The world is worse off for not having leaders like Reagan, Churchill, etc. who understood that they were accountable to a power far greater than the office on loan to them.
I miss them.
The world is worse off for not having leaders like Reagan, Churchill, etc. who understood that they were accountable to a power far greater than the office on loan to them.
I miss them.
Popular author, public speaker and Evangelical, Beth Moore has officially removed herself from the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Washington Post, in an article copy and pasted from Religion News Service, added their weight behind the insinuation that Moore’s departure was the result of Trumpism, sexism, and bullying.
As part of a longish biographical sketch, the RNS/WAPO piece described Moore as an ‘unlikely celebrity Bible teacher’, who was a threat to those within the SBC because her ‘outsized influence and role in teaching the Bible have always made some evangelical power brokers uneasy, because of their belief only men should be allowed to preach.’
Faithwire appropriately added that ‘the “Beth Moore brand’s” partnership with the SBC was over’ (slightly paraphrased). Then stated that Moore’s departure was due to how she ‘no longer felt at home’ there, hence her announcement on Religion News Service that she was “no longer a Southern Baptist.”
While the RNS/WAPO article gives a well-deserved glowing rendition of Moore’s noteworthy calibre as a ministry team leader, and evangelist, there was little mention of Moore’s move towards accommodating Social Justice ideology, in an appeal to the Social Justice Warrior mentality.
To fill in the gaps WAPO left behind, it’s Moore’s slow embrace of Critical Race Theory, and apparent watering down of the Bible that has some in the SBC concerned. Not Moore’s gender, success and popularity.
As Black Lives Matter critic, Darrell B. Harrison, dean of Social Media at Grace to You, has articulated at length since 2018 about what he sees as Moore’s move to syncretise Christ’s liberation, with Marxist Liberation Theology:
‘Beth Moore is a self-centered, cowardly opportunist. She is a woke fraud. Only when this current wave of social justice/CRT became the cause du jour within the SBC did she begin to conveniently, and disingenuously, comment on it. Prior to that—crickets!’
With his extensive list of credentials and experience, it’d be hard to argue that Harrison’s observations (however harsh they may appear to be) of Moore’s political theology were wrong. Worth noting, in response to his early criticisms expressed on Twitter, Moore blocked him.
Her own concerns might be more complex and nuanced, (like SBC member’s fragmented support for Donald Trump), but blocking out concerned stakeholders from engaging with her journey through those concerns, only appears to back claims that Moore’s public displays of concern, especially for black America are, in the end, self-serving.
There’s no way around ignoring how Moore has positioned her brand, and with her departure from the SBC, is perhaps repositioning her theology. She is fast becoming the Oprah of the Evangelical world. Not entirely a bad thing, unless there’s an empire to maintain. Ears to tickle. Fame to be had, drama to capitalise on, and fast money to gain.
Moore appears to have done everything she possibly could to push others away, and herself out. Removing herself from the SBC is akin to a celebrity tantrum. Thrown because the majority refuse to entertain virtue signalling, or surrender to Critical Race Theory, and compromise the Gospel by removing Christ, and coronating Marx in His place.
This isn’t unfair criticism when viewed in the context of her appeal to unfair, bandwagon hysteria.
While the Pauline view is that only men should hold the office of pastor. Nowhere does Paul say women aren’t entitled to a voice, or having an opinion. Regardless of its clumsy nature, Moore was given a platform for the latter, tolerated, celebrated, promoted, critiqued, and embraced.
Her decision to leave isn’t a betrayal, or abandonment, but many may see it as just that.
Despite the SBC’s flaws, it’s not Beth Moore’s theology that’s outgrown them, it’s her apparent compromise with the zeitgeist, allowing the post-Christian culture, not Christ to determine The Way forward for the Church.
First published on Caldron Pool, 10th March 2021.
©Rod Lampard, 2021
Trump has conceded the 2020 election to Joe Biden. In his speech, the President first condemned the ‘heinous attack on the Capitol’ saying he was ‘outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem.’
Before Trump was permanently banned from Twitter, he called for calm, asserting that ‘America must get on with business’, and that his ‘only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote.’
The president added that he was committed to a peaceful transfer of power, stating, ‘my focus now turns to ensuring a smooth orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.’
