US Ambassador Haley at the UN

US Ambassador Haley at the UN
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations was a surprise. During the 2016 race for the GOP nomination, she publicly backed Florida Senator Marco Rubio and urged Republicans to shun Donald Trump. As for foreign policy experience customarily found in whoever holds the post at the UN, she had none. But President Trump must have known more about Haley than many others because she has performed rather well in a job she seemed highly unqualified to fill.

Nikki Haley official photo. Image from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

In mid-December, she demonstrated some moxie by excoriating Iran for supplying the missile aimed by Yemen’s rebels at Saudi Arabia’s international airport. Haley noted that particular outrage wasn’t the only instance of Iran’s involvement in Middle East terrorism, when she added: “It’s hard to find a conflict or a terrorist group in the Middle East that doesn’t have Iran’s fingerprints all over it.” When Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif claimed that his country should be credited with putting out fires in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, Haley pointed to a UN report containing a completely opposite assessment. Which prompted Haley to challenge Zarif while insisting that Iran wasn’t putting out fires, it was the region’s “arsonist.”

After Mr. Trump announced his plan to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, she vetoed a Security Council resolution demanding a reversal. Then she told America’s critics at the world body to cease presuming “to tell America where to put our embassy.” She also followed that with a plan “to be taking names” of the countries that America has helped but now support condemnation of the embassy decision.

As for countries voting in the UN against the interests of the United States, Haley joined President Trump in denouncing 128 General Assembly members, almost all of them beneficiaries of U.S. aid, for believing it was their place to tell America how to conduct its foreign affairs. “We will no longer let the generosity of the America people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked,” she announced. Evidently, her past disinclination to support Mr. Trump has completely evaporated.

Haley even helped to secure 15-0 Security Council approval of sanctions against North Korea, a vote that counted even Russia and China, North Korea’s patrons, as supporters. Then she won plaudits from some quarters for having a hand in cutting the UN’s budget by $285 million. But the world body’s plan to spend $5.4 billion (almost 20 times the reduction) will see the U.S. continue to be saddled with 22 percent of the world body’s funding.

While these and other performances of our nation’s ambassador to the UN are welcome, they are far from what should be America’s policy toward the world body. Americans should know that our nation began with the magnificent statement in the Declaration of Independence telling the world that God bestows rights and no man-made government can justly cancel any of them. The UN, on the other hand, acknowledges the existence of rights, but after ignoring God’s very existence, claims power to negate every right and become mankind’s supreme boss.

Last September, President Trump went to the UN where, in his widely lauded speech, he never mentioned this fundamental difference. Nor did he condemn the UN’s steady advancement toward total power over the inhabitants of the planet we inhabit. He praised the world body as guarantor of sovereignty for all nations when the erosion of such a precious element of nationhood is a far advanced reality. Saluting the UN Charter for its supposed advocacy of peace, he skipped over the several portions of the document calling for UN military action.

Donald Trump’s speech at the UN was precisely what all promoters of a UN-led world government wanted to hear. If honesty were in vogue, supporters of the UN would admit seeking a New World Order complete with dictatorial power over mankind. America should withdraw completely from the trap laid by the numerous communists and fellow travelers who created the world body. And Nikki Haley and her boss – Donald Trump – should lead the charge in the needed withdraw.

Want to help? Continue to support H.R. 193, the “American Sovereignty Restoration Act” to terminate U.S. funding and participation in the United Nations!

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


The Truth About NATO

The Truth About NATO
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

A former New York Times station chief in Germany, Stephen Kinzer currently is a senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Affairs. Occasionally, his thoughts appear in the op-ed pages of the Boston Globe.

Flag of NATO from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

In his most recent Globe piece, Kinzer worries that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is about to disintegrate. He focuses initially on the new anti-Western leanings obviously gaining prevalence in Turkey, a NATO member.  Current Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan is hard at work reversing the cultural and political westernization introduced into his nation by Kemal Ataturk in the 1920s. Then Kinzer points to Turkey’s opposition to U.S.-led and NATO directed actions in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Erdogan makes it clear that he prefers the Russian stance in each of these confrontations, not the actions taken by NATO and the U.S.

But Kinzer seems to have no awareness why the alliance has existed for more than 60 years. Instead, he repeats the attitude instilled into almost all Americans that “NATO was created to confront a single threat: the Soviet Union.” By 1949 when the pact was created, the USSR had swallowed up numerous countries in Eastern and Central Europe. The very existence of NATO is customarily credited with halting further Soviet advances into France, Italy, West Germany, and other still-free nations. But the underlying truth is that the building of NATO and the UN was always intended, and the erosion of national sovereignty everywhere was the long-range goal.

