The political instability in Iraq should come as no surprise to anyone. To add my two cents worth to the big picture chaos in the Mid-East, here are a few quick thoughts, which I’ll elaborate on later – after I read through a pile of information in my in-box, courtesy of Justin. All the history plays into the centuries old Shia/Sunni power plays, it seems to me. Beyond wanting to annihilate the infidels and use our technology to buff up their killing potentials, Muslims are like the Las Vegas commercial – “What happens in Vegas- stays in Vegas.” We are peripheral to their internal divide in Islam.
Rest assured, whichever moves would be in our strategic interests, this administration will move posthaste 180 degrees in the other direction. While Obama isn’t at “fault” per se and even the Republicans get it wrong in the ME too, the real things we should have done decades ago to distance ourselves from being beholden to any of these Muslim/ME strongmen is to develop American energy independence. On a smaller scale, I’m also alarmed at how our military now utilizes non-US acquisition sources for weaponry and such – really bad idea there, imo. All the sensible things, to distance ourselves from some of these complex wheeling and dealing antics in the ME, we haven’t done and the only option we ever talk about is the military option. The American Left always lacks strategic vision and their entire operational modus operandi is reactionary, consistently lacking any deep thought process or dedicated historical research and analysis – they only seek “facts” which will bolster their political viewpoint.
The Republican strategic camp vacillates between the brain trust (term used very loosely here) of the McCain/Graham camp and the more serious-minded types like John Bolton. The McCain/Graham camp can be counted on for grandiose reactionary military gambits, which play fast and loose with historical reality and they simplistically wrap up all their high-flown rhetoric in the American flag. John Bolton, a very brilliant strategist, can be counted on for clear-sighted analysis, replete with solid historical scholarship to back his position and the only fault I can take from his policy advice, is that often the things he suggests require a stronger political backbone than exists in either political party. We don’t have the political will to tough out many of the actions required to actually be successful, especially in this hotbed of sensationalized journalism in the modern era. We capitulate to third-world propaganda fueled by the ubiquitous photos, sans context, hitting the internet and airwaves. Here’s a very good Bolton piece on the Kerry ME peace initiative.
What we should start doing before we plan any foreign policy is devote more time to looking at maps, thinking about the big picture and asking ourselves what issues about the various regions matter to our own interests. Most of our foreign policy debates become entangled with and controlled by people who have vested interests in particular regions of the world and it behooves us to always step back and refocus on the big picture, which for America should be our own national interests. Only after we’ve studied maps a good bit and done some background historical research should we begin formulating policy. Then we should always put the horse before the cart, which sad to say isn’t our usual reactionary response mode. We need to formulate the big picture foreign policy goals first and then we would be prepared for the little picture crises that keep flaring up. Yawn now, it’s okay, this lecture is over. More to come though, after I read through a lot more information. Yes, Justin, covers everything from modern jihadis all the way back to Tamerlane, but I sure appreciate all the links he sends my way!