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FOREIGN POLICY

US Ground Troops for Syria: A Really Bad Idea By Stephen D. Bryen and Shoshana Bryen

The president is being asked by the Pentagon to provide U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS in Syria. If the president is wise, he will run as fast as he can the other way.

There are four potential traps here:

The cost in American lives;
The nature of the Syrian civil war that encompasses the fight against ISIS, which means we may find ourselves on the battlefield with Russia, Iran, and the genocidal government of Syria;
Finding ourselves with the Turks against the Kurds; and
Finding ourselves with the Kurds against the Turks.

Syria is a quagmire – ask the Russians. The late 2016 battle for Aleppo required heavy bombing; massive artillery; and even, allegedly, chemical weapons. In Aleppo overall, there were 31,000 casualties – 22,633 men, 2, 849 women, and 4,548 children. Overall, 76% of the casualties were civilian. Most were caused by Russian bombing and Syrian government and allied troops – Hezb’allah and Iran – on the ground.

Daily operations in Syria are under Russian-Syrian cognizance. The Russians supply air power, combat intelligence, and special operations, targeting anti-regime forces and leaders they want to liquidate. Syrian army forces, Iranian-backed forces (many of them irregular and imported from Pakistan and Afghanistan), and Hezb’allah do the dirty work on the ground. The Russians are determined to minimize their own casualties. After the Afghan debacle – 13,310 dead, 35,478 wounded, and more than 300 missing – the Russian public has a low tolerance for battlefield casualties, and in today’s world where the internet reigns supreme, keeping news about deadly encounters from the Russian people is a losing battle, and the authorities know it.

Some, including Russian president Vladimir Putin, have proposed that the U.S. team up with Russia. But Defense Secretary James Mattis has said that while we might find ways to cooperate politically, direct military collaboration with the Russians is not in the cards, most importantly because the U.S. arms and trains some Syrian rebels the Russians call “terrorists” and against whom they and the Syrian government are fighting. It is inconceivable that the U.S. would fight in coordination with Russia’s allies, Iran and Hezb’allah – who pose a grave threat to Israel, threaten American sailors in the Persian Gulf, and support Saudi Arabia’s enemy, the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

In addition to their battle standards being anathema to Americans, the potential for U.S. casualties in Syria is high. The Second Battle of Fallujah was the most costly engagement for American forces since Hue, Vietnam in 1968. In Fallujah in 2004-05, U.S. Marines and coalition forces committed more than 13,000 troops and lost 95 men with 560 wounded. In the town, some 35,000 of the total 50,000 homes were destroyed by artillery, bombing, and street fighting. While the U.S. eventually forced al-Qaeda out, victory secured Fallujah not for long. Fighting ISIS in Syria would produce casualties on the same order of magnitude.

H.R. McMaster, newly appointed NSC advisor to President Trump, knows this better than almost anyone – he commanded the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Tel Afar, Iraq, ousting al-Qaeda from the city in 2004, and worked with Gen. Petraeus to rewrite the Army’s Counterinsurgency Field Manual during his command of the Combined Arms Center in 2007-08.

Then there is the question of Turkey, which claims that its agenda is to knock off ISIS but is really looking to knock off Kurds – whom the Turks consider terrorists. Turkey wants to import a replacement population to Kurdish territory, beginning with the placement of “safe zones” for Syrian Sunnis in the Kurdish areas and demanding control of ISIS-held Raqqa after its liberation. Turkey is a NATO ally, so the U.S. should be inclined to work with it despite the increasing authoritarianism of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

But to the fourth point, the U.S. arms and trains Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria because they are the most effective fighters on the ground and have the best strategy against ISIS. The Kurds are absolutely vital to the fight in Mosul, Iraq. Without Kurdish forces, the Mosul offensive probably would collapse, and with it, the Iraqi government itself might fall. While the U.S. agrees with Turkey that the PKK (Turkish Workers’ Party) is a terror organization, the YPG, the fighting arm, is part of the U.S. fighting alliance.

