Tag: american interventionism

You Should Be Skeptical of Regime Change in Venezuela

Joseph Perkins | @counter_econ

With the current situation in Venezuela rapidly deteriorating, the United States is seizing the opportunity to do what it attempted to do in 2002: enact regime change in Venezuela. Joined by over 50 other countries, the United States has recognized Juan Guaido, a Venezuelan politician who is challenging the current dictator of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro, as interim president of Venezuela. It seems inevitable that Maduro will be ousted by Guaido supporters who are currently demonstrating in the streets against the current leader. While it may seem like an obvious decision to support Guaido over the current regime, there is no guarantee Guaido will be any less of a despot than Maduro currently is if history is any indication.

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Anti-Trump Hysteria is Turning Democrats Into Warmongers

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

The ghost of John McCain has risen to possess the most unlikely host: the Democrats. Trump’s magical aura seems to automatically turn anyone with a (D) in front of their names against him. This occurs regardless of his policy decision. Orange man is always bad. Doesn’t matter what he did, has done, or will do. Orange man is bad, even when orange man is creating a world where fewer people die.

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Israel and the American-Made Power Vacuum in Syria

Michael Ottavio | United States

On January 21st, Israel announced that they had struck multiple Iranian targets in Syria following a missile attack that was intercepted by Israeli defense systems.  This major escalation follows the beginning of U.S. troops withdrawing from the area at the start of the month.

In a strong message to Tehran, Israel launched wide-ranging strikes against Iranian targets in Syria.  This missile strike came in response to an Iranian surface-to-surface missile fired towards the Israeli occupied Golan Heights.  The Iranian missile that was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system originated from an Iranian occupied area outside of Damascus, roughly 31 miles from the Golan Heights area.

Back and Forth

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the missile strike hit munition storage sites and a military training camp, as well as another Iranian occupied site near Damascus international airport.  Israel has stated that they made Syria aware of the strike and warned them not to interfere, but the Israeli missile strike turned on Syrian air defense systems after they began firing on the Israeli jets carrying out the strike.

All this escalation comes after a very volatile few months and talks of a total U.S. withdrawal from Syria.  According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), this was the “most intense and violent attack against the regime forces and their allies in terms of casualties since May 2018.”  Israel continues to take a hard stance against the Iranian presence in Syria, and now as the last pillar of stability in the Middle East, they must vehemently defend their borders from hostile nations.

Two Powers Collide

The United States is now in the beginning stages of withdrawing their troops from Syria after they once again intervened in a war that was none of their business.  The departure of American forces is going to cause more destabilization, so why did we get involved in the first place? Back in 2017, the American mindset was manipulated with pictures of war zones and deadly attacks. A need for immediate action became almost unanimous.  While it is very unfortunate, people die in conflicts all around the world and there’s almost never a call to intervene. That may be due to the fact that Russia isn’t involved in every other conflict, but they are heavily involved in Syria.

In September of 2015, Russia started a military intervention in the Syrian Civil War,  in which they fully support the government of al-Assad. Then in April of 2017, less than two years since Russia began intervening in the Syrian Civil War, the United States launched its first attack on a Syrian target.  In an ever-growing need to impede Russian imperialism, the United States entered into yet another conflict to oppose the Assad regime.  It would soon become readily apparent this was not a conflict that was going to be quickly resolved by lobbing missiles at an already destabilized area.

Just like the last Middle Eastern country the U.S. got involved in, we launched our first strike under the guise of deterring the use of deadly chemical weapons. That sounds familiar, right?  It’s almost as if the United States didn’t learn its lesson in Iraq when the power vacuum that formed after dismantling the Saddam regime led to the perfect platform for the terrorist group ISIS to gain a legitimate foothold in the Middle East.

One thing is certain we have not seen the end of the violence in Syria, and Iran has shown no signs of backing down. The United States has, once again, participated in the destabilization of an area, leaving before the conflict has been resolved.  By launching this strike Israel has sent a clear message to Tehran that even in the absence of the United States they are not backing down and will continue to oppose all Iranian operations inside of Syria.

As a nation that has been built, funded, and supplied by the United States, Israel is more than capable of handling the situation on their own. The United States needs to learn from their mistakes and turn away from the old imperialist mindset because every single time we invade a middle eastern country it blows up in not only our faces but our allies as well.  We are not the world police, we need to bring our troops home and keep them here.


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Conservatives Must Move Past Donald Trump

By Shiam Kannan | United States

Since his inauguration in 2016, President Donald Trump has governed rather conservatively with bona fides such as last year’s tax bill and the nomination of two originalist justices to the Supreme Court. This has proven popular with conservative voters, and has brought previously skeptical conservative politicians, such as conservative Senator Mike Lee, to see the President in a much more favorable light. Nonetheless, the cold, hard truth remains: Trump cannot be the future of the conservative movement, and American conservatism must move beyond him in order to preserve the values upon which the ideology rests. This may be shocking to hear for many conservatives, given Trump’s record of governance so far. However, when analyzing his effect on conservatism, we cannot only look at his actions as President; rather, we must also take into account his effect on the movement as a whole.

The Redefining of Conservatism

Perhaps the biggest danger Trump poses to American conservatism is the fact that he seeks to redefine it. Conservatism, in the American sense, is built around a core of classical liberalism in the Lockean tradition. It emphasizes natural rights, limited government, and exalts individual liberty above all, while simultaneously recognizing that liberty without moral order is not liberty at all. Put simply, conservatism is merely libertarianism augmented with social traditionalism. Promulgated by such prominent figures as William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, Russell Kirk, and eventually Ronald Reagan, this marriage of social conservatism and libertarian governance, known as “fusionism,” has been the dominant strain of conservative belief in the United States—until now.

