Thursday, November 21, 2013

OPINION - U.S. Power and Foreign Policy in the Middle East

"Reflections On American Power And Foreign Policy" by George Brent Mickum, The Public Record 11/18/2013


The deteriorating political landscape in the Middle East stands as a monument to the Bush and Obama Administrations.  While the United States attempts to extricate itself from another long, costly, lost cause – the twelve-year Afghanistan war – military intervention in Syria and Iran is now being considered.  Financially dependent upon the golem of war, members of Congress, Neocons, think tanks, and, of course, a claque of lobbyists clamor for a new conflict, despite positive overtures from that nation’s newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani.  Senator Lindsey Graham, among others, is actively stumping for war with Iran, threatening to introduce legislation authorizing military intervention in Iran without Congressional approval if “nothing changes” regarding Iran’s nuclear program by the end of the year.

The vicissitudes of history are “dross” – to borrow from Ezra Pound’s Pisan Canto #81 – unless the concomitant will to learn from history exists.  Based on an historical review since the Second World War, the United States seems incapable of learning from foreign policy mistakes, and this inability is becoming more and more pronounced.  There is one other possibility: the United States understands precisely what it is doing and does it anyway, spending trillions of dollars to protect corporate access around the world while vastly increasing the specter of terrorism and misery in the rest of the world.

The chaos in the Middle East affords an opportunity to consider whether the United States’ foreign policy around the world is hurting the country rather than helping it, to consider whether U.S. policies are increasing enmity against the United States and increasing the likelihood of terror attacks against the West.  As the drumbeat for military intervention in Syria and Iran increases, the question is whether additional U.S. military intervention in the Middle East is even rational when political destabilization has resulted virtually everywhere the U.S. has left its footprint.

The war in Syria has become a religious civil war that is marked by internecine fighting among forces opposing Assad, including al Qaeda.  Libya grows more chaotic by the day.  The corrupt and effete governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are incapable of influencing events in the Middle East and tremble at the prospect of civil uprisings and religious strife in their own kingdoms.  Saudi Arabia recently turned down a coveted position on the United Nations Security Council, blaming the U.S. The reason for turning down a Security Council seat: The U.S. refuses to attack Saudi Arabia’s political and religious enemies, Syria and Iran. Equally unpardonable is the fact that the U.S. is engaging in diplomacy with both countries.  Finally, there is no mystery that Israel desperately seeks U.S. conflict with both Syria and Iran for its own strategic reasons.

No comments: