Middle East

December 26, 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -  

I know.  I was wrong.  I said we would avoid a government shutdown.  Congress won’t appropriate money for a wall to block the surge of illegals over our southern border.  President Trump won’t sign a bill that doesn’t provide money for a wall.  It’s a stubborn standoff.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

The partial shutdown affects about 25% of our federal employees – sitting at home will be about 800,000 workers.  But when they get called back to work, they will be paid for all the days they didn’t work.  That’s paid vacation.  Keep in mind most of our government is already funded through September 2019.   We have 320 million people in our country and most of them will never notice the partial shutdown – unless it goes on for a long time.

  I want to focus on President Trump’s decision to pull our troops out of Syria and cut in half our fighters in Afghanistan.  Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was not in agreement with that decision and decided to resign.  It is not a surprise.  President Trump has wanted to exit that Middle East quagmire from day one.  President Obama was trying to get out, but advisors kept pushing him to commit more troops.  We have taken back most of the territory that ISIS fighters occupied.  At one time, ISIS had more than 100,000 troops and now have less than 10,000.  Let Syria and Russia clean up the mess and pay to rebuild.  It’s their responsibility now.

  Some “war hawk” members of Congress think this is a disastrous decision.  That’s not what most of our citizens believe.  They are sick and tired of fighting in the middle east.  It has cost us $7.6 trillion, and 7,000 lives. 

  We must acknowledge our departure will make Syrian President Bashar al-Assad happy.  Russia and Iran will be glad to see us gone.  But it is my judgment that it is not the U.S.’s responsibility to be “policeman” to the world.  We can’t afford it.  Let someone else be responsible for peace and order.  Good luck in trying to bring peace and order to the Middle East.  Remember, the U.K. once occupied Afghanistan.  They left.  Then, in 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.  That didn’t work.  They left.  We have been at war in Afghanistan for 17 years.  Maybe it’s time to hit the trail.

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Until next week, this is John Block reporting from Washington, D.C.