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Does Fighting ISIS Mean Allying With Assad?

Are we helping a bad guy by going after other bad guys?

Walter Hudson


August 22, 2014 - 3:25 am

The formation and execution of foreign policy can be complicated. Yet, the principles which inform those tasks are not. Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson reports on the awkward relationship emerging between the United States and the Assad regime in Syria as both find a common enemy in the Islamic State (ISIS):

“The Obama administration can’t partner with Assad overtly at this time, but the logic and trajectory of White House policy in Syria leads in that direction,” Tony Badran, a research fellow specializing in Syria and Hezbollah at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News. “White House policy in Syria is predicated on preserving so-called regime institutions.”

In public, the administration is not changing its position on Assad. And State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf disputed that the U.S. and Syrian governments share a common goal in defeating ISIS.

“I would strongly disagree with the notion that we are on the same page here,” Harf said on Monday, while later admitting to Fox News, “We may be looking at some of the same targets.”

We need not wring our hands with concern over whether action taken against ISIS in defense of American lives places us in alignment with Assad on certain objectives. Moral clarity can be found by recalling the proper role of our armed forces in defending American citizens. Anxiety over “helping” Assad by undercutting his opposition in ISIS seems based primarily on concern over the death of innocents in Syria. But if ISIS presents a threat to American citizens, then failure to neutralize the aggressive Islamic totalitarian horde potentially sacrifices Americans for the sake of Syrians. That’s not a trade our government may properly make.

The other way to potentially view this, if we conclude that Assad also presents a threat to America, is that fighting the enemy of an enemy does not necessarily make friends. Certainly, when we recall the inclusion of the Soviet Union in the Allied Forces rallied to defeat the Axis, we would not in retrospect claim that common purpose made us lasting friends.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 7:58 minutes long; 7.72 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

Walter Hudson advocates for individual rights, serving on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota, and as president of the Minority Liberty Alliance. He hosts a daily podcast entitled Fightin Words, proudly hosted on Twin Cities Newstalk Podcast Network. Walter is a city council member in Albertville, MN. Follow his work via Twitter and Facebook.

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During the 20s and particularly the 30s of the last century we let (actually had no choice) the Communists, various radical leftest groups, the German Social Democrats HASH IT OUT with the Zentrum (Catholic) Party, various right wing radicals including the Nazi Party. After hasing about a bit, Hitler mad HASH out of his opponents and for some years HASH out of West Europe and did his best to make HASH out of Europea Jews and a heck of a lot of Slaves. Fail Burton's "Let'em hash it out" is a temptation, but really a cop out. I wish some superpower had nudged a bit the hash-and-be-hashed polictics of the Weimar Republik and frustrated Hiter's rise to the favor of the Social Democrats, perhaps with the Zentrum Party. It would be great if the Shia's and Sunni had their version of the 30 Years War all by themselves in a closed off field. But, there are too many third parties hanging around, e.g., the Christians, that would be eliminated. I just cannot stand by and wait to see who will be the king-pin hasher that triumphs. I would like the US to do some "nudging" with FORCE, not the pinpricking swats of Obama. I hope I am not cricitizing Faiol Burton too uhfairly as the analysis has much to offer.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
We are making this seem as if it is an American problem on some level and it's not. In all the world, the places we have had this sort of trouble in recent years are mostly areas with Muslims.

The mechanism is simple: without a strong dictator to hold together Yugoslavia, Libya, Afghanistan or Iraq, sectarian violence and civil war breaks out. Because of us, these conflicts are never allowed to play out to the point where another dictator would come in. Certainly democracy never will.

That means they just go on and on.

The former Yugoslavia is still a powder keg only kept at bay by the threat of foreign intervention. Take that away and civil war would erupt once again.

Ally with Assad and you invite another 9/11. Don't ally with him and violence erupts throughout the area. Our policy should be to squat on the oil and gas in the Gulf and forget all the rest. Let 'em hash it out.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
The moral of war, at least of WW II, was simple: Have morals until they get in the way of a strategy, then throw them away. The US and British supported generously STALIN (even betrayed the Free Polish Army) and Stalin used his soldiers to take out ca 3,000,000 German soldiers (at the cost of, say, 6 million Russian soldiers--leaving civilian deaths aside). If Stalin had made peace with Hitler during the war (and he threatened to do so), we Allies would have, had we even landed in D-Day, faced another 3 million German soldiers. I think the Allies would have lost. Stalin's USSR bled the Nazi army very dry. What does this have to do with Assad?

Well, the Orthodox Church explicitly asked Putin to defend the Christians under the umbrella of Assad. And de facto the rebels who have reached Christian areas have, well, politely put, dislocated them, before the arrival of IS. Indeed, a high-up in their Church explained a preference for Assad. Assad is a monster, but then again the Allies seeking to terminate the German monster killed in Germany alone 500,000 innocent civilians, not to speak of bombing flat over 160 German cities ---and it worked. Oh miy, if Assad remains and the Christians have some protection, Iran will keep its transmission belt. Let Assad fall and Iran loses ground. It is so confusing. But a question presents itself to me. And?

In WW II we liberated the Jews, some millions probably, and other minorities from extinction by the Nazis and liberated untold Chinese from the horror story that was the Japanese occupation (not to mention Korea, etc.). BUT, I see no evidence that such morally admirable deeds played any role in determining the American entry into, carrying out and terminating the war. FDR seemed disinterest in the "Jewish problem". Allied bombers flew over Auschwitz and dropped no bombs--that being a waste re winning the war. What am I suggesting? Very little, only asserting that too much moralizing is irrelevant and, when the chips are down, we will do what is necessary anyway. Am I cynical or just realistic?

I suggest supporting Assad in order to defeat ISIS and then turn on Assad and get rid of him (being willing to tangle with the Russians perhaps). But, at all costs from my viewpoint, the Christians must have a security (maybe even their own equivalent to the Kurdish militia). If that is not done, I will stay with the Russians. Am I diablolic? No, I am trying to prioritize the value of various alternate goals. I can imagine that the Israelis would love to have Assad gone as that would weaken Iran and, well, the fate of the Chrisitans, having lost their protector, is not a survival factor for Israel.

I appreciate moral concerns. I just find most of them as de facto irrelevant. ISIS seems to be an Al-Qaeda exponentialized and, hence, much more dangerous for those under its control and later for the US. Churchchill betrayed (some say, murdered) the anti-Stalinist Gen. Sirkoski of the Free Polish Army to to keep Stalin fighting Germany (and thereby effectively gave Stalin eastern Europa). The qualms of Hudson are morally justified, just de facto of little consequence. Too much moralizing will let us end up seconding Obama by default as he pin-pricks away, perserves his good conscience and solves nothing.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
What you said.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
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