Errors and Escalations
The drone attack that killed three Americans at a military outpost in Jordan on Sunday occurred amid confusion about the approaching craft, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
“The enemy drone approached its target at the same time a U.S. drone was also returning to base,” the paper reported, leading to “some confusion over whether the incoming drone was friend or foe.” It was not friendly and the attack left 40 American troop members wounded in addition to the three killed.
The three soldiers killed were Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, and Specialist Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, the Pentagon reported Monday.
The attack risks dragging the U.S. further into the chaos that’s engulfed much of the Middle East in the months since Hamas’ October attack on Israel. As Reason’s Robby Soave detailed on Monday, some hawkish Republicans have unsurprisingly used Sunday’s attack to call for greater bloodshed.
So far, the Biden administration seems to be resisting those calls.
“We do not seek another war. We do not seek to escalate,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said Monday. “But we will absolutely do what is required to protect ourselves, to continue that mission, and to respond appropriately to these attacks.”
Despite (or perhaps because of) those assurances, the continued presence of American troops in the region might unintentionally tilt toward escalation.
“The attacks underscore how much these residual U.S. deployments have entailed costs and risks far out of proportion to any positive gains they can achieve,” argues Paul Pillar, a fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Pillar writes that the ongoing presence of American troops in the Middle East creates the risk of escalation and is “a needless vulnerability that ought to be ended sooner rather than later.”
Former President Donald Trump wants a huge tax increase on imports from China—which means, of course, that American individuals and businesses buying those goods will foot the bill.
“Privately, Trump has discussed with advisers the possibility of imposing a flat 60 percent tariff on all Chinese imports,” The Washington Post reported on Sunday. That would be a significant escalation of Trump’s first-term trade wars, which saw the average tariff on imports from China climb from about 3 percent to more than 12 percent (due to a variety of changes Trump imposed, including hiking tariffs on steel, aluminum, solar panels, and many industrial and consumer goods imported from China). Studies show that Americans paid roughly 93 percent of the tariff costs, despite Trump’s repeated and ongoing claims that higher tariffs are a way of extracting payments from China.
Trump’s plan for 60 percent tariffs on goods from China “would harm U.S. farmers, manufacturers, and consumers (especially those with low incomes); upend supply chains and impose significant costs as businesses deal with resulting fragmentation; and create a world in which the United States is increasingly left behind on the global stage,” writes Erika York, a senior economist at the Tax Fo
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