Category Archives: Syria

Trump’s Syria decision perfectly reflects the Trump doctrine

Regarding Syria, Trump is fulfilling a prediction I made two years ago about the Trump Doctrine, a repudiation of Wilsonian and Obama foreign policies.

More than 2 years ago, in April 2017, I wrote a post entitled Trump has a pro-American foreign policy that owes nothing to either Wilson or Obama. Although Trump had yet to articulate a policy, I concluded looking at his statements and actions during the campaign and the first three months of his presidency, that he was not only walking away from Obama’s foreign policy, but was also turning his back on 100 years of the Wilson Doctrine (a doctrine that even Obama, in his weird, inverted way, had embraced).

What follows in this post is a shorter version of that 2017 post, along with Obama’s own words about Syria which prove (to my own satisfaction at least), that I nailed the Trump Doctrine. It is, incidentally, a doctrine with which I agree. (If you’d prefer to listen, rather than read, you can find information about the companion podcast here.)

When the Great War (now known as World War I) erupted in 1914, dragging Europe from the pinnacle of civilization into an abyss of mindless killing, President Woodrow Wilson was resolute: America would not enter this foreign war. With the exception of Americans who had arrived recently from Germany or Austria, or who came from intensely German and Austrian enclaves, most Americans agreed.

Although Wilson clung to neutrality for three years, the reality was that, as the years passed that neutrality had a remarkably Anglophile feel to it. Part of this came about because, when war began, the British had cut the transatlantic cable tying America to the continent. This meant that Americans got the British view of the war and not the German – although accurate reports that trickled in about Germans slaughtering French and Belgian civilians would invariably have turned Americans against them. Additionally, American ships could reach Britain, but not the continent.

Because of the shipping, the war created an economic boom for those Americans selling weapons and food to England. Americans therefore increasingly had a vested financial interest in a British victory. There would have been a serious depression in America had Britain lost the war.

For obvious reasons, Germany did not want America to enter the war against it. After 128 Americans died in 1915 when the Germans sank the HMS Lusitania, Germans promised not to attack American ships. However, by 1916, with America funding Britain, Germans reversed that promised, which worried Americans and made them more inclined to war. Then, in 1917, the British revealed the Zimmerman Telegram, an internal German communication that promised a military alliance with Mexico if America formally entered the war. At that point, Americans were so deeply offended they began to demand war.

And that’s where the Wilson Doctrine began. Bowing to public pressure, the formerly anti-war Woodrow Wilson felt obligated to reverse course. In April 1917, he made his famous speech to Congress, one that would set the tone for American foreign policy for almost 100 years. Before reading the key part of the speech, it’s important to realize that Wilson knew, as he wrote his speech, that America did not actually have any good reason to enter the war. Germany was an ocean away and, provided that the U.S. stayed out of the war, which would keep Mexico neutral, Germany did not threaten America’s security or sovereignty. Moreover, if American retreated to true neutrality — that is, if she stopped trading with Britain — Germany would instantly leave her — that is, her shipping — alone.

What Wilson could not admit was the reality driving war: Thanks to his turning a blind eye for three years to America’s ongoing trade with Britain, America had every reason to go into war. As noted above, the U.S. needed a British victory to recoup all the credit it extended to Britain. However, there was no way that Wilson could say that he was sending American boys to a charnel house for crass commercial reasons.

Faced with the need to justify entering the war, when he could not give voice to the true reason, Wilson instead came up with a high-flown moral doctrine justifying America’s entry into the war. And so the Wilson doctrine was born:

We are glad, now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretense about them, to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its peoples, the German peoples included: for the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience. The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them. (Emphasis mine.)

By war’s end, Wilson had come to believe his own rhetoric and, indeed, believed that he had an almost messianic duty to carry it out. The 20th century might have looked very different if the successful Allied powers hadn’t viewed him as a naive American hick and proceeded to destroy what little was left of Germany’s economy, setting the stage for the horrors that would come twenty years later. But that’s a story for an alternative history, not for this post.

Wilson’s idea resonated deeply with an idealistic generation of Americans whose allegiance to the Bible and ties to the original Puritans meant that they had long believed themselves to be residents of a blessed City on a Hill. Of course they would fight to free the world, spreading far and wide the blessings of their own freedom. It did not occur to them then, as it did not occur to Iraq supporters almost 90 years later, that America’s freedoms might in fact be uniquely . . . American.

