I was going to title this post “The Perils of A Simple Mind” but given my post of a couple of days ago, why not go with a part two.
One of Donald Trump’s campaign themes was the idea of ending America’s involvement in endless wars. Iraq. Afghanistan. Syria. We’ve spent the last eighteen years in a never-ending series of wars in the Middle East. A place that defines “quagmire.”
When we first went into Afghanistan, I supported the action because Al Qaeda and the Taliban needed to pay for 9/11. And I thought it was also a place where America could do some good. While dealing with Osama and Mullah Omar and all the rest, we could spread some American wealth and resources around the country and maybe, just maybe, end the decades of tragedy that have existed in that country.
Then I read The Places in Between by Rory Sparrow and I realized how hopeless such a dream was. Then I watched as the Bush Administration completely screwed up the intervention and then got distracted by a needless war in Iraq, and I lost hope that we could actually do the right thing in that part of the world.
So, yes, we need to stop these endless wars. These conflicts that drain our resources and lead to the death of our soldiers. I support this wholeheartedly.
But, it has to be done wisely. With consideration for the consequences.
And here is why I simply cannot support Trump’s efforts in these areas. He views the only objective as ending the endless wars, of getting American troops home, and letting others fight their own fights. He appears to believe the only thing that matters is if he can get American troops home. He is a man of simple mind.
In a complicated world, every time we put troops somewhere, every time we join forces with somebody else, every single thing we do on the international stage has layers of entanglements and complications. It is just not as simple as “bring the troops home.”
When we abandon Syria and our Kurdish allies, we not only leave them to be slaughtered by the Turkish military, we also tell other allies that we cannot be trusted. If we just cut and run in Afghanistan, we leave a vacuum that our enemies will fill. If our only objective is to bring American troops home, we leave the world stage to be dominated by our enemies.
This is a thing I’ve struggled with for decades. I am, on some level, an isolationist. I would prefer a world in which we were not the world’s policeman. A world in which we take care of ourselves first — which, yes, there is a whole lot of that which needs to be done. A world in which other countries bear the burden of their own battles. I am so tired of our country bearing the cost, both financially and in lives, for the world’s battles.
But … we live in a complicated world. We have, for decades now, taken on this role. So, it’s not so easy to just … withdraw. We can’t do that. So, we have to be careful and thoughtful and respectful and introspective, and we need to consider the consequences of our actions.
And these are the things that Donald Trump is simply incapable of. Careful? Yeah, right. Thoughtful? Umm, no. Respectful? Please. Introspective? Hah! Consider the consequences? Oh please. I got the troops out, what else should anybody else care about? That’s his response. he seriously is surprised that people, both Republicans and Democrats, are outraged at his actions in Syria.
Because he is a man of simple mind and doesn’t recognize the complexities of the modern world and that these things require more thought and more consideration than what he in his, great and unmatched wisdom (which is uninformed, uneducated and self-centered), is remotely capable of.
We are in the midst of an experiment in chaos and narcissism. I’m not liking the results.