Bosnia…Libya…Syria

clintoncartoonIn the late 1990s, President Bill “Bubba” Clinton got our country involved in another nation’s civil war.

On August 15, 1996, Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice-President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute and the author of Beyond NATO: Staying Out of Europe’s Wars. wrote a Foreign Policy Brief titled “The Domino Theory Reborn:  Clinton’s Bosnia Intervention and the “Wider War” Thesis.”

Here is an excerpt.

President Clinton’s assertion that the U.S.-led NATO mission in Bosnia is essential to prevent a wider European war is erroneous. Two of the wider war scenarios–Serbia as a runaway expansionist power like Nazi Germany and the prospect that the Bosnian conflict could ignite a continental conflagration just as a Balkan incident sparked World War I–are so far-fetched that they should be dismissed out of hand.

The other two scenarios–that copycat aggressors elsewhere in Europe would be emboldened by a NATO failure in Bosnia and that a Bosnia-style war could erupt in the southern Balkans, especially in Kosovo and Macedonia–have greater validity. But the success or failure of the Bosnia mission will have little impact on such dangers. Conflicts in other parts of Europe arise from local conditions and historical factors, and the belligerents will continue to pursue their unique agendas. War in the southern Balkans would not be a matter of the Bosnian conflict’s “spreading.” The disputes over Kosovo and Macedonia involve different grievances and, largely, a different set of potential adversaries.

The wider war thesis is merely a refurbished domino theory. Not every armed conflict in Europe is destined to lead to a massive war that would affect important American security interests.

…President Clinton repeatedly defended his decision to send American troops to Bosnia by insisting that if the United States and its NATO allies did not take steps to solidify the fragile peace in that country, they would risk the outbreak of a “wider war.” Such a conflict would threaten overall European stability, which is deemed important to America’s own security and well-being. Thus, in addition to any moral imperative to stop the carnage in Bosnia, the United States had no choice but to assume a leadership role to suppress the fighting, lest Europe descend into chaos for the third time this century.

The president used that reasoning in a November 1995 letter to House Speaker Newt Gingrich shortly before the signing of the Dayton accord.

This Administration, and that of previous Democratic and Republican Presidents, have been firmly committed to the principle that the security and stability of Europe is of fundamental interest to the United States. The conflict in Bosnia is the most dangerous threat to European security since the end of World War II. If the negotiations fail and the war resumes, as it in all probability would, there is the very real risk that it could spread beyond Bosnia, and involve Europe’s new democracies as well as our NATO allies. Twice this century, we paid a heavy price for turning our backs to conflict in Europe.

Secretary of State Warren Christopher had made a similar argument earlier, contending, “Twice in this century we have had to send our soldiers to fight in wars that began in Central Europe.” On another occasion he insisted that unless the Dayton peace accord succeeded, the Bosnian conflict could someday involve “the rest of Europe.” James Steinberg, director of policy planning at the State Department, was equally apocalyptic. “Without U.S. leadership in Bosnia, we would face the imminent danger of a widening war that could embroil our allies, undermine NATO’s credibility, destabilize nearby democracies, and drive a wedge between the United States and Russia.”

The president and his advisers tend to be vague, how-ever, about how the bloodletting in Bosnia could lead to a wider European war. Proponents of the U.S.-led peace enforcement mission act as though that danger were self-evident, but a careful examination suggests that most of the wider war scenarios are implausible.

That conclusion has important implications beyond the administration’s Bosnia policy, for the assumption that small conflicts will usually lead to larger ones is a crucial premise underlying Washington’s global network of security commitments. A proactive U.S. policy (including a military presence) in such regions as Europe, East Asia, and the Persian Gulf is supposedly essential because it preserves stability and makes any armed disruption less likely. Without that stabilizing U.S. role, the argument goes, there will be a proliferation of minor conflicts, any one of which may ignite a regional war that will entangle the United States. But if the wider war thesis is invalid with regard to Bosnia, serious questions ought to be raised about its validity elsewhere–indeed, about the intellectual foundation of America’s overall security strategy.

Current United States President Barack Hussein Obama, already made history repeat itself, by getting us involved in the civil war in Libya, which led to a Radical Muslim government being installed, and eventually, 4 brave Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, being savagely murdered.