What’s important to stop and recognise here is that this concession doesn’t mean Trump has to surrender to blatant injustices committed by monolithic, and now potentially unstoppable faceless power brokers behind the scenes. Among them, Big Tech and legacy media.
Trump’s next move should be to:
The biggest ally Trump can count on is one who’ll tell him the truth; who isn’t afraid to say “Bad Trump” or “Good Trump”, as Ben Shapiro has done when the hot, political tamale is in play.
2. Establish an election integrity foundation.
Regroup, fight back against the system from within the system. Outsmart, and outplay corrupt stakeholders who hold the keys to voting booths and electoral tickets. Trump should petition for an independent Electoral Commission, voter I.D, an end to ballot harvesting, and electronic voting systems.
3. Back alternative social media platforms such as Parler, Connectzing, MeWe and Rumble.
Platforms who aren’t in the back pocket of Christophobic, anti-classical liberal Radical Leftists sitting on golden thrones in Silicon Valley at the expense of freedom.
4. Look towards 2024, with an eye to what happened in 2020.
Not as a candidate, but backing candidates from among the few Republicans and even Democrats who’ve backed him. One team suggestion might be Tulsi Gubbard, and Ted Cruz. Even a Tulsi/Ivanka power ticket would send the Radical Democrats into a tail spin.
5. Trump should take a leaf out of Chuck Colson’s journey.
Perhaps the greatest thing Trump could do to dump hot coals on the heads of his haters, is live out his alleged Christian faith with greater vigour. To put his faith in Christ, his best foot forward, letting God take care of the rest.
As John wrote,
‘By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.’ (1 John 4:2-4, ESV)
If many on the Left are doing business with the Devil, as is apparent by the blurring of distinctions, hijacking of definitions, preaching of falsehoods, confusion, and the gaslighting of all who argue an opposing viewpoint, Trump and his supporters cannot fail if they appeal to a theology of the cross, not a theology of glory.
Events from 2016 onwards are visible signs that the United States is dying a slow death by a thousand self-inflicted cuts.
We’re seeing the fruit of this self-harm, pushed since 2016 by mostly those on the Left, in how it benefits leftist fat cats, career politician Rhinos, fringe political extremists, and sycophantic “centrists.”
What should concern everyone is that under the cover of COVID-19, Radical Democrats seem to have hatched a way to manufacture election wins without even trying. Consequently, this could be the beginning of one-party rule in the United States.
The kind of one-party rule that seems to hover over California, which has only a veneer of choice at the voting booth remaining, may be reflected in the federal governing structure.
Where, like all standard dictatorships, so Jacques Ellul observed, the idea of choice is entertained, even promoted, all in order to give the people the feeling that they have a Democratic voice. However, in reality that freedom is an illusion designed to appease the populace, and outsiders.
Under the cover of COVID-19 they are turning neighbour against neighbour, and man against God. Then justifying it with manipulative slogans to condition people to be seen, but not heard, speak only when spoken to, and to leap without looking, when they say “jump!”
The Apostle Paul’s words to the Church in Thessalonica still ring true today for any confessing Christian with ears to hear, ‘You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.’ (1 Thess. 5:5, NIV)
Nothing in recent history has brought us as close to the Johannine predictions of anti-christ.
If Trump fails to do any of these things; if he fails to uphold grace and truth in the face of an increasingly one-sided, belligerent aggressor, the next to follow the beheading of truth on the Leftist’s gallows is justice.
First published on Caldron Pool, 10th January, 2020.
©Rod Lampard, 2020.
Ronald Reagan had a unique distaste for career politicians sucking wealth out of D.C.’s tax-payer funded tenure. Most too often more in tune with self-service, than public service. He also had a keen dislike for the faulty, seized-up mechanical inner-workings of Washington.
Reagan was a citizen president. He poked fun at the self-importance of the political class, and wasn’t afraid to include himself in it.
Talking to a gathering of Independent television stations two years after being elected to office, Reagan quipped,
‘”I sometimes think that government is like that definition – that old definition of a baby. It’s an alimentary canal with an appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”
Reagan came to office at the end of a dismal decade. In large part because Reagan was, as John O’Sullivan also wrote of Thatcher and Pope John Paul II, ‘one of the apostles of hope’, when despair, fear, and doom, was the order of the day.
The 70s were turbulent. Global instability was everywhere.