The Logic of Trump’s Foreign Policy The basic contours of a consistent approach are beginning to take shape.By Michael Auslin

Amid the seeming disarray of President Trump’s foreign policy, critics seem unable to make up their minds: Either Mr. Trump is upending America’s traditional postwar priorities, such as by denigrating NATO, or he is easily accommodating conventional wisdom, such as by accepting the “One China” policy. Which is it?

These critiques miss the logical thread that ties together Mr. Trump’s actions. Although it is too early to expect the president’s foreign policy to be fully fleshed out, especially after the abrupt resignation of Mike Flynn as national security adviser, the White House appears to be guided by a consistent approach.

On foreign issues that directly affect domestic concerns, Mr. Trump pursues radical change. But on matters that are truly foreign, he is willing to adopt a traditional stance. What looks like inconsistency is actually an instinct deeply grounded in his worldview.

This explains the president’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and his desire to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Some charge that this is a betrayal of America’s decades-long commitment to a liberal global economic system. But Mr. Trump sees it as a domestic priority, a necessary shielding of American workers. Instead of sweeping, multicountry agreements, he has proposed bilateral trade pacts, beginning with Britain and possibly Japan.

On pure foreign policy, Mr. Trump has stayed the course for now. After initially questioning the relevance and utility of America’s main postwar alliances, he now seems committed to them. The president and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have affirmed the mutual-defense agreements with Japan and South Korea. Mr. Mattis had tough words for NATO allies last week when urging increased military spending, but walking away seems a remote possibility.

Even more surprising was the recent phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Mr. Trump dropped his criticism of the “One China” policy that has defined relations with Beijing since the 1970s. Mr. Mattis, during a visit to Japan, also calmed fears that the U.S. Navy might physically confront Chinese vessels in the South China Sea.

The Trump administration has kept Russia at arm’s length, too, despite the president’s continued praise of Vladimir Putin. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has made clear that American sanctions will remain in effect unless Russia withdraws from Ukraine.

Mr. Trump rejects the widely held belief that globalization always benefits American interests. This may be his most lasting challenge to the postwar international order. Still, the Trump administration appears willing to live up to commitments and responsibilities that do not impose costs at home. CONTINUE AT SITE

Conservative Pundit Sebastian Gorka Brings ‘Global Jihadist Movement’ Theory Into White House Critics say policy addressing terrorism primarily as a religious problem reinforces notion that U.S. is at war with Islam By Shane Harris

In the days before President Donald Trump signed the Jan. 27 executive order blocking immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries, only a small circle of advisers reviewed the document.

One was Sebastian Gorka, a terrorism researcher and conservative pundit who has gone on to become the administration’s most visible and passionate defender of the ban and increasingly its go-to spokesman on national security issues.

“I’m not going to comment on whose hand was holding the pen,” Mr. Gorka said in an interview, declining to spell out whether he helped draft the immigration order. “I was asked to look at the executive order before it was signed by the president.”
The ban didn’t target Muslims, Mr. Gorka said in its defense, but focused on seven countries that “represent the hotbed of primary jihadi activity today.”

That jihadist activity has been the focus of Mr. Gorka’s work for more than two decades. In blog posts and articles on Breitbart News and elsewhere, in TV appearances and lectures, as well as in a book published last year, he has described a theory of terrorism that he calls the “global jihadist movement,” which he says takes its marching orders from the Quran and from manifestos by militants and terrorist leaders.

Mr. Gorka has now taken that view into the center of power at the White House, where he is part of the new White House Strategic Initiatives Group. He said he reports to Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s adviser and son-in-law; Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff; and Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist.

The Strategic Initiatives Group has been described by some U.S. officials and experts as a parallel National Security Council, writing executive orders with relatively little input from policy officials and subject matter experts. This organization has posed an impediment to Mr. Trump’s efforts to fill the position of national security adviser, with at least two candidates turning down the job because the president wouldn’t give them control over staffing, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter.

Mr. Gorka is a rhetorical pugilist, and his eagerness to confront the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies has made him a fixture on conservative talk shows and a frequent lecturer to law enforcement and military groups. He attracted the attention of the Trump campaign, which paid him $8,000 in 2015 for policy consulting, federal records show.

