The Donald applauds Putin’s entry into the Middle East, and the geniuses who invaded Iraq and helped create this whole mess are horrified. What can he be thinking? Putin is not a nice person, and it’s our job to oppose Russia in the Middle East and everywhere else. Because they’re Russians, and that’s what we do. And there’s all that oil that Iran and the Arabs have. If Putin’s the strong horse, he’ll have a say in what happens to it.
The whiz kids who have directed our foreign policy live in a bygone era, when Russia was an aggressive Soviet Union bent on world domination, and we needed Mideast oil. But Russia is once again a Christian nation, a great if diminished power, and we don’t need anybody’s oil. If Putin wants to ensure the survival of his ally in Syria, that’s his business.
The legitimacy of Russia’s great power status needs to be recognized and acknowledged. Accommodation is not appeasement. Realpolitik isn’t weakness. The five legitimate world powers haven’t changed since the Second World War. They are the U.S., Western Europe, Russia, China and Japan. America competes, but will not fight, with its geopolitical rivals. We want trade and good relations with all of them. Conflicts arise, but are peaceably resolved by statesmen.
We won the Cold War because, after the Sino-Soviet split, it was three to one, with China on the sidelines. But that was when there was a Soviet Union out to control the world. Russia doesn’t want to rule the world. Nobody does, except Islamic fanatics, and suicide bombers can’t conquer anything. China has never been all that interested in the outside world. Japan isn’t going to cause anybody any trouble. Western Europe? Please.
Trump understands that Putin is just a Russian nationalist, seeking to regain the influence the Soviet Union had in its legitimate spheres of influence, which includes Eastern Europe. Putin can’t recreate the Warsaw Pact. He doesn’t need to, because NATO is a dead letter, and he knows it. It was a pledge by America to fight a European land war against the Soviets, and was grudgingly accepted by the American people. The Soviets are no more, and neither is the American will to fight. Putin knows that. We pretend it isn’t true. But make believe thinking is very dangerous, and American war hawks need to accept reality. We will not fight the Russians for the Germans, the Poles, the Estonians or anyone else. It’s a European problem, and we’re happy to help. But no boots on the ground. Europe isn’t worth the life of one Nebraska paratrooper.
Andrew McCarthy in National Review Online gets it. Other than a secure Israel, our only interest in the Middle East is killing terrorists. Obama doesn’t have the stomach for it. The next Republican President will inherit a mess. Right now, it’s impossible to say that a police action in the Middle East might not be justified, so long as it was quick, and limited in scope. Nation building is a joke, we’ve learned that much. Get in, kill as many of them as possible, and get out. Repeat, if necessary. If the Russians are still in Syria we might even work in conjunction with them. If not, we could go in with Anglosphere and other allies if they want to come. Forget the U.N.
Trump may be fading a bit, and if his numbers really start to drop he might get out. If so, he can hold his head high, for he will have performed a valuable service. He speaks for the Middle American Radical, as aptly described by John Judis in National Journal. He singlehandedly forced illegal immigration into the center of the national debate, and he speaks for the great American middle in rejecting reflexive hostility to competing world powers.
We don’t want to be overrun by illegals. And we don’t want to send our sons and daughters into senseless conflict. You don’t make America great again by getting into wars.
Good on Trump.