In the late 1940s according to then-Secretary of States Dean Acheson, NATO’s chief U.S. promoter, NATO was created to be “an essential measure for strengthening the United Nations.” That’s what Acheson stressed to senators when he encouraged them to vote for the pact in 1949. In his speech to the Senate published by the Washington Star on March 19, 1949, Acheson said that the pact’s brief introductory paragraph and 14 articles were all “subject to the overriding provisions of the United Nations Charter.” Indeed, the United Nations is mentioned six times in this briefly worded treaty. It won senate approval with only 13 dissenting votes on July 12, 1949. There can be no doubt that NATO has always been a division of the UN. Later, the 368-page NATO Handbook issued by the alliance in 1995 states very clearly that the alliance was “created within the framework of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.”

How has NATO been employed? President Harry Truman cited it when he sent U.S. forces into Korea in 1950. Asked at a press conference whether our nation was now at war, Truman responded, “We are not at war; this is a police action.” He added that if he could send troops to NATO, he could send troops to Korea. The Korean “police action” constituted the first abandonment of the need for a congressional declaration of war. The last time that portion of the Constitution was employed occurred in the days immediately following the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941. America went to war on two fronts for almost four years. It should interest all to note that World War II was the last war won by U.S. forces. All struggles since then have been authorized and directed by obvious UN direction or by NATO and its SEATO clone. There have been no more victories.

In the June 1996 issue of the pro-world government Atlantic Monthly, Benjamin Schwarz of the World Policy Institute gleefully noted that objections about U.S. involvement in NATO led by Senator Robert Taft (R-Ohio) had been building when NATO was being proposed. But the resistance had been defused when, according to Dean Acheson, the crisis in Korea “came along and saved us.” It didn’t save the more than 50,000 American dead from the Korean War, a conflict that never has been settled and could break out again at any time. But it did save steady progress toward watering down U.S. independence and “strengthening the UN,” Acheson’s stated goals.

Today, U.S. forces in Afghanistan are under NATO’s control. So are our military contingents in Germany, Turkey, and scores of other nations. The struggle in Vietnam was fought under SEATO, a copy of NATO no longer in existence. Vietnam cost America additional tens of thousands who died while serving under a UN command.

If Stephen Kinzer knows all of this and refuses to include it when writing about NATO, shame on him. If he doesn’t know it and would care to examine what we have stated, we shall be happy to help him. Claiming that NATO was created only to “confront” the threat posed by the Soviet Union is wrong. It was created to override the U.S. Constitution, build the power of the United Nations, and create a tyrannical new world order under UN control.

Our nation needs leaders who will restore undiluted U.S. independence. The clear way to accomplish this sorely needed restoration involves quitting NATO and withdrawing from the United Nations. Support H.R. 193 to Get US Out! of the UN before it’s too late.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Another Neoconservative Startup

Another Neoconservative Startup
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Here we go again! The champions for socialism, militarism, and world government have a new organization. A successor to the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) is the latest think tank formed to promote big government, war, and the destruction of national sovereignty through economic and political entanglements.

U.S. Marines with Iraqi POWs. Why is war always the answer? Image from Wikimedia Commons, public domain, United States Marine Corps.

One after the other, these organizations are bastions of neoconservatism, the political philosophy launched by Irving Kristol in 1972. Joyfully dubbed “the Godfather of Neoconservatism,” Kristol wrote about his brand of skullduggery in his 1995 book Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea. For its basic goals, he supported “the New Deal in principle” and condemned “the kind of isolationism that then permeated American conservatism.” That’s socialism and internationalism, each an antithesis of Americanism. In addition, neoconservatives have always supported involvement in wars to further their goals.

PNAC debuted in 1997. Founded by Irving Kristol’s son William and veteran internationalist Robert Kagan, its dozens of members included holdovers from the first Bush administration: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Elliott Abrams, Dan Quayle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Robert Zoellick to name a few. They wanted President Bush the elder to reinvade Iraq after the UN-limited goal in that unhappy country had been achieved via the 1991 Desert Storm invasion.

Out of office after Clinton defeated the elder Bush in 1992, the PNAC neocons gathered under William Kristol and pushed hard for another invasion of Iraq. They sought help from President Clinton who had personal problems to deal with and couldn’t comply. Then they went to House Speaker Gingrich who evidently didn’t want adopt their agenda. So the proposed re-invasion of Iraq got shelved.

After George W. Bush replaced Clinton in 2001, PNAC members Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and others were back in the saddle. They put together a plan to reinvade Iraq even before the devastating 9/11 attack. That attack supplied their rationale (a crisis that wasn’t wasted!) to reinvade Iraq. And, revealingly, they sought and obtained authorization not from Congress but from the United Nations.