The mid to late 60s were an open wound. Peace in Vietnam War was won, and then lost by diplomatic fumbling. Americans were confronted with deep state political corruption, and suffered through a series of fearmongering, joyless Presidential leaders from Republicans to Democrats.
The biggest issue of them all was the “Energy Crisis.”
Concerns over the “Energy Crisis” – a decline in domestic energy production, coupled with Lyndon Johnson’s environmental restrictions, and an OPEC embargo (a consequence of America’s support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War), resulting in high oil prices – was echoed by both sides of the political aisle, coupled with apocalyptic projections, and big government solutions to them.
Republican, President Richard Nixon’s proposed energy rationing, was later extended by Democrat, President Jimmy Carter, who, in 1979, told Americans that the “energy crisis” was here to stay. Then tabled a policy around big government control, such as mandatory rationing. (The 1970s version of “the new normal.”)
Carter’s panic rode on the back of urgency, caused by a drop in global oil supply, a consequence of the 1979 Islamist, Iranian revolution.
His six-point plan delivered the same year, included an increase in taxes, ‘mandatory conservation, gasoline rationing’, ‘expanding public transportation’, and creating a new government department to oversee energy rationing, and conservation.
Carter’s speech wove the “energy crisis” into a “crisis of confidence,” telling Americans that they were losing their sense of purpose, and needed to act:
“I’m asking you for your good and for your nation’s security, to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel. Every act of energy conservation like this is more than just common sense, I tell you it is an act of patriotism.”
Carter’s blame shifting by way of his infamous “crisis of confidence” gave Reagan an edge.
Who said in return that,
“it’s true there’s a lack of confidence, an unease with things the way they are, but the confidence we’ve lost is confidence in our Government’s policies…there remains the greatness of our people, our capacity for dreaming up fantastic deeds and bringing them off to the surprise of an unbelieving world.” (NYT, 14th November, 1979)
Six years after the success of Reagan’s ‘supply-side mix’ policies, which reduced ‘intrusive and overburdening taxation, regulatory, and currency policies’, delivering an effective resolution to the ‘Energy Crisis’, Reagan told administration supporters,
“I’ve always thought that the common sense and the wisdom of the Government were summed up in a sign they used to have hanging on that gigantic Hoover Dam. It said: “Government Property. Do Not Remove.” (29th June, 1987)
It’s often said that we don’t vote for individuals, we vote for political parties, their politicians, and their current policy platform.
The 2020 choice for Americans gives this axiom resonance.
The Trump/Pence vs. Biden/Harris ballot is a ballot between a citizen President, and career politicians.
Similar in many ways to the context of Reagan vs. Carter in ’79.
One side speaks of hope, freedom, individual responsibility, perseverance, ingenuity, and protections for civil liberties.
The other speaks of crisis upon crisis; of doom, and destruction. From which they preach that only the political class, correct alignment with Leftism, and big government can save us.
Such as, Joe Biden’s “dark winter”, the alleged crises of “institutional racism”, “an unbeatable, Covid-19,” “the new normal of wearing masks, enduring lockdowns, and losing livelihoods in economic shutdowns”; unhealthy fear of conservatives in the supreme court, and apocalyptic “climate change.”
Joe Biden is too entrenched in the game to see that he is the D.C. “swamp”, that leftist activists, are part of the establishment, dancing Carter’s “crisis of confidence”, bureaucratic two-step: the art of blaming others, and looking busy while achieving nothing at all.
On this basis, a vote for Biden is a retreat into darkness. It’s a vote for a “crisis of confidence”; a vote for career politicians who are guarded by leftist activists, and guided by the idolatry inherent within their ideological nonsense.
As Ronald Reagan said in 1964,
“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.”
“We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.” (A Time For Choosing)
[i] Cited by Karl Menninger, 1976. Whatever became of Sin? p.142
[ii] O’Sullivan, J. 2006. The President, The Pope & The Prime Minister, Regnery Publishing
First published on Caldron Pool, 28th October, 2020.
©Rod Lampard, 2020.
Mostly “White”, non-local Black Lives Matter supporters allegedly torched a good portion of Kenosha’s black business district in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
The New York Post cited locals saying ‘protesters were destroying the lives of black business owners and families.’