To show just how deeply the notion of altruistic war reached into American culture, Irving Berlin did his basic training at Camp Yaphank where he wrote a show for the soldiers to perform. Two of his songs are still known today: the plaintive Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning and the rousing God Bless America. But he also wrote a little, forgotten ditty called Kitchen Police, which directly echoed Wilson in the chorus:

Poor little me, I’m on K.P. I scrub the mess hall Upon bended knee. Against my wishes I wash the dishes To make this wide world safe for Democracy.

Even a peeled potato and a clean stack of dishes spoke to America’s beneficence.

So it was that, beginning in 1917, American foreign policy hewed tightly to the Wilson Doctrine. America would not fight for water rights, or to control people, or to gather slaves about her, or for empire, or for power, or for wealth: She would fight altruistically to free people. That’s what America did in WWI, in WWII, in Korea, in Vietnam, in Iraq (twice), and in Afghanistan. She fought on the principle that her blood and wealth, spilled on foreign shores, would free the world from tyrants, to the benefit of all, America included. In 2003, George Bush and the neocons were most certainly acolytes of the Wilson doctrine.

Barack Obama, peculiarly enough, also believed in the Wilson doctrine — or, rather, he believed in a bizarre inversion of the Wilson doctrine. Because Obama viewed America as a Typhoid Mary nation, one that destroyed everything it touched, his idea of making the world safe wasn’t necessarily to make it safe for democracy. It was, instead, to make the world safe from America.

To that end, Obama pulled America out of Iraq and Afghanistan, creating power vacuums that ISIS, the Taliban, and Iran happily filled. Made up to the Mullahs in Iran, the Erdogan Islamists in Turkey, (ironically) Putin and his Russian oligarchs, and a host of bad other actors around the world. The only time Obama would engage in warfare was when he had determined that doing so would not confer any benefit on Americans. At least prior exponents of the Wilson Doctrine believed that bringing democracy to other lands would protect America too. Not Obama….

One could say that, with Obama’s ascendancy came the birth of a subset of the Wilson doctrine: America would make this world safe by leading from behind. Her absence would allow native cultures to flourish in all their morally relativistic beauty.

What I said two years ago, and believe today’s announcements proves correct, is Trump’s foreign policy abandons both those doctrines, each of which is based upon America self-abnegation. Trump does not think America has a duty to make the world safe for democracy. Trump also does not think that America is a toxic nation that needs to make the world safe from itself. Trump simply wants America and Americans to be both safe and prosperous. He’ll do whatever it takes, at home and abroad, to make those twin goals happen.

Two years ago, I also said that, to this end, Trump has no interest in spilling American blood and spending American dollars to make Syria, North Korea, or Afghanistan safe for democracy. He simply wants the bad actors in those nations to know that, if they engage in acts that threaten America or her reliable allies, he will stomp them like bugs, quickly and efficiently.

Lastly, two years ago, I added that, while Trump had not articulated this doctrine, his actions to date had been consistent with it: Leave America alone and she will leave you alone. Be a good friend to America and she will be a good friend to you . . . up to a point. She will not fight your wars for you unless it’s in her interest to do so.

Writing today, Don Surber suggested the Trump has been influenced by the Powell Doctrine. This is a doctrine that Colin Powell came up with after being burned in Vietnam. Interestingly, Powell’s antipathy to Trump is so great that he’s abandoned his own doctrine to attack the president he hates.

The Orange Man — whom everyone who is anyone in Washington and on Martha’s Vineyard laughs at — is carrying out the Powell Doctrine better than Powell did. Remember that? It was Powell’s correction of the awful political expediency that led us into Vietnam — a war he had to fight long after Washington and Martha’s Vineyard had become bored with the whole thing. The Powell Doctrine was idealistic and based on 8 questions:

(1) Is a vital national security interest threatened? (2) Do we have a clear attainable objective? (3) Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed? (4) Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted? (5) Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement? (6) Have the consequences of our action been fully considered? (7) Is the action supported by the American people? (8) Do we have genuine broad international support?

With the above in mind, a theory I advanced two-plus years ago, please consider Trump’s tweets from today.

The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago. We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight. When I arrived in Washington, ISIS was running rampant in the area. We quickly defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate,….. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

….including capturing thousands of ISIS fighters, mostly from Europe. But Europe did not want them back, they said you keep them USA! I said “NO, we did you a great favor and now you want us to hold them in U.S. prisons at tremendous cost. They are yours for trials.” They….. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

…..again said “NO,” thinking, as usual, that the U.S. is always the “sucker,” on NATO, on Trade, on everything. The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades. I held off this fight for…. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

….almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN. Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to….. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

…figure the situation out, and what they want to do with the captured ISIS fighters in their “neighborhood.” They all hate ISIS, have been enemies for years. We are 7000 miles away and will crush ISIS again if they come anywhere near us! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

I was elected on getting out of these ridiculous endless wars, where our great Military functions as a policing operation to the benefit of people who don’t even like the USA. The two most unhappy countries at this move are Russia & China, because they love seeing us bogged….. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

….down, watching over a quagmire, & spending big dollars to do so. When I took over, our Military was totally depleted. Now it is stronger than ever before. The endless and ridiculous wars are ENDING! We will be focused on the big picture, knowing we can always go back & BLAST! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

….the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

I think I nailed it and, as I said at the start of this post, I agree with it. After America twice saved Europe from complete self-destruction, rebuilt it after its second devastating war, and then paid for its so-called socialism for seventy-five years, Europe is so hostile to America it’s indistinguishable from America’s traditional enemies. Europe choked on the gratitude it ought to have felt and opted for moral condescension and preening. Who needs that?

Trump is right too about the Middle East. We can’t fix it with American blood nor should we have to. We will help our allies in ways that do not involve sending our young men and women oversees to get maimed or die. Moreover, Trump is clear that, if those nutcases in the Middle East threaten American interests, at that point he will have no qualms about sending in our military. Our military exists to protect us, not them. That threat alone ought to help keep everyone in line.

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Movies as Political Propaganda: The Battle of Algiers, Part I

In The Battle of Algiers (1966) the Islamic terrorists are viewed as heroic freedom fighters. The truth is they were a bunch of IslamoNazi mass murderers.
In The Battle of Algiers (1966) Islamic terrorists are viewed as heroic freedom fighters. The truth is they were a bunch of IslamoNazi mass murderers.

by Robert J. Avrech

Movies are the most powerful tools of social and political propaganda the world has ever known. Consider: America wins wars only when Hollywood supports the conflict and puts itself squarely behind America’s efforts. During World War II, every studio in Hollywood backed the Allied effort against the Axis. Hollywood stars enlisted for active duty, raised money for war bonds, and the studios produced films that went all out for freedom and liberty against the tyranny of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Hollywood played a huge role in America’s victory.

Contrast Vietnam. Hollywood, overwhelmingly anti-war, produced a series of movies that undermined the American effort against the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. Hollywood knew that with a few clever, glossy films (most notably “Coming Home” (’78), starring Jane Fonda and Jon Voight) and their carefully-manufactured anti-war narratives, it could undermine American foreign policy and turn heroic GIs into psychotic baby-killers. America lost Vietnam.

In our times, Hollywood produced several high profile movies that argued against America’s military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not one of the films was profitable, but the damage was done. America withdrew from both fronts. IslamoNazis filled the vacuum — and Hollywood will never take notice or assume any responsibility for the chaos and mass murder it helped to create.

Fade In:

Intertitle: Movies Are a Moral Landscape

The Battle of Algiers, (1965) directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, a perennial favorite on college campuses, is hailed as a modern classic. Certainly the skillful use of black & white cinema verite is highly effective, making the viewer feel as if he’s been plunged into the heart of the Algerian maelstrom. The scenes of torture and terror are stomach churning. The score, by the great Ennio Morricone with some input by the director, is one of the most rousing and effective in film history. The film cleverly gives the impression of giving a balanced view of the conflict, with a particularly poignant scene where a cafe filled with French Algerians is bombed. But  let’s be clear, the film is a work of leftist propaganda that seamlessly justifies Islamic terror by proposing that the French were so brutal that the Algerians had no choice but to resort to unrestrained terror.

