While we must certainly honor treaties with our allies, neither our Constitution nor any international agreement makes us world police. Didn’t 58,000 US deaths in Vietnam teach us anything about stepping into the middle of a civil war? The French fought there before us and finally gave up. When civil war breaks out our job is to get US citizens out of harm’s way, that’s all. Should we pick sides? If we side with Assad in Syria we’re siding with a dictator, but if we side with the rebels we’re siding with some Al Qaeda linked groups that are using this conflict as a training exercise from which they will expand their terror network. Who attacked us on 9/11?
The concept of nation building is even worse. We invaded Iraq, a nation that had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11 and what have we accomplished? We’ve given them a constitution that says health care is a universal right and that they can’t use their military to intervene in others’ affairs (how about that), but Iraq is not peaceful and free. Iraqis are now free to fight a sectarian civil war that has led to the rise of the brutal Islamic State. The Sunni-Shi’ite conflict dates from before Europeans set foot on this continent, so what makes us think we can settle it? We’ve just substituted sectarian killing for Saddam’s guards’ killing. Sadly, the Islamic State is also destroying antiquities that date back to the earliest civilizations in an effort to erase the region’s heritage. Are we nation building in Afghanistan where the Russians fought for years before giving up? Like Pakistan, many areas of Afghanistan have tribal populations, and tribal loyalty supersedes any loyalty to a central government. As we leave the Taliban will continue it’s campaign of terror, and some of the local militias that we aided are just as bad. We haven’t seen much thanks from either country for the thousands of lives and billions of taxpayer dollars (some of which simply vanished) we’ve sacrificed in those countries. Our brave troops are exhausted and many are injured. We can’t keep up an endless war. We need to repair our infrastructure, build our economy, create jobs, and secure our own nation. We need to pick our battles carefully, starting with making sure they are our battles to fight.