America as planetary policeman: “When an entire political establishment says a decision is mad, I tend to think something in it must be right.”


From the very inception of this blog in 2004, our credo has remained consistent.

New Albany is a state of mind … but whose? Since 2004, we’ve been observing the contemporary scene in this slowly awakening old river town. If it’s true that a pre-digital stopped clock is right twice a day, when will New Albany learn to tell time?

Neither Jeff Gahan nor Donald Trump are right very often, but the law of averages as symbolized by NAC’s stopped pre-digital clock suggests both occasionally will stumble on truth by accident.

As such, Trump’s assertion that “the United States cannot continue to be policeman to the world,” while lost amid the clamor of his Mexican wall boneheadedness, is worthy of examination and support. This British fellow explains.

Trump has a point – the world should start solving its own problems, by Simon Jenkins (The Guardian)

For all his antics on the Mexican border, the US president is right to be withdrawing troops from Syria

 … when an entire political establishment says a decision is mad, I tend to think something in it must be right. Thus with Trump’s announcement last month that he was pulling America’s 2,000 troops out of Syria. “They’re all coming back, and they’re coming back now,” he tweeted emphatically. That he could do this after an amiable chat with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and without telling his commanders, was staggering.

Trump’s argument is that getting out of America’s wars was a campaign pledge. The Syrian intervention was never meant to be permanent and had already crippled Isis. “People are going to have to start doing a lot of their own work,” he added, “because the United States cannot continue to be policeman to the world” …

Going deeper:

Trump is entitled to put “America first” in the Middle East, and that slogan may explain his trade barriers against Canada and China. But like the Mexican wall, such policies have nothing to do with America’s national security. The US must be the safest country on the planet. Its home territory has never been so much as menaced by a foreign power, let alone invaded. Two oceans protect it east and west. 9/11 aside, terrorist incidents have been homegrown. Wars abroad, from Vietnam to Syria, have reflected some neo‑imperial hegemonic urge, similar to that which used to grip Britain. The effect has been to turn the US from policeman to random vigilante.

The politics of fear has long been the default mode of the insecure statesman. The parading of military muscle still permeates the US’s public realm and has become a shop window for what President Eisenhower termed the anti-democratic “military-industrial complex”. Its endless aggrandisement boosts military spending and upholds the cause of an American presence across the globe. It worships daily at the altar of national security.

American aid to Nato has long underpinned Europe’s security, but that does not undermine Trump’s challenge, that the rest of the world should start solving its own problems …