Independent Thought on ISIS
Independent Thought On ISIS (A Commentary Around the Insights of Benedetta Berti)
The conflict with the Islamic State (IS) is yet another problem that needs a fresh look from an Independent angle. Benedetta Berti offers insights in this Ted Talk that I believe will aid in building a “Complete” approach that will keep the enemy from (re)gaining steam.
Clarification #1: My Formal Approach for FUTURE International Engagements
For those newly exposed to my train of thought, I’m a Constitutionalist. I believe we are charged by our Founders to focus on providing the common DEFENSE and insuring the DOMESTIC tranquility. My emphasis is securing this land and not the world. That said, I realize there is SOME interplay in providing our defense through International involvement. If I was in charge, I would aim to keep that international exposure limited.
George Washington (Independent) did not try to settle the differences between the French and English. This foreign policy worked well for our founding and would work well today.
That said, I believe in a very strong DEFENSE.
You CAN be for a “Limited Focus” and a “Strong Defense” in the same sentence.
Clarification #2: The Logical Argument for Keeping a Domestic Focus
The vacuum we leave behind after we remove an “Evil Dictator” overseas is ripe for more evil then what existed before. Saddam was one bad man. However, is he worse than the IS terrorists that were created by the absence of a strong dictator? Are we better off without a strong check on Iran that Iraq historically provided?
Khadaffi was one bad man. Is he worse than the Islamic terrorists organizing in North Africa that are executing Christians on North Africa beaches?
The government seems hell bent to use that military machine whenever possible to show who is boss to “Evil Dictators”. However, the questions we ask must change.
A question we need to answer is, ‘Who will likely control the situation when the dictator is removed?’ We need to ask, ‘Will common defense and domestic tranquility be enhanced by our actions?’ We need to determine, ‘What will the balance of power be in the region after the decrease of political power from the removal of the existing regime?’
We need more depth from our political leaders (especially Senators) in approaching international conflict.
I find most conservatives put our style of Democracy as beneficial to the rest of the world. (Clarification: We are a Republic and not a Democracy for the vast majority who are confused).
This is a very prideful approach that fails to account for what works for different cultures and people. What works for Sweeden works for Sweeden. What works for Saudi Arabia works for Saudi Arabia. What works for the USA works for the USA. Do I agree with their approaches? No. However, is their approach to their domestic issues any of my business? No.
I realize for the strength of my own country, I need to leave them alone if they don’t pose a threat to the GENERAL WELFARE of WE THE PEOPLE.
Democrats need to quit trying to make a Swedish approach work for America. Republicans should quit trying to make an American approach work for the Middle East. Let’s focus on a CONSTITUTIONAL American way for America.
The Mentality of Citizens from Authoritarian Regimes
Citizens in authoritarian regimes are oftentimes accustomed to being provided for. They often have a hard time transitioning to a Capitalistic/Western approach. Benedetta picks up this point well. She cites the lack of “providing” as key fuel/opportunities for regimes.
Most conservatives approach problems with a Founding Father mentality (A very good thing for America). To paraphrase the mentality: “Take out the bad guys, and let the people fill in the needs.” This works for those who possess character AND love Liberty/Democracy. Surprisingly, this “Take out the bad guys and leave” has been Obama’s approach as well.
Unfortunately, when you are raised under dictatorship, communism, socialism, etc., the assumptions are different on what one should be providing for themselves. More times than not, subjects formerly underneath these regimes don’t step up and fill needs. They think these needs should be provided by those in power. This is a product of human conditioning.
The reality today is terrorists are filling the needs of people “Left Behind”. They are used to being provided for by former regimes.
If a terrorist is providing vital healthcare for your child and the other half of power provides nothing for your child—who are you going to be loyal to when you do not/cannot solve a problem yourself?
Parties Claims Against Each Other
Both parties’ claims against the other party are correct.
America should not have intervened in Iraq in the first place. A valid claim by Democrats (even though the vast majority voted FOR it) against the Republicans.
America should not have vacated the region in the second place. A valid claim by the Republicans against the Democrats.
Both parties fumbled the ball in Iraq. It is time to move on from the blame game and solve the problem. Unfortunately, bipartisan solutions are not a Democrat or Republican thing.
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Each Party in Foreign Conflict – My Opinion
The Democrats are soft in my opinion in leading the military. They tend to be more prone to mercy then justice. I strongly desire a justice oriented person to lead a force and execute. Our Congress needs to step up and declare a war. We have political cowards in our Legislative Branch. They continue to defer to our weak President instead of owning the direction of engagements around the world.