The NYPost added that ‘several black neighbors were seen angrily screaming at some of the rioters who torched a building that collapsed, saying “it ain’t black lives matter” when they destroy the neighborhood, according to a clip recorded by Brendan Gutenschwager.’
Blake refused to comply with stand down requests from the officers, who, Tatum said were there in response to a “domestic violence situation, and may have been acting on a warrant for Blake’s arrest.” Tatum added that “it appears as though Blake was not where he should have been.”
Madison365 obtained audio which confirmed this, stating that ‘someone called police to report that Blake was at her home and wasn’t supposed to be, and that he had taken her keys and was refusing to give them back. A dispatcher relayed this message to patrol officers at about 5:11 pm Sunday.’
Video footage shows that Blake walked back to his car after a tussle with the police officers, then reached into the left side his vehicle, appearing to ignore calls from his family to stop.
Staff writer for the Washington Post, Jaclyn Peiser asserted on Twitter, that Jacob Blake told investigators he had a knife in his possession, and that Officer Rusten Sheskey (now on administrative leave) was the only officer to fire.
Sheskey apparently fired seven shots, hitting the 29-year-old four-five times from behind, after Blake had refused to stand-down, and then refused to stop reaching into his car.
The officers rendered medical assistance, and had Blake airlifted to hospital, where he is said to be in a critical condition, and could end up paralyzed from the waist down.
Quick to post anything that feeds their confirmation bias, social media pundits reposted the event, without all the information, triggering three days of riots, which has seen ‘three shot, two fatally’ (The Post Millennial).
Despite widespread reports of locals protecting business from Black Lives Matter supporter attacks. These latter shootings lit up social media with false claims of racist attacks from white men with guns, firing into protestors.
These claims were quickly refuted by The Blaze’s man-on-the-ground, Elijah Schaffer who disproved the “fake news” after posting video and audio, providing context. Schaffer’s evidence proved that at least one of the shooters (now arrested and charged with murder) was protecting a business, after also offering aid to protesters earlier in the night.
Rebel News reported that the local Mayor and Sheriff called on the Trump administration for additional assistance, which was swiftly offered to the state, but that the offer of help was rejected by Tony Evers, the state’s Democrat governor, who had already ‘reportedly dispatched 250 National Guardsmen’ to assist law enforcement in protecting lives and livelihoods.
Townhall senior writer, Julio Rosas’ twitter thread helped unpacked the event and fallout. Reuters did the same. Adding that Blake’s civil rights lawyer said that his three sons witnessed the clash between Blake and the police, and that Blake was trying to ‘break up a quarrel between two women.’
Blake’s family have condemned the riots, while also expressing frustration and bewilderment at the police departments use of excessive force, telling CNN,
“My family and I are very hurt and quite frankly disgusted, as his mother, please don’t burn up property and cause havoc and tear your own homes down in my son’s name. You shouldn’t do it…[Don’t use] our tragedy to react in that manner is just not acceptable ”
Just Thinking Podcast co-host, and Caldron Pool contributor, Darrell B. Harrison, calling out the selective outrage from BLM supporters responding to LeBron James’ expletive “F*$K THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT” rant on Twitter, saying,
‘notwithstanding his use of profanity in expressing himself, I’m pleased to see that Mr. James is so righteously indignant about the murder of little 8-year old Secoria Turner. Oh, wait. My bad. Secoria Turner’s killer was black. As you were, LeBron.’
As did ex-police officer, Brandon Tatum, stating that these activists and riots, are nowhere to be seen when an innocent black kid is killed by a drive-by shooting in their own community, by members of that community.
He noted that calls for accountability for the police, should be matched with calls for the accountability for those who provoke the police, or put themselves in compromising situations that trigger an individual being shot by authorities, in order to be stopped.
According to updated reports from the Department of Justice, on the shooting of Jacob Blake, he was reaching for a weapon.
Predictably, Democrat presidential hopeful, Joe Biden, decided to ride the wave of anti-police, race baiting violence, adding his two cents on Twitter.
The two times Democrat vice-president sprayed fuel on already burning Democrat cities in an obvious attempt to ply some political leverage from the tragedy, saying in a video posted to Twitter: ‘Once again, a Black man — Jacob Blake — was shot by the police. In front of his children. It makes me sick. Is this the country we want to be? Needless violence won’t heal us. We need to end the violence — and peacefully come together to demand justice.’