Report: Senior White House Officials Favor John Bolton for National Security Adviser By Debra Heine

On Sunday President Donald Trump plans to interview four candidates to replace ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn: acting adviser Keith Kellogg, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, and Lieutenant General Robert Caslen, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

The president said that he expects to make a decision in the “next couple of days.”

Ambassador John Bolton has emerged as the favorite among senior White House officials and members of the National Security Council, according to The Washington Free Beacon:

Among Bolton’s most vocal supporters are senior administration officials loyal to Flynn and who are upset at the general’s firing. Multiple sources described an effort by these Flynn loyalists to ensure that Bolton is selected as his replacement.

The selection of Bolton as the next national security adviser would empower Flynn’s allies still in the White House and send a message that his national security vision is represented within the Trump administration. Bolton is also favored by White House staffers who are opposed to the selection of any candidate who criticized President Trump during the 2016 campaign.

President Donald Trump has not settled on a final selection yet and is also eyeing retired Army Gen. Keith Kellogg, who has been acting national security adviser since Flynn’s departure, as well as other candidates.

“There’s a strong inclination in the NSC towards the kind of experienced leadership Bolton would represent,” said one current official, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the situation. “He knows the ins and outs of D.C. but he’s not an establishment, Never Trump type. There’s also a lot of respect for General Kellogg and KT McFarland, both of whom have really stepped up under challenging circumstances.”

Bolton, a veteran of the George W. Bush administration, is seen to have the experience necessary to give the White House credibility at a time when the administration is facing intense criticism from the media and subversion from Obama holdovers in the State Department.
Bolton: ‘I Don’t See How’ Trump Can Break Up Russia-Iran Alliance

“The one thing that makes Bolton more qualified than anyone else for the Trump era is that he has a veteran genius-level understanding of the organizational structure of our nation’s diplomatic and intelligence apparatus,” a veteran foreign policy insider told the Free Beacon.

According to multiple sources, Bolton would be able to “help root out Obama administration holdovers still working in the government.

Bolton: ‘I Don’t See How’ Trump Can Break Up Russia-Iran Alliance By Nicholas Ballasy (video)

WASHINGTON – Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who is reportedly on President Trump’s consideration list for the next national security advisor, said he does not think the Trump administration will be able to break up Russia and Iran’s alliance.

“I don’t see how. They both are and have been strong supporters of the Assad regime. Russia is not going to back away from that regime,” Bolton said after his recent speech at a United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) Capitol Hill briefing about the future of Iran policy.

“It wasn’t because of the Tartus [Syria] base. It’s now not because of Latakia [Syria]. And for Iran, keeping Assad in power and keeping it linked with Hezbollah and, you know, destroying ISIS so they can link up the Baghdad government, this is their arch of power through all four countries, so the odds of splitting them over that and the many other ties they have developed in terms of military sales and so on, I just see it as remote,” he added.

The State Department has designated Iran a state sponsor of terrorism. Bolton, who served in the Bush administration, was asked if President Trump’s rhetoric on working with Russia could impede efforts to combat the Iran regime’s nuclear program and its other conduct.

“I look forward to the day he has a conversation with Putin about Iran and I think a lot of things may change at that point, because the confluence of Russian and Iranian influence has been noteworthy for 15 years and it’s not in the U.S interest. It’s just not,” Bolton replied.

What Does Rex Tillerson Need To Know? The potential blessings of being an “outsider.” Bruce Thornton

Reprinted from Hoover.org.

Before his confirmation as the sixty-ninth U.S. Secretary of State, former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson was questioned by Senators from both parties about his qualifications for the nation’s highest diplomatic post. Like Trump, Tillerson has no experience in public service, unusual for both a President and a Secretary of State in modern times. Such reservations raise the issue of what types of experience and knowledge are necessary for conducting foreign policy.

In the modern technocratic state, many believe that creating policy is a professional activity requiring skills and knowledge developed in institutions of higher learning and think tanks. Both Tillerson’s critics and defenders held that assumption during his confirmation hearings. His critics claimed he lacked those requisite skills, while his defenders argued that he acquired them as CEO of Exxon doing international business with numerous countries and government officials. The reason those skills are necessary, both sides believe, is because they’ll help the Secretary of State anticipate developments abroad and respond appropriately.

