A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter looks as smoke billows after an airstrike hit territory still held by Islamic State militants in the desert outside Baghouz, Syria, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. (Associated Press/Felipe Dana)
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
I grew up with the idea that Americans were the "good guys." I don't think that's unusual. That's how most Americans see themselves. America is, or at least was, continually pursuing a more perfect union. Our history is not unblemished, but even as Americans sometimes criticize their own country, there is generally an unspoken "We're better than that."
We see ourselves as upholding a higher standard. We aren't just some overgrown banana republic. We're a "shining city on a hill."
Lately, though, it seems that many see wearing a white hat as a liability; that having long-standing allies, acting with honor, and obeying international law are just holding the U.S. back from unleashing large quantities of whoop-ass upon those who deserve it.
President Donald J. Trump waves to the crowd as he exits Air Force One at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. Nov. 17, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Colville McFee)
Recently an article at War on the Rocks framed American foreign policy as boiling down to two choices. With the momentous events of the week preceding Christmas 2018—the Syria and Afghanistan withdrawal/downsizing, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis's resignation—this debate became a reality for anyone watching the news as they shopped for or wrapped their presents. But they only saw one side.
It’s described asa defining moment of former President Barack Obama’s foreign policy: His resistance to using military force in response to a chemical weapons attack in August 2013 by the Syrian government against civilians in Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus.
Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
As leaders from seven of the world’s most powerful nations meet in Europe this week for the G7 summit, Russian president Vladimir Putin, the man the leaders are largely meeting to discuss, is doing his best to put his own spin on things, condemning the U.S. military and NATO in the process.