Blake’s shooting raises question about excessive force, and furthers the argument for police reform, but in context, it does not justify violence or anti-police retribution killings, especially when that violence targets the black community.
Given the context, the shooting of Blake raises awareness about the need for the community to understand law enforcement procedures, and respond to them accordingly, if officers attend a scene, regardless of their shade of melanin.
As Tatum advised: ‘Do what the cops say. Live to get that lawsuit, cause if I’m arrested for no reason, I’m suing. That’s how you should be playing the cards!’
If black lives mattered to Black Lives Matter, then consistency and follow through would address the widespread crime in black communities, broken homes, and internationally, this would involve the urgency to support rescue from, and protest against the mass injustices and suffering which occurs in parts of the African continent on a regular basis.
First published on Caldron Pool, 27th August 2020.
©Rod Lampard, 2020.
He admonishes complacency, retreat and inaction without slipping into an apocalyptic moralistic rant about a wayward world. The value here, at least for me anyway, is found in its prescience, and Henry’s focus on truth vs. falsehood, as opposed to Right vs. Left; sinner vs. sinless.
Henry pivots his entire discourse on a Socratic question, asking readers to note, reflect, and deflect neo-paganism’s self-evident cultural contamination of the West through Secular Humanism. Centre-stage is the salvific importance of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.
This is because as long as God’s freely spoken Word remains free to be spoken; it will always restrain the ‘isms, and false gods we create in our own image. This restraint comes in the form of confrontation and correction. It isn’t for the betterment or advance of an ideology. Nor is it to candy coat a totalitarian overreach of religion. It’s for our betterment and advance, because of God’s love for us.
When the Word of God no longer is free, the boxing in of the Creator reaps the inevitable backwards movement of the creature. Man and woman position themselves as lord over the Word. They operate as lawless, under the false idea that they are lordless. This happens when the free Word of God is distorted, made abstract and alien; re-imagined through the lens of human ideas, imagination, superstition, and false myth.
For Henry, the subjugation of the free, objectively spoken Word of God is an abandonment of reason, faith and ultimately true humanity.
‘History loosed from God can be a pattern of meaningless cycles, each turning inward, or an arena in which the superman imagines himself to be its divine Lord’ (1988, p.35).
He correctly warns,
‘when contemporary theologians call for works, and not words – beware!’ Adding, ‘we must not be timid and isolate ourselves…we must not be held at bay by the powers of this world or defanged by the spirit of the age.’ (Henry, 1988. pp.54-55)
Melanie Phillips provides an apt example of this in her discussion on the downgrading of the Anglican Church. Its accommodation of moral and cultural relativism, surrender to victim culture (Cultural Marxism), and inclusivity can be linked to abusive New Age cults rising within the church.
The Anglican Church in Britain let the ‘welfare state displace Christianity.’ The church surrendered its convictions, and ‘retreated from the public square’, knocking the everyday relevance of Christianity from its rightful place in British society.
Hence Melanie’s conclusion,
‘While ‘the decline of the church has contributed in great measure to the decline of Britain, it is also arguable that the decline of Britain has contributed in large measure to the decline of the church.’ (‘World Turned Upside Down’, 2010)
The primary theme addressed by Henry is that institutional Christianity ‘dropped the barricade against paganism, has been too busy powdering it’s nose to preserve an attractive image; and too busy pandering to revolutionaries and reactionaries who need to be remade in Christ’s image’ instead the Church allowing them to remake Christ in theirs. (p.17)
This protest is about getting our own house in order before looking to bring order to an ever increasingly disordered world.
‘It makes a critical difference whether or not one thinks and acts christianly.
• If one believes that God is the supreme Sovereign, one will not be deluded by myths about Hitler or Stalin or Mao or by emperors like the Roman Caesars or the German Kaiser Wilhelm, who proclaimed “Deutschland uber Alles!” (Germany above all)
• If one believes that God is creator of the planets and stars, one will pity sun-worshippers and horoscope addicts and all who think that human life is merely a cosmic accident.
• If one believes that God created humanity in the divine image, one will not consider women inferior to men, or give credence to apartheid and myths about racial superiority.
• If one believes that God instituted monogamous marriage – so that father, mother, and offspring conceived in wedlock form the ideal home – one will think differently about the single woman who wants a child outside of marriage, and about artificial insemination of a woman with the sperm of an unknown father.
