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    Republicans vs Democrats in Launching Wars: We Have the Numbers

    © AP Photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais
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    If one were to compare the US political system to a dystopian society divided into distinct factions based on how many wars they have started, an interesting outcome rebuking conventional perceptions would have been observed.

    It is not about the strong on defense, hawkish Republicans juxtaposed with peace-loving dovish Democrats anymore. Looking back at the past 118 years, there have been some 'divergents' — warmongering Democrats and amicable Republicans. However, more interestingly and surprising for the conventional-minded — the number of the XX century Democratic presidents who kept from starting wars is actually zero.

    According to the research conducted by Sputnik, since the turn of the 20th century — out of 8 US presidents none have managed to stay away from initiating military aggression.

    In turn, out of 12 Republican leaders, two — Warren Harding and Gerald Ford — have deviated from the generally accepted party reputation.

    List of the US presidents since the beginning of the XX century
    © Sputnik /
    List of the US presidents since the beginning of the XX century

    Since 1900, 35 conflicts have been launched by Republican administrations compared to 23 by Democrats, with 10 (out of 12) GOP presidents launching one or more conflicts, compared to 8 (out of 8) Democrats.

    Values and Wars

    Rooted in American conservatism, the US Republican party — commonly referred to as the GOP (abbreviation for Grand Old Party) — has always viewed strong national defense as one of its core principles.

    Online users visiting the GOP website today are encouraged to choose principles that are most important to them. One of the options reads: "Military must be strong and prepared to defend our shores." 

    Given the party's solid emphasis on military strength and national security, it's not accidental the Republicans may be perceived as more eager to partake in military endeavors with the US acting as the world's policeman.

    President George W. Bush (C) names Democratic former senator Chuck Robb (L) and former judge Laurence Silberman (R) as co-chairs of an independent commission to examine pre-war intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. February 6, 2004, Washington, DC.
    © AFP 2018 / Paul J. Richards
    President George W. Bush (C) names Democratic former senator Chuck Robb (L) and former judge Laurence Silberman (R) as co-chairs of an independent commission to examine pre-war intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. February 6, 2004, Washington, DC.

    One of the recent examples would be the 2003 Iraq invasion under the administration of the Republican president George W. Bush. The conflict was deemed to be over in 2011 but its consequences are still far from settled

    READ MORE: US 2003 Invasion of Iraq Led to Nothing But Chaos and Instability — Observers

    What one wouldn't normally consider is that advocates of socio-economic equality and modern liberalism, aka the Democratic Party, would not produce a war-free president in over a hundred years.

    "Democrats believe that cooperation is better than conflict," the party's online platform says.

    However, contrary to the promoted tenet, the Democratic president Bill Clinton in 1999 committed US forces to the war in then Yugoslavia, which lasted a decade.

    US President Clinton does a thumbs-up along with Task Force Falcon Commander, US Brig. Gen. Craig A Peterson, right, with US troops at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, Yugoslavia.
    © AP Photo / Greg Gibson
    US President Clinton does a thumbs-up along with Task Force Falcon Commander, US Brig. Gen. Craig A Peterson, right, with US troops at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, Yugoslavia.

    The bottom line is that the Democrats have been closely trailing the Republicans in warmongering stakes.

    So who started them, and who ended them?

    • The Korean War began and was fought under a Democrat. It was ended by a Republican.
    • The Vietnam War began under one Democrat, escalated and spread beyond Vietnam under his Democratic successor, and then under a Republican. It was ended by another Republican.
    • The Persian Gulf War was entirely a Republican affair.
    • The Bosnian war and the bombing of Serbia were overseen by a Democrat.
    • The "war on terror" was started by a Republican who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and has continued for nearly 8 more years under a Democrat.
      US President Barack Obama speaks during a surprise visit with US troops at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014, prior to the Memorial Day holiday
      © AFP 2018 / Saul LOEB
      US President Barack Obama speaks during a surprise visit with US troops at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014, prior to the Memorial Day holiday

    A 'peacetime US president' is a rarity, especially — during the Cold War, when fear of the spread of communism in Latin America and not only — saw American commanders-in-chief commit US troops all over the world.   

    The end of the Cold War did not bring respite to US war mongering. The country has been at war almost continuously since then, and American forces are actively engaged not only in the highly visible conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen but also in Niger and Somalia as well as Jordan, Thailand and beyond.

    Regardless of who sat in the White House there was hardly a presidential term in US history when the country was not at war.

    It took a Republican Dwight Eisenhower to warn Americans of the corrupting power of the military-industrial complex. And it was a Democrat Bill Clinton who bombed Belgrade TV, designating journalists "legitimate targets". 

    Related:

    A Log in Your Own Eye: Decades of US Meddling in Foreign Elections
    US 2003 Invasion of Iraq Led to Nothing But Chaos and Instability – Observers
    A Thirty Year History of 'Russian Aggression'
    Tags:
    administration, foreign policy, conflict, war, Democratic Party, Republican Party, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, United States
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