America Doesn’t Owe Anybody Anything, By Umar Hassan
President Donald Trump has promised to get Americans off welfare by rebuilding America with American labour. He has promised an end to the era where their borders were open to countries stealing their companies, making their products and destroying their jobs. America will no longer enhance foreign industries at the detriment of its own and will no longer spend trillions overseas while its infrastructure continues to decay. It will not protect other countries’ borders at the expense of its own and will not empower other armies while its gets depleted.
Trump is just the right man to finally make the world understand that America doesn’t owe anybody anything and there couldn’t be a better time than now when its gestures are not only being taken for granted but also used to paint it the villain.
As of this time last year, the United States campaign against ISIS tagged Operation Inherent Resolve had gulped $6.2 billion at a princely rate of approximately $480,000 an hour and the Pentagon was asking for an additional $7.5 billion to keep on fighting the ISIS. That was all just a year and half into the campaign and before the terrorist group made massive forays into Afghanistan and Libya. But what has it gotten in return? Castigations and denigrations that defy human reasoning.
President Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama has been blamed for the rise of the ISIS by withdrawing US troops from Iraq in 2011 but it is important to note that the Status of Forces agreement made by the Bush administration set a 2011 withdrawal date. This much was said by Bush when he held a famous joint press conference with the then Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al Maliki and moments after saying that, he was stoned by an Iraqi journalist. That was the extent to which most Iraqis had grown to abhor the United States presence in their country. They saw the US troops as illegitimate occupiers and causers of civilian deaths. Al Maliki summed up the sentiment when he said:
“The incomplete sovereignty and presence of foreign troops have being the most dangerous, most complicated and most burdensome legacy since the dictatorship. Iraq should get rid of them to prevent its young democratic experiment”.
The US merely complied with the wishes of the Iraqi people by pulling the stops on a war that had cost it $1trillion at that time, so I find it utterly disgusting to hear people say they left earlier than they should. The oppression of the Sunni minority by the Shiite majority after the Americans left ensured an emerging ISIS had a lot of sympathizers from the Sunnis who had been instrumental to helping the US troops fight Al Qaeda. There have been many reports on how complacent the Iraqi army got when they were left to stand on their own and this made the ISIS grow in confidence. It is not Obama’s fault that the Sunni/Shiite conflict had been going on for centuries or that Al Maliki rubber stamped the oppression of the minority Sunni after the US left and killed hundreds of those who dared to protest neither is it his that the Iraqis didn’t make the over $20 billion spent by the US in rebuilding its armed forces just a year after its withdrawal, count.
The start of the Syrian civil war in 2011 meant the ISIS had more than enough land across the border to comfortably grow in. While I am not disputing the fact that the US may have covertly armed unrecognized forces severally to help fight a common enemy and that this could very much be said to have created a situation where weapons were left in the hands of people very prone to being swayed by the ISIS, it is important to understand its motive which simply put is, helping a people fight a just cause. Take Syria for example where Bashir Al Assad had ruled for about 10 years as at the time of the famous revolt in some Arab nations against perpetual leadership in 2010 popularly referred to as the Arab Spring. He had taken over from his father who had ruled for 29 years and Assad was the most vicious of all the rulers turned against by their own people. He went as far as dispersing protests with life bullets and attacking his own people with chemical weapons. It was obvious the war had taken a new dimension and arming and training those willing to stand up to the government was a great service to the Syrian people. That a lot of Syrian fighters with arms thought the ISIS cause a worthier one at some point is not America’s fault. Here in Nigeria, when a lot of people in the South East and South South turned to armed robbery after the civil war because of the abundance of arms in the region, governments fought hard to curb the scourge rather than blaming who was supplying the Biafrans arms during the war.
As elementary as this may sound, it still remains the truth. The problem lies first with the extremists, their warped understanding of Islam and the individuals and countries supporting them. Terrorism has been helped by the advancement of the social media which has allowed the extremists prey on vulnerable minds and show off their might more easily. Then you also have the fact that the weaker groups are now uniting with the stronger ones instead of fighting themselves.
They may be a plethora of other reasons why terrorism is growing but it is certainly not because of the United States of America. The world owes it loads of gratitude for its efforts at making it a better place and not condemnation.
Trump is the new man on board and he has promised to spend less on helping others fight their wars. It makes sense if you consider the money that has being pumped into that by previous governments and what he wants to use funds for. The new ‘big brother’ wants everybody to fend for themselves and it has dawned on quite a number of people especially those who kept hating the US for helping them that America doesn’t owe anybody anything.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.