In 2009, six years after the second invasion of Iraq and the huge mess it produced, PNAC folded its tent and made room for the FPI. Its top leaders just happened to include William Kristol and Robert Kagan, the founders of PNAC. New potential targets turned out to be “China and Russia” along with “Al Qaeda and its affiliates.” FPI’s underlying neoconservative goals were only a little different from those of its PNAC predecessor: “rejection of isolationism,” “strong military budget,” “international economic integration,” etc.

Here we are in 2017 and FPI has been discontinued in favor of the ASD. The new neocon venture lists members such as leading Democrats national security adviser for Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton Jake Sullivan, Obama CIA director Mike Morrell, and Obama Ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul. Calling itself “a bipartisan, transatlantic initiative,” and funded generously by the German Marshall Fund, its Republican neocons are led by William Kristol and Michael Chertoff. Democrats within ASD delight in having common cause with GOP neocons because of their shared loathing of Donald Trump. The potential enemies of these individuals would be Iran and Russia.

Why war? The answer isn’t hard to decipher. War always leads to larger government, increased indebtedness, moral decline, and cries for internationalism. These were common goals of the now defunct PNAC and FPI, and now the ASD. Then-German Chancellor Willy Brandt (a secret Communist) announced the creation of the German Marshall Fund in a speech at Harvard University in 1972. A U.S.–based organization, the GMF is headquartered in Washington DC. from which it will fuel the efforts of the new ASD and other highly questionable ventures.

Learn more how the neoconservatives are changing American politics and take action by getting involved with The John Birch Society today.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American


Erdogan A Dictator?

Erdogan A Dictator?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the election as Turkey’s president in 2014. His time in office has amounted to travelling down a rocky road. The relaxation of strict Islamic rules accomplished by Mustafa Kamal Ataturk after World War I won plenty of applause. But Erdogan, a stricter Muslim, has set out to reverse the nation’s course, and he has done so with what resembles severe dictatorial power.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has brought Turkey down a rocky road (Photo from Wikimedia Commons by http://www.kremlin.ru CC BY 4.0).

Turning back the cultural clock back to Ataturk days seemed to be the goal of an attempted coup only a year ago. In a matter of days after it was quashed, 9,000 police officers and 21,000 teachers were fired. Thousands more soldiers, judges, lawyers, university deans, and government officials lost their posts. Many were jailed. In addition, the Erdogan government closed several dozen television, radio, and print outlets. And more than 60 newspapers, a score of magazines, two dozen publishing houses, and several news agencies have been shut down. Censorship became the new rule.

Erdogan has blamed the continuing unrest on the followers of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric living in the United States for the past 16 years. But he denies having any role in the opposition to Erdogan. Still, the ferment among the people hasn’t faded. Erdogan more recently arranged for a nationwide referendum so the people could either choose his style of rule or revert back to the pre-2014 modern style of governing attributed to Ataturk. The result of the mid-April plebiscite had Erdogan winning by the slimmest of margins (51.4 percent) amid widespread belief that the vote count wasn’t accurate.

Nevertheless, with new powers available to him as a result of the referendum, Erdogan initiated a new round of arrests, firings, and suspensions. Close to 4,000 additional civil servants have been fired and 45 civil society groups and health clinics have been shut down. The government even shut down Wikipedia.

In just the past year, therefore, approximately 140,000 individuals have lost their jobs, free press has been scuttled, and more than 200 journalists remain imprisoned. Erdogan insists that his reforms don’t merit calling him a dictator. But international election monitors released a negative report on the conduct of the recent referendum. Many in Turkey believe the election was rigged.

Turkey is one of the 50 original members of the United Nations (there are now 193 members). The nation won acceptance in NATO in 1952, three years after the alliance’s launching. Long seeking approval for membership in the European Union, Turkey’s hopes to be part of the Brussels-based super government have never been realized. Perhaps the fact that 97 percent of Turkey’s land area is in Asia with the remaining three percent at its western tip considered part of Europe keeps the EU from conferring membership. Turkey has long been considered a “bridge to Europe” for many nations in Asia Minor.

But Turkey needs to understand that entangling alliances come with a price detrimental to independence, just as Brexit has demonstrated. From an American standpoint, let’s work to untangle ourselves from our UN and NATO alliances to preserve American liberty and independence. Inform yourself and others on the dangers of foreign entanglements.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


The President and NATO

The President and NATO
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

During his campaign for president, Donald Trump frequently employed the word “obsolete” to register his negativity about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). After he won the election and was only a few days away from inauguration, he repeated his dour opinion on January 16, 2017, with “I said a long time ago that NATO had problems. Number one, it was obsolete because it was designed many, many years ago.”

