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Kissinger’s tone of strategic relativism is, of course, nothing new. Hence, it’s no surprise to see him attempting to allay Russian concerns by arguing that “Ukraine needs to be embedded in the structure of European and international security architecture in such a way that it serves as a bridge between Russia and the West, rather than as an outpost of either side.” Solomonesque in tone, in practice, it amounts to “splitting the baby” in a way that will kill the baby.
If we’ve learned anything from the last 35 years, it is that there is a critical mass of people in the Middle East who support jihad and terrorist activities against the West. Yesterday’s al Qaeda that became today’s Daesh will become tomorrow’s unnamed lightning rod for radical jihadists. This whack-a-mole existence is no way to secure the future, but there are several actions we can take now to minimize the known unknowns of tomorrow.
On Thursday, Senator Ted Cruz resurrected former UN Ambassador under Reagan and AEI scholar Jeane Kirkpatrick’s “Dictatorships and Doubled Standards” argument that the US should not go around knocking off dictators in the name of advancing democracy or human rights. But when push came to shove, the “Dictatorships and Double Standards” foreign policy model didn’t last under Reagan, and it won’t work any better under Ted Cruz.
The deployment of special operations forces to northern Syria is a public relations campaign and a last-gasp tactic masquerading as prudence and strategy. What’s needed in Syria is a real strategy, one that matches America’s aims with its capabilities; a display of unequivocal strength instead of incrementalism and hesitation.