4D Chess: The Syrian Strike was Necessary

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The Trumposphere is alive with denunciations from his closest supporters. Milo, Ann, Watson, and even Alex Jones are all up in arms about the missile strike into Syria. They are all wrong.

If you want the promise of jobs fulfilled, more equitable trade terms with China, and a handle on North Korea then this strike was necessary.

China not Syria

In my previous piece “Why Russia?” I explained that in the mind of President Trump the primary concern is economic. Everything else comes after that. The primary target of this strike was China not Syria. Syria is just a convenient excuse to launch missiles. Think about the timing of the event. It could have happened a couple of days later or a couple of days earlier and the reaction of Syria, Russia, Democrats, and Republicans would have been largely the same. Yet it happened right before President Trump was due to meet with President Xi of China to discuss trade and the North Korean situation. Hours before that meeting he was treated to a live show of US missiles being launched for the first time in a long time.  Just to put a sense of perspective the US used around 120 tomahawk missiles in Libya according to Forbes.

Shows of force like this are important. Syria does not exist in a vacuum. Since the red line proclamation of President Obama China has viewed the US as a paper tiger. In their mind we have all the military power in the world but are unable to muster the necessary political will to use it. This leads to a more belligerent trade policy from them, a more aggressive stance in the southeast china sea, and more aggressive stances from their satellite nations like North Korea. In this case the target was less important than the fact that force was used.

Equally important is the fact that this kills the Russia narrative of the Democrats. Russia has a strong army and a good geopolitical position vis a vis China which makes them a necessary ally in dealing with them in the future. With their narrative the democrats were making it difficult to exert the proper pressure on China using Russia.

Not an Escalation

The strike destroyed one airbase and killed around 6 people. That is not out of the ordinary in the middle east. If you were to have a missile strike New York and kill 6 people it would be a national scandal. If the same thing happens in the Middle East it would be just another Tuesday. Little Shalifa who has been sent by her parents to suicide bomb a building would have killed more people when she claimed her 99 virgin barbie dolls with the great pedophile in the sky.

When we look at the middle east we have to remember to judge things by their standards. For something to be an escalation in that savage part of the world it would have to be a lot more than one airstrike that kills 6 random people.

To the Trumposphere

Everyone wants Trump to succeed. We want those jobs back, we want better terms with China, and we want other countries to live up to their obligations to us. How is Trump supposed to accomplish that if other countries do not believe that we are willing to use our military at some point?

At the end of the day our primary argument for everything that Trump is trying to accomplish is that we are more important to you than you are to us. If Mexico does not give way we would have an easier time finding a market for our exports than they would for theirs. If China or North Korea does not give way then we are more powerful than them and could take what we needed or move them out of the way.

If you are like Ann Coulter, Milo, or the others who want Trump to succeed then asking him to tie one hand behind his back is counterproductive. In fact your insistence on it may guarantee failure. At the end of the day Trump has 4 years to prove himself and his promises. We have to give him the freedom to employ the different negotiation techniques that he needs. Let us try and refrain from acting like democrats and demanding that Trump be deposed at the drop of a hat.

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DEFEATING ISIS

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The middle east and the terrorist organizations it spawns have always been a problem for the west. First we had al-Qaeda then we had Isis with Iran and other rogue nations in the midst. As is usual with something so contentious there are multiple different solutions offered to the problem. The civilizations inside it have a fiercely independent streak and act differently than other groups. I propose we look at history. We can see how many different cultures who ended up with a stake in the middle east tried to impose its will on it.

THE IRAQ WAR

The most recent attempt and the one we are most familiar with is the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. As you might have guessed the Islamic countries were beaten pretty handily in direct combat, so much so that the entire thing looked like a commercial for US weapons. Of course the war is only the first step and ruling is an entirely different matter.The armies of Iraq and Afghanistan never really fought pitched battles instead preferring to retreat. This left a ready-made insurgency force available in the two countries.

As we all know the US tried an approach of winning hearts and minds. Americans installed democracy and got the people to vote. The area was not safe yet so they used their armies to set up green zones where friendly natives could live and work without threat to their lives. Changing hearts and minds takes a long time as you must change the character and culture of the people to achieve it. Eventually the cost of the invasion both economically and politically were strained and the United States pulled back its troops. The two countries were immediately taken over by various warlords with the tacit approval of the citizens proving that there was just not enough time and direct involvement to make sure that the next generation has the change.

ISRAEL AND THE CRUSADES

I lump both of these historical events together because they attempted to do the same thing. Israel was of course given land and the Crusaders conquered the same land back in the middle ages. Both set up their own states inside the Middle East with non islamic religions. The reaction of the middle eastern countries were roughly the same.

With regards to the crusade they were driven out of the holy land by continuing rounds of Jihad and with regards to Israel they had to survive and win two separate wars with the Arab nations. They did win those wars quite handily but as of yet a majority of countries in the area still do not recognize their right to exist.

This approach taking one area and then filling it with non muslims is very difficult to do as the powers in the area band together against you whenever it is attempted. At best you are constantly attacked and at worse you are driven out of the place altogether. The arabs did have a valid reason starting with the initial event, in which some of their land was taken. It is proof though that peaceful coexistence by another state in the area with a different religion is unacceptable.

THE MONGOLS

People forget this sometimes but the Mongols did conquer the middle east as well. They started with Kwarezmia then made their way to Aleppo and even sacked Baghdad. A city which had not been sacked 500 years prior.

They also set up the parts of the middle east they had conquered as the ilkhanate headed by the line of Chagatai. Strangely enough the Muslims accepted their rule when they would not do the same for the US and they coexisted with the Mongols as well, something they would not do for the Crusaders or the Israelites.

The first thing that the Mongols did was to impose a very light policy rule. The tribes and various factions in the area could still do what they wanted as long as they sent in tribute, send soldiers for the ilkhanate army, and follow some foreign policy directives such as not being able to conquer each other. Second they used very harsh punishments for any violations of the light rules they imposed. Genghis Khan had a system of three tents. If a city revolted the khans tumans would appear and a white tent would go up before the city signifying that everyone would be spared. If they did not surrender a red tent would go up signifying that every male above the height of the belly of a horse would be killed. On the third day a black tent came up signifying that everyone in the city were to die.

The system of lax rules and very draconian punishments worked so well that one of the arabic poets said “You could walk from a city to another with a gold platter on your head and not fear harm”. The middle eastern states responded how you would think they did, with terrorism. One of the first terrorist groups, the assassins, went after Genghis khan. They believed they could do so as they got Saladin to back of their interests just by leaving him a poisoned cake.

The Mongols went berserk. They bribed who they needed to bribe. Killed who would not break and offered protections to those who did. At the end of the day the mongols had the location of Alamut the assassin stronghold. Were they merciful when they got there? Only killed the perpetrators? No they killed all the inhabitants of the fortress as well as any other family member they could find and pulled the entire thing down stone by stone as a warning to future terrorists.

The Ilkhanate enjoyed the support of the Islamic community after and were even able to recruit and integrate muslims into the khans armies up until the time of the decline of the Mongolian empire.

CONCLUSION

As we can see three very different approaches have been tried and it seems clear that only one has had any sort of success when it comes to ruling and integrating the Islamic community into the greater society. We should emulate this as best we can to get the same success. Be light on the rules, keeping only a set few such as those related to terrorism. However be equally ready to punish those who break the rules harshly. One of the reasons why the three tents worked is the Mongols made no exception and any city who led a revolt knew exactly what the consequences were. We can also gain a valuable lesson here for the fight on terror. Pull no punches, exploit everything you can, and show no mercy. It is not just for this terror group but to silence the next one that springs up as well. Make sure that they know consequences for other people aside from you exist if you participate. After all it is easy to lose your life but not the live of a loved one.

The blueprint on how to defeat ISIS has already been given to us by history. It is up to us to follow them.