T Nation

Article on US Strategy in Mid-East


#1

Just saw this posted on a board I follow and thought it was a good read, especially given the recent discussions on here;


#2

The conflicting opinion: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/05/25/its-time-to-bring-imperialism-back-to-the-middle-east-syria-iraq-islamic-state-iran/

and another rebuttal: http://blog.usni.org/2015/05/27/looking-for-security-in-disaggregation

…personally I think the current strategy of selling a bunch of weapons to the Saudis and Israelis and letting them handle it is a prudent action.

The real issue that needs solved is getting Europe another source of energy, which the Middle East has in spades but several parties don’t want to see happen. This is what keeps sucking us into Middle Eastern conflicts and shooting us in the foot. Biden gave a talk at Brookings yesterday and hinted at this and fielded a couple of questions about it, but this is the one issue the media doesn’t want to talk too openly about.


#3

[quote]theuofh wrote:

The real issue that needs solved is getting Europe another source of energy, which the Middle East has in spades but several parties don’t want to see happen. This is what keeps sucking us into Middle Eastern conflicts and shooting us in the foot. Biden gave a talk at Brookings yesterday and hinted at this and fielded a couple of questions about it, but this is the one issue the media doesn’t want to talk too openly about. [/quote]

Could you elaborate on what you mean here?


#4

the conflicting arguement article from the same site was fantastic btw

I dont agree with the overall point, but it was presented well nonetheless and the history lesson was nice to read;


#5

“The United States has made the mistake before of assessing the adversary inaccurately. During the Cold War, the United States overextended itself, at a great cost in human blood and treasure, because it confused homegrown nationalism, anti-colonialist movements, and wars of national liberation with the spread of Soviet-style communism. The comparison is apt, because some of these extremist challenges do not pose a direct threat to U.S. interests.”

Not true. Cold War nationalism, anti-colonialist movements, & wars of national liberation WERE the spread of Soviet-style communism because the Soviet Union was arming and instigating them. We did it in one nation: Afghanistan, the Soviets did it in 20 or so nations across the globe and we’re the ones constantly called out because of it.

“During the Cold War, the United States overextended itself” not true. In reality it was the Soviet Union which ultimately caved in, not the United States.

"Movements like the Islamic State do not come from nowhere; they are a response not only to decades of humiliation, but also to government failures (just ask former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki). " Make up your mind here. First off, ISIS was created as a force to set up an Islamic State in Iraq during the Iraq War. It was a resistance movement originally. Has nothing to do with decades of humiliation. Secondly, if the US ultimately to blame for supporting radicals in Afghanistan during the Cold War as some would like us to believe, then it is what it is and the theory presented here is wrong.

So, what is the solution. How do we stop ISIS?

From one of the other articles: “the United States, remember, since the end of World War II, has been a world empire in all but name.”

Could someone name our colonies please? How many countries are ruled under our flag?


#6

[quote]phala wrote:

[quote]theuofh wrote:

The real issue that needs solved is getting Europe another source of energy, which the Middle East has in spades but several parties don’t want to see happen. This is what keeps sucking us into Middle Eastern conflicts and shooting us in the foot. Biden gave a talk at Brookings yesterday and hinted at this and fielded a couple of questions about it, but this is the one issue the media doesn’t want to talk too openly about. [/quote]

Could you elaborate on what you mean here? [/quote]

Based on the currently dominant ideology, the US as the world’s sole super-power has a responsibility and duty to keeping the world as stable place as possible.

Most of our Middle-Eastern allies or psuedo-allies are primarily motivated by self-interest as they are not super-powers and are mainly worried about existential threats within the region.

The middle East is just one variable, complicated and inter-related with a whole host of other variables, in the US stochastic-calculus.


#7

http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-volunteer-fighter-killed-fighting-055851881.html

US “volunteer” killed in Syria.


#8

[quote]phala wrote:

Just saw this posted on a board I follow and thought it was a good read, especially given the recent discussions on here;[/quote]

What strategy? The President just said we don’t have one.

And this line could be applied to most of Europe as well:
“Past U.S. policy has already done so, arming and training fundamentally weak but authoritarian allies who stand by and wait for Uncle Sam to ride to the rescue.”

As for not sending ground troops, at what number does the constant rise in troop numbers finally constitute ‘boots on the ground’. Obama just sent 450 more troops to Iraq.

Lastly, I would be fine with a ground invasion, but only after a much more formidable air campaign. Rather than 120+ sorties a month, we would need to run that every day. That way the ground troops would be sent in just to basically plant the flag and stack the bodies (ISIS bodies of course).

Of course I do not want civilian casualties, but as often is the case, you end up with more civilians dead by dragging a war on, then you do by ending it as quickly as possible.
Bottom line, obama is not ready to lead and that is more dangerous then the drums of war. War is coming, it is in fact here. We just are failing to see it for what it is. We don’t want war, but we got it regardless, I’d rather deal with the reality, then try and pretend its not a threat. We did that with al qaeda and paid dearly for it. How much is hiding our heads in the sand going to cost us this time?


