While McCain, Obama, and Clinton attend services
of their choice on Sunday, all worship at the shrine of intervention-that-spurs
jihad the rest of the week. Just in the past month, all three have pushed an
interventionist agenda in Pakistan and Kosovo, and, notwithstanding claims by
Obama and Clinton, to a great extent in Iraq. At day's end, each is ready to
intervene abroad to champion abstractions such as democracy rather than U.S.
interests; each is ready to spend the lives of soldiers and Marines to do so;
and each advances the Islamist cause by failing to see that Muslim hatred is
motivated by U.S. interventionism more than any other factor.
In Pakistan, we are seeing the last stage of the destruction of our most important
anti-Islamist ally, Pervez Musharraf. Here is a man who helped us destroy his
nation's ally, the Taliban; caused al-Qaeda to mark him for death; and brought
his nation near to civil war by sending Pakistan's army into the tribal region.
True enough, he has received billions in return and at times duped us, but what
other U.S. ally has done so much that is counter to its national interests?
The answer is none; most of our allies have deserted the Iraq and Afghan coalitions.
As thanks, Washington strengthened Pakistan's Indian enemy, hectored Musharraf
for not doing all of America's dirty work, and generally blamed our coming defeat
in Afghanistan on his refusal to destroy his nation to help us. McCain, Obama,
and Clinton endorsed all this, and they were as aggressive as President Bush
in demanding Musharraf reestablish democracy via an election that further eroded
stability and will open the country's treasury to Pakistan's biggest thieves,
Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zadari. This "success" will force America to
spend more money and lives in Afghanistan, because we neutered a vital ally
for an abstract, unachievable goal – a secular Pakistani democracy. Only al-Qaeda,
the Taliban, and their Pakistani allies benefit.
And then there is Kosovo. Again, McCain, Obama, and Clinton joined Bush in
gleefully applauding Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia. And what
has that action yielded? It lit the fuse burning toward a new Balkan war because
America's bipartisan political class wants to peddle its version of democracy
even if it means stripping the most politically sacred portion of Christian
Serbia and giving it to a Muslim regime that will be a magnet for support from
al-Qaeda, other Islamists, and America's jihad-supporting Arab Peninsula allies.
Bush and the three candidates have committed America's prestige in a region
where no U.S. interests exist. These interventionists will eventually waste
the lives of U.S. troops in a bloody attempt to protect "U. S. credibility"
by trying to stop Serbia's inevitable Russian-backed recovery of Kosovo and
the attendant slaughter of Muslim Kosovars. When the Balkans' smoke clears,
only the Islamists will be victorious.
And finally, Iraq. Bush's stay-the-course doctrine is stridently echoed by
McCain and rhetorically opposed by Obama and Clinton, but the difference is
more apparent than real. Moqtada al-Sadr has extended his cease-fire surge for
another six months; the U.S. military can now continue killing Sunnis so Sadr
will have fewer to kill later. Sadr's brilliant, Machiavellian surge keeps U.S.
casualties down, gives a false sense of increasing Iraqi stability, and allows
McCain to rattle his saber while permitting Obama and Clinton to begin hedging
their demand for withdrawal to avoid appearing as lefty surrenderistas this
Flash ahead to Inauguration Day, 2009. Now in power, the new president – be
it McCain, Obama, or Clinton – will begin seeing "nuances" that require
America to stay in Iraq: to fight terrorism; to prevent civil war; to continue
the Awakening; to plant deeper democratic roots. The list of mitigating nuances
given Americans will be both endless and false.
What the new president will find is that three decades of U.S. intervention
in other peoples' wars – in this case the Arab-Israeli conflict – has locked
us in Iraq because leaving would undermine Israel's security. As I recently
argued in the Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Focus, al-Qaeda has secured
its goal in Iraq, a base to project influence and terror into the Levant and
Israel and is already doing so. If America leaves Iraq, al-Qaeda's base will
solidify and Israel's security will deteriorate; pro-Israel American campaign
funders will demand McCain, Obama, or Clinton defend the Jewish state by staying
in Iraq no matter the cost; and each will do so because each operates under
the delusion that U.S. and Israeli national-security interests are identical.
And the Islamists will have another win.
So vote as they will, these candidates offer Americans no chance of a foreign
policy that accurately gauges the Islamist threat, let alone defeats it. Indeed,
the debate over which candidate is experienced enough to be commander in chief
is farcical; each candidate is an interventionist and will simply abide by the
dogma kept in place by America's political class for 30-plus years. After all,
it takes no experience whatsoever to follow a script whose pages are now discolored
by both age and the blood of America's soldiers and Marines.
And on Inauguration Day, 2013, Americans will find our ruling interventionists
– Republican or Democrat – have U.S. forces fighting in Iraq; have more forces
fighting in Afghanistan; have committed forces in places like the Balkans and
Darfur; and have motivated millions more Muslims to join the jihad by their
policies' impact. For bin Laden and the Islamists, McCain, Obama, or Clinton
equals precisely the same thing – game, set, and, perhaps, match.