One of the best parts of having a hard nosed businessman in the White House, one who is known for negotiating tough deals that work out in his interest, is that now, his interest is in the national interest.
In an an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News on Friday and in a tweet last week President Trump said that if American forces leave Iraq the U.S. should be compensated for the billions of dollars we have spent in defense of that country.
Simple ROI, return on investment.
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Trump told Ingraham, “We built one of the world’s most expensive airport facilities, anywhere in the world. I mean, I wish we had it in New York. I wish we had it in Washington. We build runways that are 15,000 feet long … In fact, I think they’re 20,000 feet long over there … Nobody ever built runways like this … But we have billions of dollars into that.”
How would we collect the cash? “Well, we have a lot of their money right now. We have a lot of their money. We have $35 billion of their money right now sitting in an account. And I think they’ll agree to pay. I think they’ll agree to pay,” said the president in the interview.
Here is his tweet on the general subject.
The United States has paid Iraq Billions of Dollars a year, for many years. That is on top of all else we have done for them. The people of Iraq don’t want to be dominated & controlled by Iran, but ultimately, that is their choice. Over the last 15 years, Iran has gained more….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020
I can hear the gushy consistency of leftist hand wringing already.
That just makes us mercenaries, they may whine. Really?
Well, first there is massive precedent for this.
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Even recently Trump got the Saudis to kick in $1 billion to somewhat repay the American taxpayers for the defense of The Kingdom.
The South Koreans, remembering we fought a deadly war there to keep them independent and in the process lost 33,000 troops, have come up with $500 million to partially compensate the U.S. for almost seventy years of defending them.
If only NATO would be so gracious.
It brings to mind the question of what is the proper role for a military. Is there an economic component in the legitimate mission of a national armed forces? Of course there is.
When Great Britain ruled the waves it did so to protect trade routes. When I encountered leftist protesters in the early 90s who were spewing “No Blood for Oil!” I thought the proper response should be, why not?
If much of that oil had been shut off by Saddam Hussein, by his invasion of Kuwait and threat to Saudi Arabia, it would no doubt have had a devastating effect on the American and Western economies. Isn’t economic well-being a vital part of national security?
As such, the principle of economic priorities, in this case return on investment, taking a place in the national security equation is normal and beneficial. The president is right to stress it.
Watch the interview with President Trump: