s was communism. Communist China and Vietnam are now major trading partners with the U.S. and the world. Another way to look at it is former ideological enemies are now economic allies. The ‘It Word’ for military intervention today is Socialism. If history is any judge of future action, as it repeats itself periodically, we will engage in a military intervention to remove Nicolas Maduro and put in power the preferred political pawn Juan Guaido. The problem is, just like Syria, there are other countries involved that have formed alliances with the Maduro regime to take a stand against our altruistic endeavor. Should we decide to flex our already exhausted military muscle we may see ourselves in another multi-year conflict, one that is much closer to home.
The world is filled with problems. Nations rise and fall. Empires of the past engaged in territorial expansion conquests that over time have proved to be their downfall. When Ronald Reagan left office in 1989 the national debt was close to $1.4 Trillion: today it is over $22 Trillion and climbing. Both parties have contributed to and been responsible for what is sure to be a financial cliff we will be going over due to poor fiscal policy, unfunded social welfare programs and unquenchable thirsts for military intervention. While entering into armed conflicts to stop the genocidal ethnic cleansing actions of some regimes as in the case of the Balkan wars of the 1990s were justified uses of force it makes me wonder why that same action was delayed in Darfur and Somalia. A wise man once said, “If you want to know the truth, follow the money!” If the powers in D.C. push for regime change in Venezuela and you see the price of oil rise and fall, you will know the reason why.