Is Trump changing his view on NATO? (Image from Wikimedia Commons, by Tennessee National Guard Public Affairs Office, public domain).

Now that he is President, he has reversed his view on NATO. On April 12, 2017, he declared, “I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.” But there has been no alteration within NATO during the past year. Mr. Trump had just met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House. The NATO chieftain, who has never considered the alliance obsolete, smiled broadly at the Trump reversal.

Born in 1949, NATO cited Article 51 of the UN Charter for its authorization to exist. The official NATO Handbook (1995 edition) contains the text of the pact’s Preface and 14 short articles. That NATO is a UN stepchild is clearly spelled out in Article 1 stating, “The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations….” Explanatory text appearing in the NATO Handbook clearly states that the pact was “Created within the framework of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.”

Because the pact is a treaty, Senate ratification had to be gained. Then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson, one of its most determined champions, stated during a March 1949 speech that NATO “is designed to fit precisely into the framework of the United Nations … The United States government and the governments with which we are associated in the treaty are convinced that it is essential measure for strengthening the United Nations.” There was no hiding the fact that NATO was designed to be a UN stepchild.

In short order, twelve nations from Western Europe and North America signed on as founding members. The pact’s Article 5 states “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” That provision encouraged 13 senators to refuse their support, not nearly enough to block U.S. entry into the alliance. So NATO began and the American people were left with an impression created by the media and NATO supporters that its entire purpose was to prevent any additional Soviet expansion westward.

The UN/NATO combination then proceeded to assure that America would never again win a war. Consider: the Korean War became stalemate and NATO’s hand was in it from the beginning. The Vietnam War, fought under a NATO clone called SEATO, ended in defeat for the U.S. The wars in which Americans were fighting and dying were now being fought without the constitutional requirement for a congressional declaration of war. Highly questionable NATO forays into Bosnia and Somalia followed. Authorization for the war in Iraq came directly from the UN. And the U.S. is now 14 years into a NATO-authorized struggle in Afghanistan. NATO now has 27 member nations.

NATO has never been “obsolete.”  It has greatly aided its UN sponsor in the gobbling up of more aspects of national sovereignty. So, Mr. Trump was wrong when he said NATO had become a useless alliance because it was “obsolete.” And he is additionally wrong to give it his newly created approval. What he should do is work to have the U.S. withdraw from both of these entangling alliances. The millions who voted for him would surely cheer such moves. And America would cease to be the world’s policeman, an assignment nowhere found in the U.S. Constitution to which the President and many other federal officials swore a solemn oath to uphold.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


How Castro Seized Control of Cuba

How Castro Seized Control of Cuba
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

On April 9, 1948, 21-year-old Fidel Castro took part in a bloody communist uprising in Bogota, Colombia. While shouting over a seized radio station, “This is a Communist revolution,” he and his marauding comrades proceeded to murder hundreds while setting fires that claimed many more lives. Arrested and charged with murder, he boasted, “I did a good work today; I killed a priest.” But the Colombian authorities merely sent him out of their country.

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Fidel Castro in 2003 (photo by Antonio Milena – ABr Editing: Lucas (crop, blur, retouch, color, modify) (This image) [CC BY 3.0 br], via Wikimedia Commons).

Back in his native Cuba in 1953, Fidel led a band of insurrectionists in an attack on one of the country’s military posts.  Arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Batista government, he benefitted from a general amnesty in 1954. Castro then made his way to New York, where he met with friends who provided him with millions of dollars in aid and promises to smuggle quantities of arms into Cuba — which promises they kept.

In 1956, he went to Mexico, where he received training from die-hard communist forces who had fought in the Spanish Civil War. It was there that he met and enlisted Argentine communist Ernesto “Che” Guevara as his second in command. Before 1956 ended, the two led a band numbering less than a hundred into Cuba, established a base of operations, benefitted from a U.S. arms embargo aimed at the Batista government, and advanced toward their eventual takeover of the island nation.

In the United States in May 1957, a pro-Communist named William Wieland won appointment as the head of the State Department’s Caribbean Desk.  When U.S. Ambassador to Cuba Arthur Gardner warned his superiors (Wieland certainly included) that Castro was indeed a communist, he was speedily replaced and prevented from briefing his successor, Earl E.T. Smith. To put it mildly, that constituted a highly unusual break in policy. Instead, Wieland sent Smith to Herbert Matthews at the New York Times for his briefing and Matthews, who had already been heaping praises on Castro, assured the newly appointed ambassador that Castro was a trusted friend of freedom. Nevertheless, Smith learned the truth, reported what he learned to Washington, and was likewise replaced.