Now…it appears that Obama is about to double down…

The Daily Caller’s Ariel Cohen reported yesterday that…

The White House said Friday it does not plan to send U.S. troops into Syria, despite offering aid to rebel groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

“Nobody has asked us to [go into Syria]. The Syrian opposition does not think that it’s a good idea,” Ben Rhodes, current Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication, said during a White House press conference Thursday evening. ”We certainly don’t think it’s in our national interest to send U.S. troops.”

The White House distinguished their actions in the Middle East from those of the previous administration’s, expressing a reluctance to enter a scenario similar to the 2003 Iraq War.

“We need to be humble here about our ability to solve the problem in Syria,” Rhodes said. “I think recent history teaches us that even when you have U.S. troops on the ground, you’re not necessarily going to be able to prevent violence amongst civilian populations. We saw that in Iraq, for instance. And at the same time, when U.S. troops are on the ground, that involves us in a much more dramatic way of making us the issue instead of the interest of the country where we are.”

Instead of sending U.S. troops into Syria, Obama plans to help opposition groups on the ground.

“Our stated national policy is for Bashar Al-Assad leave power,” Rhodes said. “It is our preference that this be done politically, but we are going to continue supporting those in Syria who are working for a post-Assad future.”

Rhodes said that the best course of action in Syria is to strengthen a “moderate opposition that would be able to represent the broader Syrian public” by providing aid to the rebel groups, but the administration has yet to comment on the specifics of the aid.

“While I understand the interests, we’re just not going to be able to get into that level of detail about the type of resistance that we provide,” Rhodes said.

“I’m not going to be able to inventory the types of support that we’re going to provide to the [Syrian Military Council], but I’d point to my previous answers — suffice it to say that a decision has been made about providing additional direct support to the SMC to strengthen their effectiveness,” Rhodes said. “This is more a situation where we’re just not going to be able to lay out an inventory of what exactly falls under the scope of that assistance, other than to communicate that we have made that decision.”

Critics opposing U.S. involvement in Syria claim that the White House can never be completely sure who receives American aid within the rebel groups — or how they will use it.

“It is unclear what national security interests we have in the civil war in Syria,” Kentucky Republicans Sen. Rand Paul wrote in a CNN.com piece warning against American intervention in the Middle East. “It is very clear that any attempt to aid the Syrian rebels would be complicated and dangerous, precisely because we don’t know who these people are.”

As I first reported in May, there is just one problem with arming these “Freedom Fighters”. It’s the same “problem” that we faced in Libya.

BBC.co.uk reported the following on April 10th…

The leader of the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist group fighting in Syria, has pledged allegiance to the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani said the group’s behaviour in Syria would not change as a result.

Al-Nusra claims to be have carried out many suicide bombings and guerrilla attacks against state targets.

On Tuesday, al-Qaeda in Iraq announced a merger with al-Nusra, but Mr Jawlani said he had not been consulted on this.

Al-Nusra has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the US.

Debates among Western leaders over whether to arm Syria’s rebels have often raised the concern of weapons ending up in the hands of groups such as al-Nusra.

“The sons of al-Nusra Front pledge allegiance to Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri,” Mr Jawlani said in a recording released on Wednesday.

But Mr Jawlani said al-Nusra had not been consulted on the merger with al-Qaeda in Iraq and insisted his group would not change its stance in Syria.

The al-Nusra statement assured Syrians that the “good behaviour” they had experienced from the front on the ground would continue unchanged, the BBC’s Jim Muir reports from neighbouring Lebanon.

Mr Jawlani said that the oath of allegiance to Zawahiri “will not change anything in its policies”, our correspondent adds.

In his biography, “The Audacity of Hope”, written by Bomber Bill Ayers, Obama says that,

I will stand with them [Muslims] should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.

That ugly direction is the Middle East…again.

Until He Comes,

KJ

 

2 thoughts on “Bosnia…Libya…Syria

  1. Everything will be alright, McLame has briefed the obamanation on who our friends are in Syria. With their leadership, our weapons won’t fall into the wrong hands…

    Like

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