Director Gillo Pontecorvo was an assimilated Italian Jew from a wealthy family. But like so many secular Jews, he was drawn to the fanatic cult of Communism. Das Kapital in place of Torah. The Battle of Algiers is Pontecorvo’s penultimate work of cinematic propaganda. 

Let’s examine the real Battle of Algiers, free from the romantic imagery presented by Pontecorvo where Islamic terrorists are accorded heroic and mythic status. In truth, they were a bunch of sharia-spouting thugs, oppressors of women, and, of course, virulent Jew haters. In short: bloodthirsty IslamoNazis.

The finest source for the history of the Algerian conflict is A Savage War of Peace, Algeria, 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne.

It is the definitive account of one of the dirtiest colonial war of the 20th century. We tend to think of the French as a bunch of cowards and collaborators, their tanks welded into reverse gear. But in Algeria the French were, at first, determined and unbelievably ferocious. Once the Algerians revolted, the French army and especially the French Foreign Legionwhose ranks included numerous German POW volunteers, plus several Nazi war criminals escaping persecution—followed a scorched earth policy.

In 1954, the Legion was deployed from Indochina to Algeria. The shock and humiliation of the defeat at Dien Bien Phu was fresh in the minds of the proud Legionnaires and they were determined to erase that shameful episode. But the Legion were not the only troops ready to sacrifice and claim victory. As Horne writes:

“…the [French] army, incorporating Sengalese units legendary for their ferocity, subjected suspected Muslim villages to systematic ratissage–literally a ‘raking over’, a time-honored word for pacifying operations. This involved a number of summary executions. Of the less accessible mechtas, or Muslim villages, more than forty were bombed by Douglas dive-bombers…”

And this was just the opening salvo of the battle. It got worse. Much worse. The level of ferocity, on both sides, almost unimaginable.

Interpolation: Because Yours Truly Sees Connections Between Past & Present

The Palestinians are a lucky people because their enemies are Jews. Any other foe, especially other Arabs, would have wiped them off the face of the earth a long time ago.

In February 1982 the Syrian regime, feeling threatened by opponents of the Assad family  and the Alawite minority to which the Assad clan belongs, committed a massacre of over 25,000 men, women and children in the town of Hama, where opposition was centered. Scores of young girls were gang-raped by the Syrian soldiers and then shot in the public bathroom ‘Hamam Alsadia.’ The current slaughter in the state formerly known as Syria can be seen as continuation of Hama with Iran and Russia throwing in to protect Assad. 

 If Israel is foolish enough to surrender Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians, as she did with Gaza, then Jordan will have to square off against ISIS, Hamas, Hizbullah, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and thanks to Obama and the Democrat party, a nuclear capable Iran. These and other sharia-yearning barbarians will rush into the vacuum. The IslamoNazis will certainly move to overthrow the detested Hashemite Kingdom. For some Arabs, this will be payback for the 1970 Black September.

If that happens, buckle up for some old fashioned blood-letting. You can bet that the Jordanians will not use targeted assassinations like the Israelis.There will be mountains of Arab Muslim corpses choking the River Jordan. Or the conflict will spell the end of the Jordanian state—Trans-Jordan was created by Winston Churchill—and you can just say, “Howdy” to a completely insane Iranian proxy.

End Interpolation

The leaders of the Algerian revolt kept telling their cadres to have patience. Democracies, they lectured, cannot endure long wars. Democracies have a built-in weakness: elections. And wars are bad for elections. Democracies demand immediate results.

“We can hang on forever,” Ahmed Ben Bella explained to his men, “we can fight and fight, whereas democracies like France have to go to their citizens and explain why their men are dying. And sooner or later, they will grow sick of it. Democracies are inherently weak for they have no patience.”

This theme rises again and again in Horne’s invaluable book, and though the French fought in Algeria for eight long and bloody years, Ben Bella was right. In fact, the Battle of Algiers almost brought revolution to the streets of France, and mutiny in the French army.


The Algerian insurgents were, at the beginning, a mix of westernized intellectuals and Muslim fundamentalists, but soon enough the Islamic jihadists took control. Simply put, they were merciless, willing to commit the kind of atrocities that placed them in the vanguard.

