I am not anti-war. I have served my country in places like the Middle East and Africa and do not regret any portion of my service. However, being in environments such as these has allowed me the unique opportunity to see first-hand how the U.S. became involved in these conflicts as well as the unique ability to interact with those that directly made U.S. foreign policy. If the U.S. becomes involved in in conflicts in North Korea and Venezuela, removes their leaders and does not have a clear plan to rebuild, the U.S. will have single-handedly created a platform for groups like ISIS to expand.
This isn’t a party issue. A cursory glance of our recent history of involvement in conflicts clearly indicates that the U.S. doesn’t properly finish what it starts, leaving a string of failed states in our wake. America’s involvement in Afghanistan, particularly our support of the Taliban led to the creation of a “homeland” for Al Qai’da. Our involvement in the Bosnian war led directly to the displacement of the Bosnian mujahedeen to areas such as Chechnya and Dagestan (home to the Boston marathon bomber). The second U.S. invasion of Iraq led directly to the formation of Al Qa’ida in Iraq which became ISIS. Our involvement in Libya has directly led to the increase in power of ISIS in Libya and throughout the Islamic Maghreb.
Perhaps our policy of invade, depose, and figure it all out later is simply part of our culture’s quest for instant gratification.
Dictators such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, and Slobodan Milosevic were not people who should have retained power. However, in removing them, the U.S. created a power vacuum that they never properly filled. Groups like Al Qai’da, ISIS, etc. feed off of the political and economic turmoil left in the wake of their removal. Certainly these individuals should not have remained in power, however the U.S. has a very clear history of not planning properly for what can/will happen when these dictators are deposed.
Trump simply lacks the planning, forethought, and diplomacy to plan for the vacuum that will be left in countries such as Venezuela and North Korea should Trump utilize his “military option” and ultimately depose their leaders. I’m not convinced that China would declare war on the US should we intervene in North Korea, what I am convinced of is that the unknown arsenal of weapons, and potentially nuclear weapons, could end up in the hands of terrorists. Should the U.S. directly intervene in North Korea and depose Kim Jong Un, it would mark the first time that we will have created a power vacuum in a country that may have nuclear weapons. I’m also convinced that China will not allow South Korea (and by extension the U.S.) to control the entirety of the peninsula. This would then spiral them into a civil war which would look eerily similar to Iraq.
Venezuela is essentially a failed state brimming with narco-traffickers and potential terrorists. Let’s remember that just a few years ago it was uncovered that Venezuelan diplomats in Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq, Iran, and Syria were known members of Hezbollah who were issuing Venezuelan passports to known terrorists as a way of facilitating terrorism in Latin America.
Trump’s statements via Twitter do not indicate that he understands the ramifications of what being “locked and loaded” really means. This is not nuke first ask questions later. We live in the age of globalization in which every action has a reaction.
Trump has some of the best military strategists and foreign policy experts at his disposal, but based on his extensive use of the executive order and his propensity to make policy over Twitter, I do not have faith that he will consider the ramifications of military action without political follow through in these two countries. His supporters are hungry for an invasion. Sure, it feels good to invade and take out an abusive and oppressive dictator, but in the words the words of President T. Roosevelt, perhaps it’s better to “speak softly and carry a big (but well thought out) stick” or else we are giving ISIS the potential for larger expansion to Asia and Latin America as well as potential access to nuclear weapons.