Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Endless war & Tulsi

As usual, I’m putting this up when my thoughts aren’t entirely organized yet. This needs to be edited. I’m trying to organize my thoughts in response to some of the provocative statements that Tulsi has been making recently and evaluating whether I agree with her or want to continue supporting her, in view of the way she expresses herself.

Some of what Tulsi says sounds so strident.  Sometimes I cringe.  Yet, when I look at it in detail, I see that she's right -- even though she's not very measured in how she says it.

First, I tried making a list of endless war examples, regime change war examples -- or CIA regime change

  • overthrowing a popular government in Iran, to install a shah — a shah, i.e. a king, when we fought our revolution back in the 18th century to get rid of kings — oh, and, surprise, then people hate us
  • lengthy war in Vietnam out of fear that they would elect a communist government — dropping napalm & agent orange (NB chemical weapons), killing millions of civilians — basically trying to prevent elections
  • overthrowing an 84 year old constitutional democracy in Chile to install a brutal dictator, Pinochet, again out of fear of an elected communist — oh, but we should bomb the “brutal dictator” in Syria.  
  • taking the side of the mujahideen in Afghanistan.  These people were fighting the Russians because they were right wing religious bigots who wanted, for instance, to keep girls out of school.  Many of those people who we were helping went on to become the Taliban.  The Russians were the good guys there, trying to bring civilization to savages — but we took the attitude that anyone who opposed the Russians must be our friends — NOT
  • taking the side of Kuwait against Iraq when, at the time, Iraq was a country where women had better status than in Kuwait. I don’t think we should ever defend a country that does not guarantee civil rights to women.
  • Invading Iraq and creating a state of violent anarchy there that is still not entirely resolved, because we wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein, who, as it turned out, did not have nuclear weapons. In any case, who are we, the only country who has ever used nuclear weapons, to say that others cannot have them?  And why invade Iraq for allegedly having them, when Pakistan already has them and we don’t invade Pakistan?
  • Why do we keep supporting Pakistan when they harbor terrorists — including Osama bin Laden.  Why, historically, did we not support India, the world’s largest democracy? Merely, because they had good relations with Russia? Stupid.
  • Killing Gaddafi and instituting a state of violent anarchy in Libya — a state that persists today and is a fertile breeding ground for terrorists.
  • Why aren’t we recognizing that these so called “brutal dictators” in the Muslim world are actually trying to improve the lot of women and give their countries more secular mores, while the so-called “freedom fighters” are really religious fanatics?
  • Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia alleges that we started the current war in Syria.  In any case, who are we to judge them if they did use chemical weapons?  We used chemical weapons as well, in Viet Nam. In any case, starting or escalating a war causes more suffering to the people of Syria than whatever the leader was doing.  We’ve contributed to making that country virtually uninhabitable.  Yet, we are not prepared to take in the refugees who have fled the state of war there.
  • And then Trump continues to support Saudi Arabia against Yemen -- and sends our troops there -- a country where women are effectively still property.


I have to conclude that Tulsi is right in saying that we’ve had a failed foreign policy for a long time, under the supervision of both Democratic and Republican parties. 


The photo that was widely circulated of Bush holding hands with the Saudi king is a telling example. We have been unduly influenced by these religious fanatics, out of fear of disadvantage to US oil companies who operate in Arab countries. She’s right to demand that we investigate the influence of Saudi Arabia on US foreign policy.  It does seem to be true that we are often mercenaries for Saudi Arabia out of fear of loss of oil or oil money.  Being mercenaries is undesirable, but still the word "pimping" seems unduly ugly.


I guess it’s understandable, too, how confrontational she is with Hillary. After all, she feels that Hillary contributed to the Democratic Party undermining Bernie. She was warned that Hillary would take revenge on her later. Then it does appear that Hillary is contributing to spreading these Internet rumors about Tulsi being somehow a Russian asset, supported by Russian bots, or repeating "Russian talking points."  Still the words "personification of rot," seem too strong, and to undermine the hard work that Hillary has done in the right direction.


Miscellaneous thoughts:

I do sometimes wonder about why Putin was so anxious to avoid Hillary as president.  Some of my friends think it's just because she was competent and he wants to destroy us. I still think that he read her as likely to actually go to war over Crimea.  Contrary to Trump's allegation that she lacks stamina [of course, he's the one who lacks stamina, as exemplified by $115 million of golf vacations to date], she's actually quite the pit bull, who never lets go or shows weakness. Query: what if she had been elected and gone to war over Crimea?  Would we better off than we are today?  Clearly not. 


I was an exchange student in Russia.  I visited the mass graves where 1/3 of the population of Leningrad was buried, who starved to death during the Nazi blockade -- and the city never surrendered.  20 million Russians died in WWII, but they pushed Hitler back, blocking bullets with their bodies. When the USA entered the war, they had already cleared Hitler out of Eastern Europe and had him on the run.  We were Johnny come latelies. Russians never give up.  They will fight to the death.  They will never surrender.  It will be total war.


Republicans have asserted that communism fell, because of our economic pressure. That's just totally untrue.  The Soviet Union opened up to the west, because Ronald Reagan charmed them.  They don't give in to economic pressure.  They just don't.  They'd rather starve.

****

Where is the open discussion of what would happen if we did lose the ability to profit from Arab oil?  Are the effects so bad that it justifies insane foreign policies?  This discussion has been occurring behind closed doors.

And where are these alleged "Russian talking points" that Tulsi is accused of copying?  What if the Russians have been pointing out that our foreign policy is insane?  Does that mean that we should continue it?

BTW, our historical terror of elected communists was totally misplaced. The communist governments that we disliked -- USSR & PRC -- were not elected, and not responsive to the people.

****

It's interesting that Tulsi seems to garner so much crossover support from Republicans.  It's certainly not due to her politics.  She's fairly socialist, which we normally don't associate with Republicans.

So after all this rambling, I haven't given up on Tulsi yet. 

#tulsi2020 #whytulsi #tulsigabbard

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