It is vital to understand that what is going on in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Kenya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sweden, France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, England, Israel and now America, is part of an old and reliable guerrilla playbook. If you don’t understand Islamic terror and it’s parallel political stages (which includes mass migration) then you are fated to be crushed beneath the wheels of the Islamic fascists. There is nothing improvised or accidental about the daily homicides by IslamoNazis across the globe. It is a carefully constructed Islamist tactic pioneered and made holy by Muhammed, Islam’s founder, that is part of a grand strategy aimed at the soft heart of non Muslim societies.

Algiers is where the IslamoNazis first perfected terror.

The strategy for modern terrorism was defined by the Brazilian guerrilla leader, Carlos Marighela, before he was hunted down and killed:

“It is necessary to turn political crisis into armed conflict by performing violent actions that will force those in power to transform the political situation of the country into a military situation. That will alienate the masses, who, from then on, will revolt against the army and the police and blame them for this state of things.”

Marighela’s philosophy is simple and effective: using terrorism will inevitably provoke the forces of law and order to strike back with overwhelming force and repression thereby alienating the hitherto uncommitted native population. The idea is to polarize the situation into two extreme camps and make impossible any dialogue of compromise by eradicating the soft center.

Wrote Marighela:

“The government can only intensify its repression thus making the life of its citizens harder than ever… The population will refuse to collaborate with the authorities, so that the latter will find the only solution to their problems lies in having recourse to the actual physical liquidation of their opponents. The political situation of the country will become a military situation…”

It was along this simple but effective doctrine that the Algerians started their war against civilians—without mercy.

The opening attack came in a small hot place called Philippeville.

French-Algerian children massacred at Phillippeville by IslamoNazis.
French-Algerian children massacred by IslamoNazis at Philippeville, 1955.

Establishing Shot:

Philippeville was a small mining center of about 130 French Algerians, the pieds-noirs and about 2,000 Muslims, who for years had coexisted amicably. Apparently, labor relations were extremely good with a rare degree of equality and cooperation between Muslim and European.

It appears that the whole Muslim community was aware of what was about to happen on August 20, 1955. A number of Muslim families even left town in advance of the coming massacre.

But no one warned the French Algerians.


Shortly before noon, four groups of fifteen to twenty Muslim men attacked the village, taking it completely by surprise. They were led by Muslim mineworkers who knew each house and their neighbors. Intimately.

Telegraph lines were cut, the emergency radio transmitter was found to be “out of order” and the village constable who was equipped with warning rockets had “disappeared.”

The Muslim attackers went from house to house, slaughtering all the European occupants: men, women, children, and infants. All the time egged on by Muslim women with their eerie ululations. From the Mosque came exhortations to slit the throats of women and their nurses in the cause of jihad.

It was not until two o’clock in the afternoon that a French Para unit managed to reach the town. An appalling sight greeted them. In houses literally washed with blood, European mothers were discovered with their throats slit and their bellies slashed open by billhooks. Children had suffered the same fate. Infants had had their brains dashed against the wall. A young mother was disemboweled, her five-day old baby slashed to death and replaced in her open womb.

Four entire families had been wiped out to the last member; only six who had barricaded themselves in a house in the center of the village and had held out with sporting rifles and revolvers had survived.

Men returning from the mines had been ambushed in their cars and hacked to pieces. Altogether thirty-seven Europeans had died, including ten children under fifteen, and another thirteen had been left for dead.

Not surprisingly, Pontecorvo did not include the Philippeville massacre in his film. Dramatically, it would have shredded his carefully constructed thesis.

According to Horne, the reaction of the French army was immediate. Out in the streets they found:

“…bodies literally strewed the town. The Arab children, wild with enthusiasm–to them it was a great holiday–rushed about yelling among the grown-ups. They finished off the dying. In one alley we found two of them kicking in an old woman’s head. We had to kill them on the spot: they were crazed…”

The reprisals were severe. The Algerians claim that as many as 12,000 were killed by the French. The French claim, 1,273. We will never know the truth.

But the Philippeville Massacre had its intended impact. The polarizing effect of which Marighela spoke immediately took place. The Battle of Algiers went on for eight long bloody years. The brutality on both sides was unspeakable for there was a burning river of blood between the French and the Algerians after Philippeville.

Next Week, Part II, The Jews of Algeria

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