• If one believes that God fixes the boundaries of the nations, one will know that it is not military might alone that ultimately will decide the fortunes of the United States or Soviet Russia or Mainland China and Hong Kong.
• If one believes that God is omniscient, one will not think one can hide the way one does one’s business, or that what one does in the privacy of one’s home can be hidden [forever].
• If one believes that God made human beings to think His thoughts after Him, one will not stock one’s soul with salacious literature or steep his spirit in pornographic publications.
• If one believes that God intends the human body to be a temple of the Holy Spirit, one will not debilitate it with alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.
• If one believes that God works out for good whatever touches the life of His children, one will not respond as pagans do to the loss of a job, to terminal illness, or to the unexpected death of a loved one.
• If one believes that God commands us to love our neighbours as ourselves, one will not leave a neighbour in need or trouble to fend for himself or herself, but will treat the neighbour as extended family.’ (pp.119-120)
This marks the prescience of Henry’s work (that of Melanie Phillips, and even Jordan Peterson, who has talked about the consequences of removing the Logos from Western Civilization).
All three point to the dehumanizing consequences of removing the free, objectively spoken Word of God (the Logos) from the centre of society, politics and religion.
The right response to compromise is acknowledging where, why and how it exists. This includes the uncritical Christian accommodation for neo-paganism under the banner of tolerance and inclusion, and often conveniently forgotten red flags by which historical precedence blasts warnings into the present.
Henry’s work here isn’t a procedural self-help, 12 step cure-all treatise. Neither is it a diatribe about Right vs. Left, black vs. white, Evangelical vs. liberal, and so on.
Henry’s sole concern is about truth vs. falsehood, replacing lies with the truth; the role of Christ, and therefore the role of the true Christian Church as it looks to lead, by being led by the Holy Spirit, without falling into step with the spirit of the age.
First published on Caldron Pool, 16th June, 2020.
© Rod Lampard, 2020
I largely agree with Ben Shapiro’s consistent criticism of Donald Trump’s ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants’ approach to foreign policy. Trump appears to ride roughshod, giving the impression of impulsiveness, or worse that he hasn’t considered the law of unintended consequences. However, a lot of recent criticism coming from both sides of politics, concerning the Trump administration’s decision to “withdraw” U.S Troops from Syria, ignore the plight of refugees, and push aside the fact that Turkey is still an official ally of the United States. As signatories of NATO they are strategic partners.
The recent advance of the Turks into northern Syria wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. The Turkish plan, as outlined by Carlotta Gall from the New York Times in September, is twofold. First, to create a buffer zone between Turkey and the Kurds, second, to repatriate over one million Syrian Refugees, currently in Turkey. The goal being to relocate some of the 3.6 million refugees Turkey has given refuge to, by moving them back into ‘Syrian territory controlled by the United States and its Kurdish allies.’
While it would be fair to ask whether Turkish regime leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was using refugees as an excuse to attack and suppress the Kurds, the question ignores the current needs of Syrian refugees, and it pushes aside the question about who is going to take responsibility for over 10,000 ISIS prisoners.
In addition, Gall reported that not everyone involved in Syria is on board with the plan. This didn’t stop Erdogan, who appeared to give an ultimatum in response. Either give Turkey access to the area, or ‘he would “open the gates” for large numbers of refugees to head into Europe as they did in 2015.’
Though Trump’s approach to foreign policy appears impulsive, the U.S. “withdrawal from Northern Syria” isn’t an absolute fiat accompli. Trump’s decision is better described as a strategic repositioning, rather than a withdrawal of U.S Forces. As James Laporta of Newsweek clarified, ‘current rules of engagement for U.S. forces continue to be centered around self-defense and that no order has been issued by the Pentagon for a complete withdraw from Syria.’
Claims about a withdrawal come from the decision to reposition 50-100 special operations forces. This was done, according to Military Times, ahead of the Turkish operation in order to ‘protect U.S. troops and keep them out of the crossfire.’
It’s also worth acknowledging that this strategic repositioning didn’t come without a warning to Turkey’s leaders. Trump has made it clear that he does not support the initiative and urged Turkish authorities to avoid triggering another humanitarian crisis in the region. To back this up the United States ceased sharing of tactical reconnaissance information with Turkey, to prevent them using their strategic partnership with the United States to pad advantage in any military operation, to make way for the relocation and resettlement of Syrian refugees back into Syria.
