The Cost of World Leadership

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 4, 2018 file photo, a U.S. soldier, left, sits on an armored vehicle behind a sand barrier at a newly installed position near the front line between the U.S-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council and the Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

All who serve their country in the military are heroes indeed, heroes from the moment they put on their uniforms, and even before they go into battle. May they all be blessed and protected.

During the first half of the 20th century, America found herself engulfed in two major wars against very formidable foes. Both wars were won by the United States and her allies in less than 5 years collectively, that is, once America entered into the conflicts, though the number of casualties was staggering. When World War II ended, we were the most powerful nation on earth and during the Cold War became the presumptive leader of the free world. With that, however, also came the unenviable responsibility of “global cop.” Then in June, 1950, without warning, North Korea attacked her neighbor to the south. Because this was viewed as outright aggression, America, working through the United Nations, immediately came to South Korea’s aid. This was called a “police action” by President H. Truman. After approximately three years of heavy fighting, UN forces settled for a stalemate, and a truce was called. Thus, the first military action taken by the UN was over, at least temporarily, but a precedent had been set. America would lead the free world militarily against any and all aggression whether outright or perceived.

Here we are now at the end of 2018, 68 years after the beginning of the Korean War. During this period our country has fought in five major wars and numerous smaller military engagements paying a very heavy price over this period. Out of the 68 years, we have been at war for approximately 34 of them! That’s correct, 50% of the last seven decades has seen America at war in one hot spot after another, hardly a characteristic of a peace-loving nation. During this period, we have suffered over 100,000 dead and over 300,000 wounded. Tens of thousands of our young brave fighters have come home as paraplegics and quadriplegics, with Agent Orange and other manufactured chemicals flowing through their bodies causing serious illnesses and, quite often, eventual death. Untold thousands have come home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which can destroy anyone’s personal life including that of his entire family. To this, we must add the economic cost measured in the trillions, not billions but TRILLIONS(!), of dollars weakening our nation’s economic well-being and causing havoc with our infrastructure. Currently, we have our armed forces stationed in 150 countries around the globe, and hundreds of military bases.

Two weeks ago, President Trump announced the withdrawal of 2000 troops from Syria and has been severely criticized for doing so. His argument is that ISIS has been defeated, so let’s bring our troops back home. There are those who feel that the Kurds, allies of ours in the Middle East, will be slaughtered by the Turks, another ally of ours. Admittedly, I’m ambivalent about Trump’s action; we cannot betray our allies. Yet, to argue that there will be a resurgence of ISIS if we pull our troops out of Syria is to say that our troops will remain there forever because the current situation will simply never change.

As a world leader and as a people who have over a million of their sons and daughters in uniform, every one of them a hero, are we not entitled to a full review of our foreign policy given the history stated above? And regarding the Middle East, should we not give that region our number one priority? It seems as though everyone is attacking our current President as if he’s responsible for all that happened. Here again we need to review history.

Going back for the past 40 years, who among our Presidents has implemented a successful strategy for the Middle East?

 

  • Jimmy Carter tried to democratize Iran, so he pushed out the Shah (Mohammad Pahlavi), and in came the Ayatollah Khomeini. This led directly to the seizure of our embassy in Tehran and a hostage crisis that lasted for over a year!
  • Ronald Reagan came in and with an ill-conceived plan sent a peace-keeping force into Beirut where after only a couple of days 241 U.S. service personnel were killed by a terrorist’s bomb. Under his Administration commercial airlines were highjacked, and passengers were murdered. Americans were then warned that they flew abroad at their own risk as they could not be protected.
  • George H.W. Bush then gave us the first Gulf War in order to get Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait. This war may have been the direct link to 9/11, which in turn took us into Afghanistan where we still fight after 17 years.
  • George W. Bush and the so-called weapons of mass destruction led us directly into the Second Gulf War, this resulting in such a disaster that the entire Middle East may be lost forever.
  • Barack Obama exacerbated everything by withdrawing our troops too early from Iraq which led to a resurgence of ISIS; he also gave us the Benghazi mess. Today, we see untold numbers dead with millions of refugees.

