Washington’s foreign policy since September 11th, 2001 is one of the most destabilizing factors in the world, a new study by Brown University has found.
A paper titled “Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States’ Post 9/11 Wars” by Vine, Coffman, et al studied the impact of American forever wars in Afghanistan (2001-Present), Pakistan (2001-Present), Yemen (2002-Present), Somalia (2002-Present), the Philippines (2002-Present), Iraq (2003-Present), Libya (2011-Present), and Syria (2014-Present) has had on civilians over the years.
Vine, et al estimated that roughly 37 million have lost their homes or become refugees due to the fighting and infrastructure damage provoked by American interventions in their land. The last 20 years of the ongoing “War on Terror” has created as many refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) as World War II.
If other nations targeted by American imperial ambitions like Venezuela were to be included, the number of IDPs and refugees balloons to 59 million.
Aside from the human carnage caused locally, US military belligerence and the Pentagon’s arming of terrorist proxy groups abroad also causes blow back and regional instability for allies. 7.8 million people from these conflict zones are classified as asylum seekers and refugees, and the overwhelming majority of people who swamped Europe during the 2015 migrant crisis came from the aforementioned countries.
Only 25.3 million of these 37 million IDPs and refugees have returned home to lives of normalcy.
In recent years, US political officials have struggled to honestly explain to the exhausted and war-weary public why exactly America is permanently entangled in so many foreign combat operations. At a recent campaign rally, President Donald Trump bluntly told his voters, “The fact is, we don’t even have to be in the Middle East, other than we have to protect Israel.”
A drastic withdrawal of US troops from overseas remains a highly popular position with voters. President Trump has been at least superficially trying to wind down American combat operations abroad, but has so far been undermined and blocked by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the State Department.
It remains unclear if his most recent announcement of withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan is empty rhetoric or sincere, but Trump’s track record on fulfilling this aspect of his 2016 campaign platform is not good. Trump’s biggest 2020 donors, such as Israeli duel citizen and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, are advocates of permanent war in the Middle East, which they see as a worthwhile trade off in order to incrementally advance the geopolitical goals of Israel.
Besides historic levels of civilian displacement, Brown University’s Costs of War Project has also found that the US has so far spent $6.4 trillion dollars (with an additional $8 trillion in accumulated interest on the war debts over the next 40 years) on these conflicts, caused the death of 800,000 people (largely civilians), lost 15,000 US servicemen and military contractors, and yet somehow managed to leave nation-building projects like Afghanistan and Iraq the same or worse as before.