US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The Week



"Does America have a moral imperative to stay in Afghanistan forever?"

Damon Linker widerspricht der Vorstellung, dass ein vollständiger Abzug der US-Truppen aus Afghanistan eine "Niederlage" oder gar ein moralisches Versagen wäre. "There is the premise: That it is in American interests to take responsibility for the security and protection of the people of Afghanistan. And that premise follows from a more fundamental and far-reaching one: That the internal politics of other nations is our business — because our interests are wrapped up with the fate of human rights around the world. When it comes to the specific case of Afghanistan, this premise implies that we should be willing to maintain a strong presence in the country indefinitely, for as long as necessary to prevent its fragile democratically elected government from collapsing in the face of domestic illiberal and anti-democratic forces. But is this true? (...) We should do what we can, short of war, to smooth the path to reform in places embroiled in bloody civil wars and plagued by despotism. But that doesn't mean the bad things that happen around the world are our fault or responsibility. We should go to war, reluctantly, when necessity requires it, in order to defend ourselves. We should not go to war, or stay at war, to avenge someone else's injustice, or to provide security and protection to citizens of other countries."

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"The Democratic foreign policy reckoning"

Progressive Ideen gewännen zunehmend auch in der außenpolitischen Debatte der demokratischen Präsidentschaftskandidaten an Einfluss, stellt Conor Lynch fest. "The failures of liberal internationalism aren't as obvious (or consequential) as the failures of neoconservatism, but much of the global instability that we are experiencing today is a direct result of policies pursued by liberals like Joe Biden over the past few decades. A perfect example of this is the expansion of NATO, which began under Bill Clinton and continued under George W. Bush. (...) If the rise of Trump signaled a death knell for neoconservatism, four years later, a similar process may be starting to play out in the Democratic Party. While last month's debates proved how much progressive ideas are now shaping the party's domestic agenda, a progressive approach to foreign policy also seems to be gaining steam."

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"Trump has reportedly lost interest in regime change in Venezuela. John Bolton has not."

Einem Bericht der Washington Post zufolge hat US-Präsident Trump das Interesse an einem forcierten Regimewechsel in Venezuela verloren. "Trump is clearly frustrated about Venezuela, a foreign policy issue he 'always thought of ... as low-hanging fruit' on which he 'could get a win and tout it as a major foreign policy victory,' one former Trump administration official involved in Venezuela policy tells the Post. (...) In private, Trump 'chewed out his staff' about the failed Venezuela regime change, blaming National Security Adviser John Bolton and his Latin America policy director Mauricio Claver-Carone for getting 'played' by both Guaidó and key Maduro figures, current and former administration officials tell the Post. (...) 'while Trump appears to have withdrawn from the fray, Bolton tweets about Venezuela more than on any other foreign policy issue,' and he's still bullish on thwarting Maduro."

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"America is an empire, not a nation"

Matthew Walther meint, dass Vergleiche des US-Präsidenten mit europäischen Politikern wie Matteo Salvini, Marine le Pen oder Nigel Farage ins Leere führen, da Donald Trump kein nationalistisches, sondern ein imperialistisches Programm verfolge. Die USA seien keine "Nation", sondern ein "Imperium" und sollten sich Walther zufolge auch entsprechend verhalten. "America is not a nation but an empire. She has been one at least since 1945, if not since the end of the Civil War. (...) Where the nationalists go wrong, as they do on the subject of immigration, it is because they are clinging to myths about an American nation instead of admitting the reality of American empire. It is no use denying that millions of people in Latin America would like to come to this country. This is inevitable. Never before in the history of the world have standards of living varied so widely across one easily scalable landmass. This would not be a problem if we took the Monroe Doctrine to its logical conclusion. The drug lords of Central and South America are our problem and our responsibility every bit as much as the barbarians of Gaul were Rome's. The correct response to violence on the American continent is not, as the liberals would have it, accepting an unlimited number of refugees in the imperial capital or the stolid indifference recommended by the nationalists but a campaign of liberation that extends from Argentina to, if necessary, Greenland."

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"Why the fears of a U.S.-China tech cold war are overblown"

James Pethokoukis hält Warnungen vor einem technologischen "Kalten Krieg" zwischen den USA und China für übertrieben. "Beyond its nostalgic moniker, the tech cold war lacks almost all the critical aspects of the successful original. For starters, it's unclear whether the current American president views the Huawei ban or follow-up restrictions on other Chinese firms as anything more than a short-term tactic to get a better trade deal with Beijing. (...) Even assuming Trump has signed on to fighting on this new front, any sort of sustained economic conflict requires serious explanation to the American public. They should understand the broad strategy, the clear goals, and the potential costs. (...) And while the U.S. attempts to work less with China, plenty of nations might deepen their ties. Germany, France, and the Netherlands have all said they will not block Huawei equipment from being used in the expansion of their national 5G networks. (...) The more you look at the idea of a tech cold war — from the lack of serious planning to the problems in disentangling the two ecosystems, the more fanciful it seems."

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"Trump is breaking one of America's worst habits"

Damon Linker meint dagegen, dass Präsident Trump sich mit seiner Entscheidung für einen Truppenabzug aus Syrien und Afghanistan der "schlechten Angewohnheit" der USA entgegengestellt habe, weit entfernte Teile der Welt militärisch kontrollieren zu wollen. Dabei sei es unerheblich, dass Trump die gewohnten sicherheitspolitischen Entscheidungsprozesse in Washington ignoriert habe. "Process is good, but it doesn't guarantee wisdom. (...) this decision was made less than a decade after the 'national security decision-making process' during the administration of George W. Bush gave us the invasion of occupation of Iraq — a policy that plunged the country and, eventually the entire region, into chaos. (...) The United States, unfortunately, has become one — increasingly defining its national interests in terms of its capacity to exert control over ever-widening swaths of the globe, from Niger, Libya, and Somalia to Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and beyond. The effort is both unwise and unsustainable. Anything that helps to break this bad habit should be welcomed. Even if that thing is named Donald Trump."

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"How Trump broke through the moralistic BS of American foreign policy"

Damon Linker begrüßt die Reaktion von US-Präsident Trump auf den Tod des saudi-arabischen Journalisten Jamal Khashoggi als Abkehr von einem außenpolitischen "Moralismus", der den Tod eines Mannes höher bewertet als den Tod tausender Zivilisten beim von den USA unterstützten Bombenkrieg Saudi-Arabiens in Jemen. "That the single death of Khashoggi, tragic as it may be, has garnered far more coverage and provoked far greater indignation among members of the bipartisan foreign policy community and the journalists who report and comment on it does not speak well for anyone involved. On the contrary, it illustrates how the free-floating moralism that suffuses discussions about foreign policy in Washington easily produces paradoxical and even perverse judgments, with the mass suffering of multitudes shrugged off with a fraction of the concern accorded to single individuals. Nothing would be better for America than for this moralism to be dissipated or dispelled — for the country to recover its capacity to think clearly and reasonably about its dealings with the wider world. It's in this one, limited respect that the presidency of Donald Trump, for all of the man's considerable faults, may well end up doing a bit of good — by forcing defenders of America's bipartisan foreign policy consensus to reflect critically on the foolishness that so often follows from their moralistic assumptions."

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"Let Korea fix Korea"

In der westlichen Debatte über die ausbleibenden Ergebnisse der Verhandlungen zwischen den USA und Nordkorea wird nach Ansicht von Bonnie Kristian zu wenig beachtet, dass in den Beziehungen zwischen Nord- und Südkorea langsam aber stetig Fortschritte erzielt werden. Die USA sollten sich diesem Prozess nicht in den Weg stellen, so ihre Empfehlung. "It is now the United States' chief responsibility to get out of the way. (...) Where Trump may happily tout his deal-making prowess with Kim one day only to be buffeted by the bad advice of administration hawks the next, for Moon, a sober and patient approach is the only option. The monstrosity of an avoidable war may be ignored in Washington, but not in Seoul. Moon may not lead exactly as we'd like, but he will not be talked into an unnecessary war the moment Kim strikes an uncooperative tone. To the extent that Trump opened communication with Kim and made the prospect of war with North Korea less likely, he deserves credit for what he's done. But now it is time to do less. Let Korea take it from here."

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"Israel, Gaza, and the end of just wars"

Damon Linker wirft Israel vor, auf die palästinensischen Proteste an der Grenze zu Gaza völlig unverhältnismäßig reagiert zu haben. Dieses Verhalten sei ein weiterer Fingerzeig für das mögliche Ende einer Ära, in der die moralischen Regeln des gerechten Krieges zumindest theoretisch eine Rolle spielten. "Just-war constraints have mainly been followed by the U.S. and its allies, NATO (which is led by the U.S.), and the U.N. (which, when it acts militarily, is also led by the U.S.). It was a choice by these actors on the world stage to impose constraints on themselves — to model a more humane form of warfare in the hope that they could then encourage its spread to other places through a mixture of rhetorical shaming and legal coercion in the form of war-crimes tribunals for violations of international humanitarian law. But the effort appears to be waning. (...) The chilling fact is that if the U.S. gives up on holding the countries of the world to a stringent moral standard in their conduct of war, those constraints will vanish in an instant. We are living through that instant right now. What awaits us on the other side may be every bit as bloody as the history that led us in the first place to long for the imposition of moral limits on war."

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"Why President Trump is in no rush to attack North Korea"

Harry J. Kazianis erläutert, warum er sicher ist, dass US-Präsident Trump trotz seiner aggressiven Rhetorik keinen überraschenden Militärschlag gegen Nordkorea anordnen wird. Das US-Militär wäre demnach gegenwärtig kaum in der Lage, nordkoreanische Atom- und Raketenanlagen effektiv zu zerstören. "For starters, you would need to amass a much larger amount of military firepower in the Asia-Pacific region to ensure you have the assets needed to have a shot at such a goal. That means more bombers, aircraft carriers, attack submarines, and missile defense batteries moved into the region. The challenge is all of this would be highly visible, allowing Kim Jong Un to strike first, potentially with nuclear weapons, knowing he is in a 'use them or lose them situation.' (...) For such a strike to be effective, it needs to have a 100 percent success rate. If you miss just one or two atomic bombs, Kim has every incentive to use what he has left on the biggest targets he can find. And that could mean the death of millions of people in Seoul, Tokyo, or even Los Angeles."

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"America needs to stop treating Putin like a supervillain"

Die Berichterstattung vieler US-Medien leidet Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry zufolge nicht nur unter einem "Trump Derangement Syndrome", sondern auch unter einem "Putin Derangement Syndrome". Die verbreitete Charakterisierung des russischen Präsidenten als "Superschurke" lasse die internationale Politik als "Moralstück" erscheinen und trage so eher zur Verschleierung als zur Aufklärung bei. "Yes, Mitt Romney has been vindicated: Russia is America's number one geopolitical antagonist. That being said, too many Washington Democrats and Republican hawks suffer from a case of Putin Derangement Syndrome that makes them forget how international power politics operates and makes them want to embark on an anti-Russia crusade. The prudent way to deal with Russia is not to look at Russia as an enemy but to look at each theater, each case, and assess it on the merits. It's harder to turn into a slogan, but the reality is that sometimes confronting Russia is a good idea, and sometimes it's not."

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"How Iran hawks are already scuttling the realism of the Trump administration"

Seit dem Amtsantritt Donald Trumps spielten die "Iran-Falken" in der neuen US-Regierung eine immer prominentere Rolle, stellt Michael Brendan Dougherty fest. Die Hoffnungen mancher Trump-Anhänger auf eine realistische und kohärente US-Außenpolitik könnten recht bald enttäuscht werden, so seine Prognose. "And, of course, hawkishness with Iran works against detente with Russia. The Russian government does a fair amount of business with Iran, and the two nations have worked together to shore up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. A foreign policy that was able to detach these two nations from each other would represent a genuine strategic advancement for the United States. But so far it is an open question whether Trump and his advisers even understand this. (...) All in all it's a very poor start for anyone hoping for a realist's course correction to U.S. foreign policy. Trump's sloppiness with the refugee executive order, his belligerence with allies, and his incoherent strategy are leading America to more conflict, not less."

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