Presidents of the United States are chronically and routinely guilty of infinite stupidity in national security matters.
They squander trillions of dollars and sacrifice the lives of selfless American soldiers on fool’s errands that create threats that would not otherwise be awakened by slaughtering foreigners without the justification of self-defense.
While the examples are endless, only a sample will be chronicled as a concession to both the joys of summer and the shortness of life.
President Harry Truman unconstitutionally fought the Korean War, which he absurdly characterized as a “police action.” More than 30,000 American soldiers died on behalf of a corrupt dictator, Syngman Rhee. If Truman had saved those troops to defend the United States from attack, our national security would have been strengthened, and North Korea would be under the thumb of China sans nuclear weapons. It is not clear whether South Korea would have been lost to North Korea without United States intervention.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower overthrew Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq in favor of the corrupt and megalomaniacal Shah, a reckless initiative which ultimately begot the Islamic Republic of Iran with its nuclear ambitions. Eisenhower also overthrew Guatemala’s Jacobo Arbenz, which ushered in decades of genocidal military rule and mass immigration to escape political persecution.
President John F. Kennedy gave birth to the Bay of Pigs debacle, the Vietnam War, the assassination of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and the secret CIA war in Laos based on a bogus “domino theory.” He authorized Attorney General Robert Kennedy to seek the assassination of Cuba’s Fidel Castro — a blot on the escutcheon of the United States.
President Lyndon Johnson lied about alleged torpedo attacks on the U.S.S. Maddox and Turner Joy to obtain the ill-starred Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Johnson put the Vietnam War on steroids for ulterior political motives, and invaded the Dominican Republic to keep it within our sphere of influence.
President Richard Nixon continued the Vietnam War despite its proven futility for nothing more than a decent political interval before North Vietnam’s victory in 1975. He extended the war folly into Cambodia and Laos. Approximately 25,000 American soldiers died in Indochina on Nixon’s watch for a political mistake. At present, Vietnam enjoys permanent normal trade relations with the United States, is part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and commands American support for its maritime interests against China in the South China Sea. Nixon also orchestrated the overthrow of Chile’s Salvador Allende in favor of the murderous tyranny of Gen.l Augusto Pinochet. National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger defended the lawless, anti-democratic intervention on the ground that Chile should not be permitted to go Marxist merely because its people were “irresponsible.”
President Jimmy Carter, cajoled by National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, initiated arms supplies to the Afghan Mujahideen to oppose the Soviet Union, a myopic endeavor which facilitated in 9/11 and the birth of al Qaeda.
President Ronald Reagan had his Grenada caper, his Lebanese Marine barracks debacle and the Iran-contra blunder.
President George H.W. Bush pointlessly initiated war with Iraq to restore an oppressive Al-Sabah dynasty in Kuwait. He also stationed U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia which provided Osama bin Laden critical propaganda value for 9/11.
President William Jefferson Clinton fought wars in Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo irrelevant to our national security and setting intervention precedents employed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to justify annexation of Crimea.
President George W. Bush stupidly invaded Iraq to the benefit of our arch-enemy Iran and to avenge his family embarrassment at the hands of a gloating Saddam Hussein. He continued fighting a post-9/11 purposeless war in Afghanistan hoping to summon a democracy into being from an antedeluvian political culture.
President Barack Obama initiated an unconstitutional war against Libya after it had abandoned weapons of mass destruction and support for international terrorism. He has begun, continued or re-ignited objectless wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He has laid the ground work for a war against China over the South China Sea, the Senkaku-Diaoyu Islands, or dominance in the Pacific. And Mr. Obama gave birth to the genocidal nation of South Sudan.
Despite this obscene historical record costing many trillions of dollars and countless lives, liberal academics like James MacGregor Burns fortified by the media have inculcated the myth of an all-knowing, benevolent presidency worthy of worship, reverence and deference in foreign affairs.
But the opposite is true.
Presidents are characteristically driven by narcissism, hubris and lusts for fame and power to fight gratuitous wars and to seek world domination at the expense of the liberties and prosperity of the American people.
The U.S. Constitution’s architects knew of the adolescent personality of the executive branch, and accordingly lodged exclusive power over war and peace in Congress. To be sure, it has many defects. But to borrow from Winston Churchill, the legislative branch is the worst institution for the fashioning of foreign policy except for all others that have been conceived or tried.