RICHARD WOOLCOTT. The US has ‘wasted $6 trillion’ in the Middle East without achieving any success.

In a statement on 27 February President Trump said that the United States
had spent $ 6 trillion in the Middle East and had ” got nowhere “. It had produced  a “mess” and a ” hornet’s nest “. In a conflict United States must always be “winning ,or not fighting at all”.  

I have been recommending for a year now that Australia must focus on our region of the world,and end our military and Air Force involvements in the
highly complex conflicts in the Middle East.   President Trump’s frank assessment on this particular point reinforces my attitude .

Trump may suggest a much greater defence budget could turn the tide against the I S group in the Middle East and the Yemen. However,the only viable solution, distasteful as it has been to the Turnbull Government and the Shorten lead  Opposition, is the return of authority to Assad in Syria. We need to accept that Australia cannot make a meaningful contribution to the resolution of the awful situation in Syria without Assad.

President Trump may also think he can influence the Middle East situation by the promotion of a Sunni front against Iran and we should play no part in any such activity. The United States must also re-assess its unwillingness to accept any role for Iran in the ongoing conflicts and tensions throughout the Middle East.

I have always sought to determine my attitude all our policies in  our – Australia’s – national interest . Unfortunately ,our present political culture seems to have drifted into trench warfare. As Paul Kelly noted in today’s Australian a chasm has opened up between our domestic politics and our real national interests. The Coalition ,and especially the ALP Opposition,are waging populist campaigns.

In this serious situation Australia faces the very real danger of finding itself being left behind and being less relevant in our own region.

So! I worry for my children,grandchildren and great grandchildren .

Richard Woolcott is a former Head of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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5 Responses to RICHARD WOOLCOTT. The US has ‘wasted $6 trillion’ in the Middle East without achieving any success.

  1. James O'Neill says:

    “We need to accept that Australia cannot make a meaningful contribution to the resolution of the awful situation in Syria without Assad.”
    Richard, Australia has no business being in Syria. It is completely contrary to international law. Our government simply lies about what we are doing, or obfuscates, or denies us information which we should have. Our best contribution would be to leave.
    As to where our national interests do lie, there is a very useful contribution to the debate from Paul Keating in this morning’s SMH. Keating talks of “two wasted decades” which is absolutely the case. The new Foreign Policy White Paper should be a golden opportunity for a fresh look at where our interests truly lie, but I suspect it will be simply more of the same. I too worry for my grandchildren.

  2. David Brown says:

    of course the whole Middle East thing is manufactured and maintained by USA, Saudi, Israel

    without their interference there would be no ISIS, terror, refugee crisis, muslim hate, etc, etc

    but from our point of view we certainly should not be associated in any way with this mess

  3. Niall McLaren (aka Jock), Psychiatrist. says:

    “I have been recommending for a year now that Australia must focus on our region of the world…”
    What a coincidence, as I’ve been recommending that for just on 50 years. By the time of the Tet Offensive, January 1968, where I was working as a farmhand in the far northern wheatbelt in WA, it seemed to me that everything we were doing as a client state of the American war machine was based on lies and greed, and that we should withdraw and declare neutrality. I still believe that. In the intervening half century, I have not seen a skerrick of evidence to suggest that I misunderstood the reality of American aggression.

  4. This is an excellent article — my thanks to Mr Woolcott

  5. derrida derider says:

    The role of court jesters is to tell truths everyone knows but cannot say. Trump still thinks he’s the court jester, not the king.

    Still, it is refreshing to see an obvious but awkward truth being told after the long series of murderous (literally) lies the US foreign policy establishment – Republican and Democratic – have spewed out, and that the Australian FP establishment (of which the writer was definitely a part) have sycophantically relayed. What Niall McLaren said.

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