BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Tag: Afghanistan

13 Interviews that Will Make You Smarter on U.S. National Security & Foreign Policy

Over the last five years I’ve had the privilege to interview some of the savviest thinkers on American national security and foreign policy.

These discussions have covered critical subjects ranging from the global jihadist movement, to Iran, Russia and China, strategic disinformation and EMPs.

Below are what I think are some of the most insightful and thought-provoking of these conversations on such live and all-too-relevant topics.

1) Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Heretic

2) Andrew Bostom, Iran’s Final Solution for Israel: The Legacy of Jihad and Shi’ite Islamic Jew-Hatred in Iran

3) Victoria Coates, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for International Negotiations, NSC for the Trump Administration, David’s Sling [Transcript]

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Reaction to Tarantino’s Anti-Cop, Black Lives Matter Rhetoric Illustrates Virtue of Free Markets and Free Minds

On Monday 11/2, I sat in as a guest again on Newsmax TV’s “The Daily Wrap.”

During the episode, we had the chance to discuss a variety of issues including Donald Trump and Ben Carson’s continued dominance in the polls, the RNC’s botching of the GOP debates, Quentin Tarantino’s siding with #BlackLivesMatter against cops and the market-driven backlash, our nation’s $43 million gas station in Afghanistan and much more!

You can watch the show in full, along with some particularly pertinent clips below.

Full Episode

Trump v. Carson and Current GOP Polls

The RNC’s Bungling of the GOP Debates

Quentin Tarantino’s Clinton-Like Phony “Apology”

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Why America’s Foreign Policy Has Failed, From George W. Bush to Barack Obama, and the Antidote

America’s foreign policy is, and has been driven by fatally flawed, intellectually dishonest premises and principles for more than a decade.

As a result, since Sept. 11, 2001, our goals, tactics and strategies have ranged from wrong-headed though well intentioned, to wrong-headed and ill intentioned. If America continues to fundamentally misunderstand its enemies, let alone honestly define who they are, it risks losing its position as the world’s preeminent superpower, a calamity the likes of which may spell the end of Western civilization as we know it.

President George W. Bush’s crucial first mistake in this author’s view was declaring a “War On Terror.” In announcing that America was at war with a tactic — either due to a genuine inability to identify the enemy or out of political correctness so as to avoid having to identify a foe primarily animated by religion — President Bush’s rhetoric was incoherent at best and obfuscatory at worst.

President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush shake hands during the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas on April 25, 2013. (Getty Images)

President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush shake hands during the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas on April 25, 2013. (Getty Images) 

While designating members of the so-called “Axis-of-Evil” as our chief adversaries was closer to the mark, President Bush nonetheless failed to recognize or refused to acknowledge a central truth we continue to ignore: That we are the enemy of a transnational theopolitical Islamic supremacist ideology that knows no borders whose adherents serve as an ally of, and proxy for international powers with anti-Western designs.

In fact, President Bush explicitly disavowed the notion that there was a link between Islamic supremacism and the jihadist acts that it compels, arguing in the days following September 11 that Islam was a “religion of peace.”

We can debate the merits of this assertion by looking to the Koran and the hadith as well as the theological interpretations of these works by leading Islamic scholars, but this is merely an academic exercise. Whether or not we call Islam a religion of peace, more important is that while there may be millions of peaceful Muslims, there are also millions of believers who are either violent Islamic supremacists or their aiders, abettors and enablers.

The latter group seeks to unite the world under a caliphate governed by Shariah law. Corroborative data on Islamic views not only in the Middle East but in Europe and the United States is readily available for all those who wish to see it.

Bush and those who shaped his foreign policy believed that America could forcibly transform Islamic nations into peaceful liberal bastions, pushing Afghanistan and Iraq forward by hundreds of years in a decade.

Iraq President Saddam Hussein is shown in Baghdad in this Jan. 1991 file photo. State-run Iraqiya television says, Saturday morning, Dec. 30, 2006, that Saddam Hussein has been hanged. (AP Photo, file)

Iraq President Saddam Hussein is shown in Baghdad in this Jan. 1991 file photo. On Dec. 30, 2006, Saddam Hussein was hanged after being deposed by American military intervention. (AP Photo, file) 

The de-Ba’athification of Iraq was done without recognition of the theopolitical Islamic supremacist ideology that reigns supreme in much of the Middle East in general, and in Iraq in particular. It further undercut America’s strategic interest in having Iraq continue to serve as a strong counterweight to Iran, based on the Sunni/Shiite divide between the two nations.

Many of our efforts under former presidential envoy to Iraq Paul Bremer seem to have been undertaken without clear goals, realistic objectives or even sound tactics. Much of the activity on the ground appears to have been chiefly informed by political correctness. Militarily, our troops report being hamstrung by suicidal rules of engagement that gave the benefit of the doubt, and thus the upper hand to enemy combatants. Finally, and most fundamentally, this mission was undertaken without a clear exit strategy.

However noble the aims of those who supported such a policy, and however much blame President Barack Obama deserves for not consummating a status of forces agreement with Iraq upon our departure, nearly $2 trillion — and more importantly the lives of thousands — have been spent “winning” wars and losing the peace, establishing Shariah-compliant constitutional “democracies” in Afghanistan and Iraq, and little else.

Freeing majority Islamic nations from secular authoritarians in order to re-make them as liberal Western democracies, and thus “win the hearts and minds” of those with views anathema to ours sounds great in theory. Yet practice has proven less hospitable.

Under President Obama, America’s war has morphed, with national security leaders – including our commander in chief – intentionally downplaying the size and scope of the threats we face, and denying the true nature of those who pose them, with deadly consequences.

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