Even top Trump advisors were taken by surprise when Nikki Haley abruptly announced she was resigning her post as UN ambassador. Something must be up, but what?
McClatchy News says America is about to return to the bad old days of regime change. Only this time it'll be "Smash and Grab."
Haley could handle it, of course — she gives as good as she gets. However, it might just be a good time for her to be sipping mint juleps on a South Carolina back porch as this administration executes a more-assertive foreign policy — one the United Nations will not look upon kindly.
The Trump administration is actively advocating for and catalyzing regime change in several countries, but with no plans to participate in follow-on nation building.
The administration clearly is disregarding Colin Powell’s famous use of the Pottery Barn rule, “You break it, you own it.” There are plenty of plans to break Iran and Venezuela, for example, but no clear plans to take ownership for the nation building that needs to follow any traumatic or violent event in an already-struggling society.
In fact, the plans in place follow a new type of rule: call it the “Smash and Grab” — something familiar to urban dwellers who regularly suffer car break-ins, find shattered glass in passenger-side gutters and lose valuables in snap-heists.
In the foreign-policy arena, the United States tries to pull off smashing an odious sitting regime such as Iran’s murderous dictatorship. The means? The use of proxies and allies to apply concerted force while applying joint sanctions to stop trade and revenue.
What follows the smash is the promise of grabbing valuable resources from the subject nation. In both Iran and Venezuela, the plan appears be to “take the oil.” Smash the country, grab the oil.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump lamented America’s failure to grab the oil after the United States expended so much blood and treasure to overthrow Saddam Hussein and rebuild Iraq. In fact, the United States ended up losing the entire country to Iran as Iraq’s ruling minority Sunnis were disbanded and disgraced. What replaced Hussein was an Iran-allied Shiite Iraq, a country that sold its oil futures to France and China while building a sacred bond with ruling Iranian theocrats, militias and intelligence.
...All signs point to an American policy and practice that will leverage willing allies and new friends in far-off regions to use their own militaries, money and political machinations — not America’s — to achieve U.S.-desired outcomes. It’s Trump’s version of “leading from behind” that will likely leave behind a big mess.