But the history of U.S. foreign policy since World War II is replete with failures to correctly understand the international landscape, suggesting that technical skills and knowledge may not be enough for managing foreign affairs. In 1956 Dwight Eisenhower and his advisors misinterpreted Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal as an act of anticolonial nationalist self-assertion rather than a bid for regional primacy. Nor did they foresee its malign consequences, such as greater Soviet influence in the region at the expense of the United States and Israel. Even more telling, a whole academic discipline, Sovietology, along with the State Department failed to anticipate the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, or to imagine that a foreign policy “amateur” like Ronald Reagan could craft a policy––“we win, they lose” –– that hastened its destruction.

Just as consequential for today is the misunderstanding of the Iranian Revolution of 1979, which emboldened a new aggressive phase of Islamic terrorism still roiling the world nearly forty years later. Likewise, the Arab-Israel conflict has been misinterpreted by scholars of international relations, many of whom, despite all evidence to the contrary, continue to believe that Palestinian “national aspirations” and Israeli “settlements,” rather than Islamist doctrines, are the prime driver of not just that conflict, but the rise of jihadist violence elsewhere. Finally, in the last eight years, we have witnessed foreign policy decisions based on faulty or politicized analyses and unexamined assumptions, resulting in the eclipse of our prestige and effectiveness by rivals like Russia and Iran.

These failures reflect the problem of large institutions like government agencies and university disciplines––what the French social critic Alexis Carrel called “professional deformation.” Assured of steady funding and hence unaccountable to the market and, apart from political appointees, to the voters when they fail, such institutions can repeat received wisdom year after year while ignoring contrary evidence or alternative arguments that challenge the institutional paradigm.

The Iranian Revolution is a case in point. The agitation against the Shah was interpreted through the postwar narrative of anticolonial resistance to a corrupt tyrant in the name of national self-determination and independence. In fact, it was a long-brewing religious revolution against a secularizing and modernizing regime that the Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the revolution, said was “fundamentally opposed to Islam itself and the existence of a religious class.” Forty years later, under administrations from both parties, this misunderstanding has continued to shape America’s Middle East foreign policy.

Standing With Israel on the Golan Heights Recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the territory would send a strong message to U.S. friends and foes alike. By Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz

Benjamin Netanyahu has achieved his primary objective of resetting ties with the U.S. after eight years of tensions. True, the Israeli prime minister and Donald Trump still need to bridge the gap on issues such as Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy and West Bank settlements. But they seem to be on the same page on a broad range of regional matters.

That could lead to a breakthrough on an issue of strategic importance to Israel. According to reports of the two leaders’ meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu asked for U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The move makes sense for both sides. It would provide the Israeli government with a diplomatic win while helping the Trump administration signal to Russia and Iran that the U.S. is charting a new course in Syria.

Israel captured the bulk of the Golan from Syria in the 1967 war and annexed the territory in 1981. The move was met with international condemnation.

For two successive Assad regimes, first Hafiz and now his son Bashar, restoring full Syrian sovereignty over the Golan has been an axiomatic demand. Israel floated partial Golan withdrawals during several rounds of peace talks with Syria over the past two decades, but the Syrians were never satisfied with the deals on offer.

With the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the facts on the ground have changed. Had Israel ceded the Golan to Syria, Islamic State, al Qaeda or Iran would be sitting on the shores of the Galilee across from the Israeli city of Tiberias.

Mr. Netanyahu and other senior Israeli government officials argue that Syria is destined for partition along sectarian, ethnic and regional lines. And while the retaking of Aleppo shifted the tide of war in favor of the Assad government, some Israelis believe it might be time to acknowledge Israel’s hold on the Golan as permanent.

This position has so far found no traction among the major powers, which still say they want to preserve a unitary Syria. Russia, which intervened militarily to shore up Bashar Assad in the name of Syrian territorial integrity, is chief among them.

