Is the Trump Administration Killing More Civilians?

Recently, at an academic conference, a colleague and I were talking about precisely what parts of Trump's tenure are going to be the most distinguishable from a hypothetical Clinton administration. When it came down to it, I think we both thought that national security policy was the area that would be most similar. Trump has recently been criticized for the amount of Syrian, Iraqi, and Yemeni civilians killed by the US or its partners in the past year or so. However, it is likely that the rise in numbers would have occurred no matter who was in office. Battles against ISIS in Iraq and Syria were coming to their horrifying but almost inevitable conclusions: the last strongholds of ISIS being besieged and bombarded. Civilian deaths are bound to increase when states bomb population centers from the air. The results are no different here and the bombing would have likely commenced in a similar fashion with Hillary Clinton as President.

The situation in Yemen is perhaps the area where Clinton would have handled things differently from Trump. The Obama Administration was seemingly on the verge of relinquishing its support from the Saudi campaign as Obama was leaving office, a move that President Trump has clearly reversed. However, Hillary was a hawk in that administration and would have perhaps also reversed course. All in all, while Trump's words set him apart I'm not sure his national security policies actually do...at least not yet. 

Foreign Policy Choices in the Age of ISIS

We are constantly subjected to the liberal intellectual class proclaiming the barbarity of the Islamic State and they aren't wrong. What they are wrong about is their view of US-perpetrated violence, which they see as being altered, reformed, and improved through ethical and moral concerns. I don't know who said it first but whenever I see a liberal talking about ISIS I'm reminded of the mocking refrain "Vote Democrat for a kinder, gentler imperialism." Anyway, I recently published a piece at Cultura Critica on how the standard liberal view of the ISIS tends to glorify US violence. You can read that piece HERE

An Update and Op-Ed

So my goal for this blog has been to put at least one medium-length piece out every other week. So far I've been pretty good about this (we'll see what happens around finals week). However, this week things are a little different because a significant event happened on campus: we successfully passed a student government resolution to urge the UC regents to divest from companies committing human rights violations related to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In light of this, Yazan Amro and I decided to publish an Op-Ed for a Palestinian advocacy site on the matter. We discuss the three-year long campaign, how this represents a turing point in the on-campus debate, and the battles to come. Consider this my the fulfillment of my bi-weekly post. You can find the piece HERE.