In the Trump era, the American right has been taken in a much different direction, embracing populism over ideology and abandoning many of its libertarian roots. Trump’s demagoguery, vitriolic attacks on the American media, troubled relationship with the truth, lack of humility or restraint, and blustering rhetoric all point towards the same conclusion: Trump is no conservative. He is merely the face of a tumor on American conservatism which has managed to hijack the movement, one which values style over substance and has no philosophy, no ideology, and no guiding worldview whatsoever.

The Lack of a Conservative Foreign Policy

Nowhere is Trump’s lack of a conservative worldview more clearly seen than in foreign policy. The most prominent issue that comes to mind is his trade policy. Trump has openly embraced protectionism, which is antithetical to the conservative belief in limited government and free markets. His misguided belief that trade is a zero-sum game is more in line with the beliefs of Bernie Sanders than those of, say, Ronald Reagan. His trade wars, not only with China but also with allies such as Canada, are an affront to the conservative philosophy, which embraces strong alliances and open trade with allies.

However, it is not only in trade policy where Trump flouts conservative orthodoxy. For all his talk of nationalism and his attacks on kneeling NFL players, Trump himself doesn’t seem like he believes in American exceptionalism. Indeed, he has no problem morally equating America with de-facto dictatorships such as Russia. For example, when asked by Bill O’Reilly why he supported Putin despite him being a “killer,” Trump’s reply was shocking: “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” Clearly, these don’t seem like the words of someone who believes that America is a shining city upon a hill, a cornerstone of conservative philosophy.

Trump also rejects conservative principles when it comes to international relations, embracing isolationism over principled leadership. A healthy nationalism, which inspires the people to take pride in their nation, is a good thing and is something conservatives should strive to promote. On the other hand, Trump’s brand of neo-isolationism, masquerading as nationalism, is un-conservative, as it denies a role for American leadership in the world. Instead of affirming America’s unique status as leader of the free world, Trump has turned his back on our allies, even going so far as threatening to pull out of NATO. Trump’s strained relationships with Western leaders, such as Angela Merkel, Theresa May, and Emmanuel Macron, only further emphasize how he is contributing to the estrangement of the United States from the world around it.

This is not to say that Trump should embrace liberal internationalism, give up on his support for American sovereignty, and promote an interventionist foreign policy. But foreign policy isn’t a binary choice. A conservative foreign policy would assert American leadership on the world stage, strengthening bonds with Western powers and maintaining the trust of our allies, while at the same time being skeptical of unnecessary intervention and defending American sovereignty from entities such as the UN. After all, conservatism is the politics of realism, whereas both unbridled interventionism and isolationism are utopian ideologies: the former in its belief that American militarism can solve all the problems in the world, and the latter in its belief that the world can maintain order, stability, and a balance of power without American leadership.

The Lack of a Conservative Domestic Policy

On the domestic front, Trump has fared rather well on policy, but yet again, has failed on principle. While Trump is responsible for many conservative victories, like the tax cuts passed back in 2017, the way he has gone about pursuing other policy objectives, especially regarding immigration, are not conservative in the least. A conservative President would recognize his Constitutional limitations and defer to the Constitution’s mandate of separation of powers. Trump, however, does the opposite. For example, despite lambasting former President Obama for his liberal use of executive orders to circumvent Congress, Trump has had no qualms about using executive power to advance his own goals. Recently, Trump attempted to unilaterally change the rules for obtaining asylum in the United States, barring illegal immigrants from making asylum claims. While it is certainly both reasonable and conservative to ensure that people seeking asylum enter properly at ports of entry, we cannot forget that Trump is not king, and thus does not have unchecked power to make the law whatever he wants it to be. It is the job of Congress, as per Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution, to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization,” and if Trump were truly a conservative, he would respect Congress’s authority as America’s sole legislative body, and pressure them to pass the immigration laws he supports, instead of abusing the powers of his office.

If Trumpism cannot be the guiding philosophy of the future of American conservatism, then what can? Who will the torch-bearer be? We have many options. It could be Rand Paul, the stalwart defender of the Bill of Rights and unwavering fiscal hawk. It could be Ben Sasse, one of the few Republican Senators who are willing to stand up to Donald Trump. It could even be figures such as Ben Shapiro, who are spreading principled conservatism to a millennial audience. There are many principled Republicans who could run for President in 2024, or even 2020 (if we’re lucky), who could take the mantle of the GOP and restore it to being the party of individual freedom, American exceptionalism, constitutionalism, limited government, free markets, and personal responsibility which it has been for most of its history. However, Donald Trump is not one of them, and if we want conservatism to remain a prominent force in American politics, we must reject him as its standard-bearer.


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US Plans to Withdraw Troops from Syria

Jack Parkos | United States

President Trump has recently made the decision for a “full” and “rapid” withdrawal from Syria. The United States is now preparing to pull out of Syria. Currently, the US has around 2,000 troops in Syria, mainly to train Kurdish locals to fight ISIS. The United States still has over 5,000 troops in Iraq, ready to attack in Syria if it is deemed necessary.

The US is involved in Syria mainly for the purpose of defeating Isis, who captured vast amounts of Syrian territory. However, with much of Isis defeated, the US will reduce the presence and leave the rest to US-trained militias. US backed troops have also been fighting Russian backed President of Syria Bashar Al Assad. Syria has been in a bloody Civil War that has lasted seven years, and the US has taken the side of the rebels trying to overthrow Assad. The Russian government has been urging the US to leave Syria.


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