#9

[quote]theuofh wrote:
The conflicting opinion: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/05/25/its-time-to-bring-imperialism-back-to-the-middle-east-syria-iraq-islamic-state-iran/

and another rebuttal: http://blog.usni.org/2015/05/27/looking-for-security-in-disaggregation

…personally I think the current strategy of selling a bunch of weapons to the Saudis and Israelis and letting them handle it is a prudent action.

The real issue that needs solved is getting Europe another source of energy, which the Middle East has in spades but several parties don’t want to see happen. This is what keeps sucking us into Middle Eastern conflicts and shooting us in the foot. Biden gave a talk at Brookings yesterday and hinted at this and fielded a couple of questions about it, but this is the one issue the media doesn’t want to talk too openly about. [/quote]

I definately want to cut the entire ME out of the energy game. And I am willing to bet the farm they fear that more than war itself. But that’s not going to make our problems there go away, not anymore. That strategy would have worked 30 years ago, it’s too late for that to make a difference as far as war is concerned.
We should still do it, cut them out that is. But war is upon us, regardless.


#10

[quote]Gkhan wrote:
“The United States has made the mistake before of assessing the adversary inaccurately. During the Cold War, the United States overextended itself, at a great cost in human blood and treasure, because it confused homegrown nationalism, anti-colonialist movements, and wars of national liberation with the spread of Soviet-style communism. The comparison is apt, because some of these extremist challenges do not pose a direct threat to U.S. interests.”

Not true. Cold War nationalism, anti-colonialist movements, & wars of national liberation WERE the spread of Soviet-style communism because the Soviet Union was arming and instigating them. We did it in one nation: Afghanistan, the Soviets did it in 20 or so nations across the globe and we’re the ones constantly called out because of it.

“During the Cold War, the United States overextended itself” not true. In reality it was the Soviet Union which ultimately caved in, not the United States.

"Movements like the Islamic State do not come from nowhere; they are a response not only to decades of humiliation, but also to government failures (just ask former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki). " Make up your mind here. First off, ISIS was created as a force to set up an Islamic State in Iraq during the Iraq War. It was a resistance movement originally. Has nothing to do with decades of humiliation. Secondly, if the US ultimately to blame for supporting radicals in Afghanistan during the Cold War as some would like us to believe, then it is what it is and the theory presented here is wrong.
[/quote]
I disagree with the author’s assessment. The problem is radical islam itself, not socio-economic-political weakness drawing people to it. Much of those fruit cakes are made up of fairly well off, well educated radicals.
Seriously, what does ISIS offer somebody in socio-economic-political distress, more misery? Hardly a selling point. It’s radical islam doing a great job convincing people that misery is a good thing. It’s the whole selling an ice cube to an eskimo bit.

Blow them to hell. They aren’t changing their minds.

Just another self-loathing bed-wetting liberal with no clue.


#11

[quote]pat wrote:

[quote]theuofh wrote:
The conflicting opinion: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/05/25/its-time-to-bring-imperialism-back-to-the-middle-east-syria-iraq-islamic-state-iran/

and another rebuttal: http://blog.usni.org/2015/05/27/looking-for-security-in-disaggregation

…personally I think the current strategy of selling a bunch of weapons to the Saudis and Israelis and letting them handle it is a prudent action.

The real issue that needs solved is getting Europe another source of energy, which the Middle East has in spades but several parties don’t want to see happen. This is what keeps sucking us into Middle Eastern conflicts and shooting us in the foot. Biden gave a talk at Brookings yesterday and hinted at this and fielded a couple of questions about it, but this is the one issue the media doesn’t want to talk too openly about. [/quote]

I definately want to cut the entire ME out of the energy game. And I am willing to bet the farm they fear that more than war itself. But that’s not going to make our problems there go away, not anymore. That strategy would have worked 30 years ago, it’s too late for that to make a difference as far as war is concerned.
We should still do it, cut them out that is. But war is upon us, regardless.[/quote]

This is where certain political persuasions lose the big picture. You can’t cut the ME out of the energy game because they have most energy on tap and by a wide margin. This is also why Russia and China both have dogs in the hunt.

Syria is being used both by Iran for an intra-ME power struggle and by Russia for a NATO power struggle. There are other concerns but energy is a perennial bellwhether.


#12

[quote]pat wrote:

Just another self-loathing bed-wetting liberal with no clue. [/quote]

You should look up the guy who wrote that article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_D._Kaplan


#13

[quote]theuofh wrote:

[quote]pat wrote:

Just another self-loathing bed-wetting liberal with no clue. [/quote]

You should look up the guy who wrote that article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_D._Kaplan
[/quote]

Well then, I stand corrected.