Foreign policy for the damned

Editor of the Reformer:

The attacks in France and then in California show the long reach of ISIS. If we look at the recent history of ISIS, the stupidity (and shortsightedness) of American foreign policy can only be marveled at. ISIS gestates in the shambles that the Americans created in Iraq. Three years ago ISIS came out into the open, with its main aim being to set up a Caliphate (an area administered according to Sunni Muslim concepts, that may encompass parts of, or whole countries). The imperialist countries quickly realized that Muslims are flocking to ISIS in very large numbers, and, that for once they have complete unanimity around the idea of a Caliphate. Up to that point these imperialist powers (U.S., England and France — the ones that usually do all the bombing and stealing of others' resources) had very effectively manipulated and controlled all these Muslim countries with the "divide and rule" tactic — especially when it comes to oil. All of a sudden the Americans begin to understand that the ISIS folks cannot be controlled and are predicted to expand exponentially, so now there is panic, and they are classified as really, really bad people.

The American corporate media swings into action with excellent propaganda, ably led by Chucky Hagel (then "Secretary of Offense"). The idea of a Caliphate is really none of America's business. It is a regional affair, and its methods are no better or worse than the American drone killings of civilians in many countries, which are barbaric. But, sadly, the American administration feels that it has the god-given right to interfere wherever and whenever it likes. And so, with admirable knee-jerk reaction, the Americans begin bombing ISIS. Subsequently ISIS responds in kind (how dare they!). You just don't get any respect anymore.


France and the other imperialist countries are fighting an ideology. Using a bomb or a bullet to kill an idea does not work. The only foil to an idea or an ideology is a better idea or ideology. It is futile to fight an idea physically. Sadly the American Establishment does not get this — even after Vietnam they still don't. Their belief in Curtis LeMay is undiminished and unshaken. The only real way out is a political solution. That means the imperialist powers have to sit down with ISIS and negotiate an agreement. Will the Americans do that? Hardly likely. Besides, where is the profit in agreement? Furthermore, a long, protracted war — and American civilian fears routinely stoked — means plenty more funding and job security for these lunatics in the Pentagon and at taxpayers' expense. Think of all the money wasted by the military just over the last 15 years and with hardly any oversight, all to the greater glory of the corporate folks. Needless to say, your favorite political party (either one will work, they are exactly the same) totally supports this endless war idiocy as they totally support the defense Industries. The party of war (democrats) is ably leading the charge at this time. How about that Nobel Peace Laureate?

The second problem is that no country can guard every street corner, every school, every restaurant and all mass transit in its cities. This is an impossibility. Trying to prevent a terrorist attack is therefore an exercise in futility (this writer acknowledges that Americans have raised this exercise to an almost mystical art form). Nonetheless, a way will ultimately be found to counterattack. The only common-sense way out of this dilemma is a political solution. Might there be common sense prevailing anywhere between the White House and the Pentagon? Hardly likely.

So the present administration is unable to address these two problems in any meaningful way. They are comfortable with traditional methods, which means a vast waste of taxpayers' money (that could be spent on education and health), and the world gets even more screwed up by these blundering idiots. God bless America.

John Penford, Brattleboro, Dec. 18