A disagreement with Russia over Syria is a long time coming. By recognizing Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan, the Trump administration would signal to Russia that, while Washington may now coordinate with Moscow on activities such as fighting Islamic State, it doesn’t share Russia’s goals for Syria.

Moreover, it would show that the U.S. will take a tougher line on the provision of arms and intelligence to Iran and Hezbollah.

Recognition of Israel’s Golan claims would acknowledge that it needs these highlands to hold off a multitude of asymmetric and conventional military threats from Syria—and whatever comes after the war there. Israel continues to target Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah to prevent them from establishing a base of operations on the Syrian Golan.

Recognizing Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan would also soften the Palestinians’ core demand for a state within the 1967 borders. If an international border can be revised along the Syrian border, the Palestinians will have a harder time presenting the 1949 armistice line along the West Bank as inviolable. This might pave the way for compromise when Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, begins to make his push for Palestinian-Israeli peace.

The move will anger the Europeans and the United Nations, but that storm will pass. Syrian opposition groups will also protest. While some might be tempted to break their tenuous ties with Israel, they understand that the real enemy is Mr. Assad. CONTINUE AT SITE

A Trump Agenda for Taiwan How to deepen ties without changing the ‘One China’ policy.

WRONG! AMERICA SHOULD NOT ACCEPT THE IMPERIALIST CHINESE CLAIM OF “ONE CHINA”.RSK
President Trump’s affirmation of America’s “One China” policy last week avoids one U.S.-China pitfall, but that still leaves the issue of how to build on his landmark December phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. He has several tools to boost ties with Taiwan as a democratic and strategic partner.

The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act commits the U.S. to helping Taiwan defend itself, including the sale of defensive weapons. We hear the Trump team has inherited a roughly $1 billion arms package prepared by the Obama Administration, but it consists mainly of munitions, not new systems such as upgraded fighter jets or unmanned vehicles. This reflects the modest pattern of recent years. From 2011 to 2015 the U.S. even blocked Taiwan from submitting letters of request for weapons.

The new Administration could set arms sales on a more stable course by reinstating annual meetings to discuss the island’s needs. For example, Taipei wants U.S. technology to build submarines, a request U.S. planners will have to weigh against the virtue of offering cheaper weapons that can be fielded more quickly and are less vulnerable to Chinese attack, such as mines and missile systems.
Last year’s Pentagon budget called for flag-grade U.S. officers to begin visiting Taiwan for the first time in decades, an ideal mission for U.S. Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris. The law also called for more cooperation in threat analysis, force planning, intelligence and joint training. In 2012 the U.S. considered inviting Taiwan to the multinational Red Flag air combat exercise in Nevada but decided against it for fear of angering Beijing.

Diplomatic exchanges have practical and symbolic value. U.S. Cabinet officials could visit Taiwan, and their Taiwanese counterparts should have dignified and reliable access to officials in Washington. U.S. diplomats could also give Taiwan more help at forums such as the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization, where China wants to freeze out Taiwanese representatives.

Trade is crucial. Taiwan’s dependence on exports to China threatens its economic and political autonomy, so Taipei should conclude a bilateral deal with the U.S. after a decade of delay. The U.S. can encourage other friendly countries to pursue deals, too, especially Japan and Australia. Japan, like the U.S., faces Taiwanese restrictions on its food exports, and Australia will hesitate to upset Beijing, but the deals would be major advances for democratic cooperation in the Pacific.

The U.S. can also help Taiwan with its shaky energy supply. Taipei is making the mistake of closing its nuclear power plants by 2025 and trying to replace that 18% share of energy production with renewables. It makes more sense to import cheaper and abundant U.S. natural gas, reducing the danger if China ever halts cross-Strait exports of coal.

These initiatives are all consistent with the “One China” policy, though that wouldn’t stop Beijing from protesting. Many inside and outside of China spun Mr. Trump’s policy statement last week as a sign he blinked to get a phone call from Chinese President Xi Jinping. The way to prove that’s not true is to deepen ties systematically, even if quietly, with America’s longtime friends in Taiwan.