All this, yet it’s Donald Trump who is supposedly erratic and out-of-touch with reality. Again, this nation needs a thorough review of its overall foreign policy, not incessant attacks against a leader who wants to bring our troops back home and out of harm’s way.

Chris Andreas worked for IBM Corp. for a quarter century; then for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for 18 years before retirement. Currently, he researches history and theological matters. Andreas has written extensively on Church growth, management, and stewardship, and has also written a novel.

4 Comments

  1. Mr.Andreas…I commend you on an outstanding article…which attempts to bring light to the most important issue of our times…. to not only Americans …but the entire world …who has been affected by a criminal foreign policy since the end of World War 2…which is estimated to have killed over 22 million non anglo Evangelical foreign citizens of the world…to date ….and is now … enforcing Police state actions …which are dropping one bomb every 12 minutes of the day …on some country of the world!

    You are correct, we must review our foreign policy in the middle East and the world …but it must be viewed in the Manner …that the Pentagon Paper were reviewed independently by pentagon analyst and with all classified information …and documented in thh Petagon Papers which reviewed the Vietnam war …and documented the lies of our leaders, representative, military and President …in imposing a foreign policy of war in Vietnam …which killed 3 1/2 million Vietnamese , Cambodian, and other Asians!

    Your article is well written to document the cost in blood and money for Americans…as I said …it does not mention ….the blatant lies and cost to the people of the world! It does not make accountable …that thses so called police actions …which is only authorized by the U.N…but in which as recently…Yugoslavia, Syria, Iraq., Yemen, Somalia, etc etc ..have been acts of war crimes bombings and attacks ..in violation of the U.N charter by 4 sitting presidents!

    The foreign policy of the United States …since world war 2..is simple .having proclaimed themselves as the leaders of the “free world ” …….they have killed 22 million foreign nationals…in order to allegedly save them!

    The reality of this criminal foreign policy …is to overthrow the governments and the elected leaders of independent countries of the world ….not compliant to the economic , political , and military control of a secret society of Anlgo white supremacist racist of the Democratic and Republican parties …who have only demonstrated their bi partisan support for waging war on the weakest countries of the world! .

    It is clear …that the war crime wars you highlighted …are merely adopted from the tactics of some of the more famous organized crime families ….in New York and Chicago in the early 20’s …called the “Black Hand”.

    Here is why 22 million foreign citizens die…because it was the practice of the mob…to advise legitimate business owners …that there were bad people in their neighborhood …that could threaten them and harm them and their families! The then would demand …financial tribute and allegiance to these mobsters , in order to be protected from these bad people! Many of the business owners refused to turn over their businesses to these mobsters ….and in response ….these mobsters would demonstrate to the business owners …that they needed the mob to protect them …by bombing them and their businesses , and then returning to these bombed owners ..and again asking them to turn over control of their businesses!

    So the next time ..you hear Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton , Bill Clinton or George Bush Jr. …demand the removal of the leader of a government…like that of libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen , Ukraine, , North Korea, Venezuela , etc etc…and they have refused..hence …the bombings begin …and payed mercenaries sent in to remove them! That is the Foreign policy of the now hijacked government of America!

    Indeed Mr. Andreas… lets have a foreign policy review …which will expose lies, war crimes , Treason, crimes against humanity …and a democracy that is a myth…and ruled since 1776 by Anglo White Supremacist off spring of their British brothers and their royal families…who taught them everything they know!

    However….the findings will mean nothing or change anything ….as witnessed by the George Bush Jr. killing of 600, 000 Iraqi’s in the war crimes war against iraq ..to enforce another Black Hand policy of overthrowing another country ..based on lies!

    Despite the cost and rape of our treasury , deaths of American servicemen, and catastrophic crimes agaisnt peace and humanity ..George Bush Jr. and Dick Cheney …would not be held accountable and face the same charges that Nazi German leaders did in Nuremburg at the end of World War 2….and go on to have monuments and libraries be built all over ..the landscape of the Anglo Evangelical White Supremacist lands of Texas!