Furthermore, we need a Commander-In-Chief to see through the mission Congress authorizes (when that day comes). We do not get this decisive leadership with Obama or Hillary. They get manhandled at the negotiating table (take your pick from hostage negotiation to Iran). They cannot accurately define the enemy. They do not lead with decisiveness, strength, or responsibility.
Yet, when the fighting is done, the needs of citizens under authoritarian regimes surface and are left unresolved. Republicans are horrible in answering “needs” of base level citizens familiar with life under authoritarian regimes. Obama, unlike most Democrats, couldn’t solve a legitimate human need if he wanted to. In general, I’m usually looking to Democrats and not Republicans when mercy is on the line at an International level.
America seldom has sufficient plans to meet individual needs affected by war. This comes back to bite us when we have not provided the infrastructure for people prone to a “King”.
Answering those needs often determines whether we will experience regional progress or a vacuum that will create the next world problem.
Ultimately, International conflict is a problem Democrats and Republicans could solve if they worked together. This takes coordination of efforts between people more prone to either justice or mercy. This would take a maturity that different people offer different strengths. Unfortunately, we have both parties that think they are good at everything. Rebuilding an entire society where leadership is removed of people who are used to being controlled takes all talents and mentalities.
Todd—You advocate meeting important needs in Iraq. Why not America?
Let’s be clear. We should never have been in Iraq in the first place. Unfortunately, America created instability. America is going to have to be a part of the solution.
Second, America has a better way to solve domestic problems with a population well versed in “Filling the Gap.” This is where the thinking of what works in Sweden/Saudi Arabia does not work for America. More importantly, this violates the Constitutional charge of “Promoting” (not providing) the General Welfare. This “Providing” the General Welfare has created the biggest financial disaster at the government level that should not have occurred in the first place.
The societal problems at home are what Democrats pound the table to solve. They have identified big problems, but offer poor solutions. Republicans have unfortunately turned their back on problems for the sake of donors and continually fail at drafting a solution (seen a “Replace” plan for Obamacare yet?).
Furthermore, one of the biggest reasons I’m an Independent Conservative and not a Republican is that we need to tackle healthcare, income inequality, and economic progress in a flat, non partial, Constitutional approach designed by our founders. People expressed fear when I ran because I’m a “Populist”. Business professionals like Greenspan (Chief Representative of the Establishment) always matched “Redistribution” with populism. The reality is there is a Constitutional design that does not redistribute but tackles healthcare, income inequality, etc. with a Constitutional approach. This takes adjustments in our monetary approach of which the majority of the GOP base will not tackle due to their donors who provide hoards of cash to the party based on the benefits of drifting from Constitutional design. We can solve these issues for the benefit of all the people in a Constitutional and conservative approach. Favoritism for donors cannot be a part of the process.
We will solve the problem when government AND business elites do not set law over the people. Corporate fascism and Socialism are both inferior outcomes to a liberty oriented Republic crafted by citizens with character. This is why we spiral down with either party in control. This is why we spiral down as an American society without a backbone of conviction. Our government needs to return to creating frameworks and not playing favorites. Our people need to rebuild their moral fiber.
Read James 2 if you think Partiality is “Just the Way it Is” and what America should settle for in legislation dependent on lobbyists who get their way with paid for candidates. Partiality is a sin if you read the “Good” book.
Developing the “Final Plan” for IS
The next Commander In Chief needs to have a frame of reference of what is being asked if Congress wants to engage in conflict. The next Congress needs to fund a “Complete Plan WITH Societal Rebuild” if we want to undertake another war in a land conditioned to an authoritarian/socialistic/communistic bend. I DO NOT recommend this course of action.
Destroying the Islamic State is not a FULL answer. I want to hear a “Complete” plan that understands what has to be built to avoid the next “Vacuum” IS will fill. Until the mission is clearly defined….we are wasting our time, money, and worse yet……blood. It is time to define the mission and enemy.
(Side note: I want Lyndsey Graham on the stage for the next GOP debate. I’m not for Senator Graham but he adds to the debate. His tone is bland but his positions on the Middle East are bold. He takes a strong position for a ground war with ISIS. I want the opinions on the subject drawn out from the other candidates. He offers a decisive position. The other candidates are too indecisive and need a more evolved on the record strategy as Commander-In-Chief.)
Thanks for your time. I hope you enjoy this TED talk. I think she has great material and insights to add to the discussion of a complete strategy.
PS—Here is another helpful TED talk in understanding how organizations of crime/terror support themselves. I think some of the great “Western” insights into these groups come from Italy with stronger historical ties to organized crime.