The Three-Headed Hydra of the Middle East Trump has inherited a matrix of problems that primarily stem from Iran, Russia, and ISIS. By Victor Davis Hanson

The abrupt Obama administration pre-election pullout from Iraq in 2011, along with the administration’s failed reset with Russia and the Iran deal, created a three-headed hydra in the Middle East.

What makes the Middle East monster deadly is the interplay between the Iranian terrorist regime and its surrogates Hezbollah and the Assad regime; Russian president Vladimir Putin’s deployment of bombers into Syria and Iraq after a 40-year Russian hiatus in the region; and the medieval beheaders of the Islamic State.

Add into the brew anti-Americanism, genocide, millions of refugees, global terrorism, and nuclear weapons.

ISIS is simultaneously at war against the Assad regime, Iran and Iranian surrogates such Hezbollah, and Russian expeditionary forces. ISIS also seeks to energize terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe.

Stranger still, ISIS almost surely is receiving stealth support from Sunni nations in the Middle East, some of them ostensibly American allies.

This matrix gets even crazier.

The authors of reset policy during the Obama administration are now furious at President Trump for even talking about what they tried for years: reaching out to Putin. Yet in the Middle East, Russia is doing us a favor by attacking ISIS, even as it does no favors in saving the genocidal Assad regime that has murdered tens of thousands of innocents — along with lots of ISIS terrorists as well.

Iran is the sworn enemy of the United States, yet its foreign proxies attack our shared enemy, ISIS. The very troops who once blew up Americans in Iraq with shaped charges are for now de facto allies on the Syrian and Iraqi battlefields.

Given that there is now no political support for surging thousands more U.S. troops into Iraq to reverse the disastrous Obama-administration pullout, there are three strategic choices in dealing with the Middle East hydra, all of them bad:

One, hold our nose, and for now ally with Russia and Iran to destroy ISIS first. Then deal with the other rivalries later on. (The model is the American-Soviet alliance against Hitler that quickly morphed after 1945 into the Cold War.)

Two, work with the least awful of the three, which is probably Russia. (The model might be Henry Kissinger’s outreach to Mao’s China that left Moscow and Beijing at odds and confused over the role of the United States.)

Making Policy in the New Administration By Shoshana Bryen

The Trump White House continues to receive advice – solicited and unsolicited, in letters to the editor, op-eds, essays, and policy papers – as to what its foreign policy priorities should be. It is tempting to presume that problems called “priorities” can be resolved with just a little more savvy or a little more will. But if they could have been, they would have been. Instead, the administration might consider priorities for American behavior – political, economic, and military.

First, there are three questions to be asked:

What should the United States do to ensure that allies feel secure and adversaries don’t?
How can America encourage countries that are neither allies nor adversaries to cooperate on issues of importance?
How can Washington encourage countries to want to be “more like us” (politically and economically free with more transparent government) and “less like them” (totalitarian, communist, jihadist, and less transparent)?
And if they choose to be “more like them,” what are the limits of American encouragement or coercive capabilities?

OK, that’s four questions, but when they are answered, the first priority that emerges is creation of a clear statement of American goals and desired outcomes. In the broader Middle East, the United States is engaged in lethal operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia while being at war with none of them, and in each, the outcome we seek is unstated.

As the military and diplomatic objectives are formulated, the second priority is “public diplomacy,” stressing what made/makes America what it has been and should be – a beacon of hope for people around the world. Individual freedoms including rights to property and to profit from one’s creativity and work; constraints on government enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the checks and balances of the system; free expression, including the right to criticize the government; and opportunity for all resulting in (at least relative) prosperity for most are what people admire.

This should not be confused with “democracy promotion” – a failed concept. The U.S. should promote and advance specific human rights and freedoms for citizens without trying to determine the nature of the political system of any country.

Messaging is a two-way street. On the one hand, the United States should be clear and vocal about what it does support, and on the other hand, it must be clear about threats to the American body politic contained in the messages of radical Islamist-jihadist ideology. The U.S. must develop strategy to discredit and defeat Islamic triumphalism that includes clarifying the expansionist-totalitarian nature of jihadism.