The Road to a Better Middle East Future Runs Through Erbil

What do we do now? What we should’ve done years ago. Establish our Middle East Bastion in Kurdistan. Train and arm the Kurds to protect themselves and us. The Shia dominated Iraqi Government has passed a non-binding resolution for Americans to leave their country. Given how our last Iraq withdrawal turned out, this can’t even be considered. However, it gives us another chance to exert control in a strategic part of the world. As we pointed out in our 2014 & 2015 “Shhhhhhh” Middle East posts, turmoil in the Moslem World has brought problems to the fore we can’t ignore. Radical Muslims are attacking everyone disagreeing with their dogmas worldwide. There are threats to the world’s oil supply. Mass migrations of the displaced and the possible destruction of Israel. The extermination of minorities demands our interest, whether we want to engage or not. Even Trump had to realize his withdrawal from the Kurdish areas along the Turkey-Syria border was boneheaded. In the end, he had to keep troops in Syria after all. We can reverse this significant mistake by making a move to Kurdistan. The Shia dominated Government in Baghdad would hardly risk the breakup of their country. In any case, they probably would prefer we stay close by as an offset to Iran and to prevent a re-emergence of ISIS. 

We realize this is a very unpopular idea in some quarters. Across the political spectrum from Rand Paul to Bernie Sanders, the proposition of involvement in areas “far from home” violates American principles. They say we should stay at home and mind our own business just as the founding fathers handled things. Of course, this was never historically true. In just the 1st quarter-century, after the ratification of our Constitution, we were involved in hostilities beyond our borders. Mostly they were over commerce and free seas. We even established a Mediterranean Naval Squadron and, for most of our history, maintained it. We were also involved in regime change in a foreign country. As we established in our series on “More,” trade is one of the three ways you can get it. The idea we can retreat into a shell and let some else handle the world’s problems is fanciful. Do we really think Iran, Russia, and China have our interests at heart? 

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2020 Vision

Another year in the books. Last year at this time, we took notice of President Trump’s desire to leave Syria. We pointed out this would stab our Kurdish Allies in the back, while leaving us much worse off. This year Trump pulled our small force out of the Turkish-Syrian border area and sure enough we are worse off. Forced to realize his error, he then kept some troops “to guard the “Syrian Oilfields” and of course more troops in Iraq. The result is distrust of the US by our allies in Syria, Kurds, Canadians, British and French. Americans are under fire in Iraq and and there is a impending humanitarian crisis if the last NW Syrian stronghold falls to Assad’s forces. China, Russia, and Iran hold joint naval exercises in the Gulf of Oman. We suggested it would be better to quietly base in Kurdish Iraq, arming and training the Kurds. They are a people faced by enemies on all sides. With our and tacitly Israeli support, the reverse would be true, the Kurds threaten everyone else. As their benefactor, we would hold a very strong negotiating position to our benefit. Instead our small forces in the area are attacked by Iran backed militias. We are faced with responding and escalation or run. Our real friends rightly question us. After all, the only ones Trump refers to as friends are Erdogan, Putin, Kim and Xi. If these are your friends, who are your enemies? Trump continues to flounder. People pointlessly die.

We also saw some hope we would see expanded incentives to increase savings. While some progress has been made, there is still isn’t proper recognition of savings relationship to healthcare and overall well being. Given greater limits for 2020, Health savings Accounts (HSA) will continue to be the fastest growing health choice. This should make us aware normal market based solutions will be preferred if just given a chance. Dave’s Plan (Series available on this site) would implement these principles universally. We stand ready for a Congressional Budget Office side by side comparison with any of the other plans. Let everyone see how “Medicare for All” or Obamacare actually stack up. Just the elimination of most third party payments and credit risks will lower prices. Marketing directly to individuals will bring forth a much more efficient and responsive system. In any case the possibility of Obamacare being dumped or severely curtailed by the courts in 2020 should focus everyone on real solutions to our personal finance problems, highlighted by healthcare. Can all these people running for office including Trump really go into the 2020 campaign with no clue what to do to provide reasonable effective healthcare?

So it goes, nothing actually gets solved. The debt grows, dreamers live in fear of what comes next, problems face us in every corner of the World, and the list goes on. We confront these problems with fewer friends and because of the rampaging growth of entitlements less fiscal flexibility. With 2020 a big Election year one would think we would be inundated with fresh ideas on how to move forward. Instead, we’re getting recycled Mercantilism and Socialism. The progress of our country has paralleled the ever widening openness to ideas and those that have them. Our Capitalist Republic is built on the basis of having the widest choice of ideas, products,services, leaders, or whatever. Instead, all we hear is calls from our two controlling parties for narrowing of our choices. Whether it’s Trump’s mercantilism, Berniie’s Socialism, Elisabeth’s Fascism or every politician spending other peoples money, we seem to have fallen back on failed ideas. Maybe our bet for the Democratic nomination, Michele Obama , will actually come up with something workable, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. After all, it was her husband who told a business owner ,”you didn’t build that.” As we have pointed out in our series on “More” ( series available on this site) we get “More” by taking from someone else, trade for it or create it through innovation. We now have a resurgence of the former over the latter two to the detriment to civilization. Our hope for 2020 is a recognition of what works and what doesn’t and we move in the right direction.