Trump’s warning also takes into consideration an obligation for Turkey not to renege on an agreement to take responsibility for the 11,000 ISIS fighters being held across the region. The onus of responsibility for preventing any reemergence of ISIS in the area is now solely on Turkey.
The strategic partnership between Europe, Turkey and the United States, means that NATO has political clout from which they can use to hold Turkey accountable, if the regime decides to decimate the Kurdish people or further attempt to wipe the Assyrian Christians. It would seem, by Trump’s remarks on his personal Twitter account, (ignoring the ridiculous ‘great and unmatched wisdom’ part), that he is banking on that connection to keep the Kurds and Assyrian Christians in the area safe.
What may seem to be a foolish move by the United States may, in time, prove to be a smart one. This isn’t about American isolationism. The long standing mutual obligation America has to its Turkish allies through NATO, alongside the question about what to do with ISIS prisoners, and Syrian refugees, all provide legitimate reasons for the United States to redefine its relationship with the Middle East, and with Turkey in particular.
Add to this reasoning the peripheral activity of far-left foreign fighters training with the Kurds, such as the self-described Antifa platoon, mixed in with the domestic headache, and potential domestic threat this poses to the internal stability of the United States, the rationale for Trump’s decision becomes clearer. Given the actions of Antifa, a far-left organization, over the past three years, surely insurgent combat training and combat experience is a recipe for disaster.
To sum up, America and Turkey are allies. Turkey is part of NATO. The United States is bound by that partnership, and has a responsibility to hold to it.
This also means that America is not left alone in holding Turkey accountable – it would be a United Nations effort, lead by all of NATO’s partners. As witnessed by NATO chief, Jens Stoltenber’s recent call for restraint.
Regardless of how we may feel as spectators, we aren’t privy to the kinds of sensitive information American Presidents have access to. The role back of a U.S military presence in Syria is a surgical response to a complex situation. On one hand there is the possibility of the withdrawal having the same vacuous affect that Barrack Obama’s abysmal decision to withdraw completely from Iraq did, ripping apart a healing wound, only to see that wound fester into what would become the infectious abomination that is Islamic State (ISIS). If this eventuates, the decision could prove to be an avoidable disaster, not only for the Trump administration, but for NATO.
On the other hand, Trump’s decision could deescalate tensions, shining a spotlight on Turkey, making it hard for them avoid finding a diplomatic way to reach a settlement or agreement with their own partners in the region, that will include protections for the Kurds and Assyrian Christians. If this eventuates, the decision was humanitarian.
Either way, it’s likely to be the case that Trump is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. Donald Trump’s head, since Hilary Clinton lost the 2016 election, has been marked for the guillotine by the far-left. Any preventable loss of American life would have been on his hands, as would the escalation of U.S involvement through any military action to stop Turkey.
The same goes for Trump taking the more peaceable road. It’s a decision that could open the door for the potential slaughter of Kurds and further elimination of Assyrian Christians by the Turkish regime.
Despite this, the repositioning of U.S troops was a hard, but an important call.
There’s a difference between being dominate and domineering. To be dominant is to have influence and power. To be domineering is to force that influence and power over others in an arrogant way. America is a dominate force, Trumps knows this. His decision also suggests that he’s keen to see America not follow mistakes of the past by abusing that power and influence. This arrogance of power, as noted by Democrat senator, William J. Fullbright in 1966, has been the domineering historical flaw in American foreign policy.
The rejection of this arrogance of power sends a message to the world. One which says that the Trump administration are not what their enemies claim, and one that asserts Donald Trump’s ability to make unpopular decisions, if he has good reasons for doing so.
The U.S is caught between themselves and two Allies. On one side they have to hold to their mutual obligations under the NATO treaty. On the other side, they have an obligation to honour the effort of the Kurds in helping defeat ISIS. The United States also has an obligation to its own people. A large part of this is seeing to it that they don’t commit the mistakes of the past. This is a case of damned if they do, damned if they don’t. The best move in this scenario is a reluctant, cautious repositioning, because idleness is the devil’s playground.
First published on Caldron Pool, 11th October, 2019.
©Rod Lampard, 2019