In mid-1958, former Assistant Secretary of State Spruille Braden warned, “Rebel chief Fidel Castro is a pawn in the Kremlin’s international intrigue.” Over in Mexico, U.S. Ambassador Robert C. Hill sent a similar message to Washington. But Secretary of State Dean Rusk and President John F. Kennedy vouched for the bearded revolutionary. They also did nothing to rid the U.S. government of William Wieland and his cohort, Roy Rubottom. After Castro took control of the island nation on January 1, 1959, he visited the United States, lied about his communist purposes, and won glorification from government officials and media heavyweights. Then, on December 2, 1961, he boldly confessed to having been a communist during his entire adult life. Only then did the U.S. government classify the Castro regime as an enemy.

Three months prior to Castro seizing control of Cuba, private citizen Robert Welch published the truth about the Cuban revolutionary in his small American Opinion magazine. He stated in September 1958, “Now the evidence from Castro’s whole past that he is a Communist agent carrying out Communist orders and plans is overwhelming.”  Welch would later found The John Birch Society.

No one in government, Wieland and Rubottom included, ever paid any price for their treachery.  Media luminaries who lauded Castro continued in their posts. But a price was paid, and is still being paid, by the Cuban people. Since the Castro takeover, thousands have been jailed or executed. More thousands have died at sea attempting to flee the Communist hellhole. In March 2016, President Obama journeyed to Cuba to start a resumption of relations with Fidel and his equally tyrannical brother Raúl. Fidel has now gone to his Maker and Raúl has continued the Castros’ tyrannical rule.

Cuba’s fate over the past 50-plus years brings to mind the adage, “Crime unpunished is crime rewarded.” The Castro brothers have never been punished. Nor have State Department officials who helped them into power and paved the way for like-minded diplomats to be their successors. A house cleaning is still very much needed.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


The Complex Syrian War

The Complex Syrian War
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The struggle in Syria has lasted more than five years. Its cost, just to Syria alone, is 500,000 dead and four times that number uprooted from their homes. Many of the displaced have become refugees seeking asylum in Turkey, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. These refugees have become a serious problem where they have settled – especially in Germany.

Azaz, Syria during the Syrian civil war. August 16, 2012, Azaz residents pick up after aerial bombings. (Photo by Voice of America News: Scott Bob report from Azaz, Syria. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons).

But what is this conflict in Syria all about? It started with the so-called Arab Spring in 2011. That uprising quickly spread throughout the Middle East wreaking its havoc in Egypt until a military coup overturned a Muslim Brotherhood takeover. It led to chaos in Libya and elsewhere enabling forces loyal to Al Qaeda to prevail. In Syria, the Arab Spring emboldened opponents of the government led by Bashar al-Assad. They took up arms and sought to oust him.

Soon, the Kurds who populate eastern Syria, northern Iraq, and a portion of southern Turkey had their own reasons for opposing Assad. Long seeking a country of their own, they sent forces against the Assad government with marginal success. Then, out of the spreading chaos, Muslim militants who opposed Assad formed ISIS and seized control of portions of Syria and Iraq. All of this was bad enough but the conflict worsened when Russia and Iran entered the fray on the side of Assad.

The rebels seeking to topple Assad began receiving arms and financial aid from the United States and Saudi Arabia. Sunni Muslims who dominate Saudi Arabia and most of the Arab world always opposed any moves by the numerically inferior Shiites who dominate Iran. Yet Assad and his government favor the Shiite rather than the Sunni type of Islam.

If you’ve decided this whole conflagration is impossible to figure out, or too confusing to understand, you’re not alone. If you wonder why the U.S. has become involved, you are in a league with millions of fellow Americans. But consider this: The United States supplies arms and air power on the side of the anti-Assad rebels and Russia favors the Assad regime by sending military supplies and engaging in some forms of military intervention. Could the chaos in Syria expand to a greater war outside of Syria? That possibility cannot be ignored.

Over the years while this ongoing conflict has continued, U.S. aid to anti-Assad rebels has ended up in the hands of ISIS. Some of the promised aid led to the attack in Benghazi where our nation’s ambassador and three other Americans perished. Other U.S. aid went to Kurdish forces whose loyalty to the U.S. is highly questionable.

One policy that few have voiced is that our nation ought to stay out of this mess and similar messes. But those who believe it is America’s duty to create an American-led empire – the neoconservatives in both major political parties – continue to advocate involvement in this costly and seemingly endless struggle. Isn’t it time for America to mind its own business?

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.