    Hoever, we can thank Donald Trump for one thing..he has forced this secret ruling party ..out of desperation to keep their grip over America…by letting it all out and using all assets of their rule…which exposes a collaborative and subservient press …to their financial benefactors of the rich and famous , and the systematic coup of every department of our government ..including the Justice department, FbI, C.I.A , State department and Pentagon …but of course …most of the payed for hire ..Congress!

    Donald Trump …may be a lot of things to different people …but he is a hero to me …because he has done something .for the American people ..which is shortly being recognized by Americans watching the Russian collusion and meddling case …where unless you contnue to listen to Cnn…is the perfect example of the Justrice department indicting themselves to commit treason ..in attempting to remove the elected president fo the United States …without cause!
    ….

    1. “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.” -President Dwight Eisenhower

  2. Mr. Gianakos – Stop demeaning Vietnam Veterans by constantly repeating your malicious lie that Americans killed 3-1/2 million people in the Vietnam War.

    1. Okay Vietnam Vet….if it makes you feel good and proud of yourself …I will disregard …the country of Vietnam final report to the UN in 1995 to the UN commission on High crimes against humanity and reduce the kill numbers to 1 million!

      Do you feel better about yourself ! Does this now bring closure to the crimes of your commander in Chiefs and the same guys..;who poured Agent Orange on our troops to destroy the lands and agriculture, and burned the food supplies of a bunch of inferior peasants and yellow faces!

      Or as your Racist White Supremacist U.S commander in Vietnam General Westmorland …you know …alleged Viet Vet..the guy you worked for… described them …in trying to explain why they were unable to subdue a bunch of peasants rice paddy farmers!

      The Vietnamese or Viet Cong….are not like us…life is not as important…and they do not value life!
      Spoken like an exceptional white supremacist …which was documented in the movie “Hearts and MInd”…which documented the findings of the Pentagon Papers!

      However, so called Viet Vet….and an insult to the all the brave Viet Veterans …who did their job…because they were made to do it….I have very grave news for you and your war mongers!

      Today ….Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard, a real war veteran..who served two tours of Duty in Iraq…has announced that she will be running for President of the United States in 2020….and her reason is all about War and Peace!
      Unlike you fraudulent Viet Vet….she is not here to defend war criminals in our government and military ,but to indict them for the foreign policies of this degenerate country!

      You should understand …she know exactly, what is going in our government , she knows exactly who are enemies are in the Middle East ….and she know exactly what the Regime change foreign policy of destruction has done in Iraq , and Syria!

      She also …was one of the leading members of the DNC…when Hillary Clinton was running for Office, and resigned from the Democratic National committed ..in disgust of the corruption of Hllary Clinton and the DNC!

      Addtionally, ….she called out Donald Trump and Obama…for their C.i.A rape of 1 billion dollars of our treasury to fund , train, recruit and arm terrorist Sunni Muslim rebels in Syria to overthrow the government of Syria …but lied to the American people..that they were fighting ISIS.

      No , Viet Vet… those trainies somehow all wound up taking our guns with them to join the Proxy armes of Al queda ..the unofficial Terrorist army of America and Saudi Arabia!

      Because of her …Trump ended this despicable act of terrorism …which should have put Hillary in Jail with Obama…for supporting acts of Terrorism!

      The white supremacist billionaires and their republican noe con stooges and the Democratic communist wing …the new alliance in Washington..called the Deep State and Establishment elitist…will do to her …what they are doing to Donald Trump …to continue their control of our country ..to attempt to overthrow the Syrian government , and continue their global agenda ..of making their Enemies …the enemies of the American people!

      Vietnam Vet ..you continue to disgrace my friends who died in Vietnam ..who were the greatest Patriots in American history and forced to fight in a foreign country of peasants…without any cause!”

      You Viet Vet ..whose only conern about our foreign policy…is the accuracy of the kill rate!

      Iraq Veteran Tulsi Gabbard …will be one day the President of the United States.. and.is more representative of the real Viet Vets…who serve their god first …and not their degenerate sadist in Washington!

      Using your Id …with Viet Vet ..does not bring anymore credibility to what you say…and no more …than the sociopathic murderer ..and Vietnam Vet …John McCain..whose war record did not end in Vietnam!

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