“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

short term patchwork long term disaster

John Quiggins at Crooked Timber has a post about the incoherence of the US' s Middle Eastern policy in which he writes that the US has only done one thing consistently in the Middle East, which is slavishly follow Israel's policy.
Nice as it would be to have some compressed and easily understood guide to US policy, I don't think this one is is. 
Actually, it is not just Israel that acts as a driver of US policy – although in actuality I think this is a two way driver, and that Israel does a lot of things that the US government wants them to do while pretending to condemn them or hold them at a distance – but Saudi Arabia. Why should the US, which is buddies with all the authoritarian Gulf states and calmly watched as the Saudis invaded bahrain and suppressed a democratic revolt, care about Assad? I mean, we have no real reason to overthrow Assad. It will actually make US policy much more difficult if Syria fragments. But the Saudis fear Iran, and thus want to damage their ally. That’s it. Similarly, when Pakistan illegally steals the technology and designs to build nuclear weapons, and are financed in this endeavor by the Saudis, we do… nothing. When Iran openly pursues nuclear power and, we presume, a nuclear weapon, we go apeshit.
If the US had taken a far sterner stance towards Saudi Arabia and had established a relationship with Iran in 1989, like Israel, at that time, was advocating, we would surely not have had 9/11, and there would surely be no ISIS.
I would define the US problem in the Middle East differently. Our patchwork of short term policy decisions reflect an unthought out long term framework that has long been broken. It isn’t just the Israel connection that is responsible for this. Rather, it is literally the politics of the oil companies which has brought us to this point.

No comments: