Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Iran “biggest threat” to Middle East… Does the line between propaganda, realpolitiks, and alternate realities get blurrier every day?

with 7 comments

smedley_butler.jpeg

“I spent 33 years in the Marines. Most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.”

Smedley Butler (1881-1940) USMC Major General

Condoleezza Rice is touring the various military dictatorships and medieval theocracies that the USA likes to call its allies in the Middle East saying things that must require botox on steroids to say with a straight face. I know that foreign policy has always been a game of lies and misrepresentation, but still, Bush’s foreign policy often seems so disconnected from reality that I have to wonder. I mean, I can understand why Americans who have no knowledge of the history and the current state of affairs in the world fall for this stuff, but what scares me is that the Bush administration comes across as actually believing the lies they are spreading around.

A lying cynical hypocritical administration would be fine if they ultimately had the best interests of America at heart, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. But an administration that believes its own propaganda and is working for the best interests of the oil companies, the arms industry, fundamentalist supporters, and the state of Israel scares me to no end. We’ve always had no shortage of hypocrisy and hubris in our foreign policy, from the Monroe Doctrine onward. Still, I keep thinking it’s gotten worse in recent years, and less focused on what’s good for America as a whole. Especially disconcerting is the seeming disconnect between what we have done and the results that could be and were predicted.

On the top of the list is Rice’s bizarre claim that “I think if there is a destabilisation of the region, that can be laid at the feet of an Iranian regime,…” Um, she has to be aware that it is Israel and the USA that have constantly waged war on nations in the region, it is the USA and Israel that have invaded and occupy large swaths of territory in the Middle East, it is the USA that props up and arms some of the world’s most repressive backward regimes and military dictatorships in the Middle East? Doesn’t she?

Iran didn’t propel Iraq to the number two spot on the failed states index, the USA did that all by itself. Iran hasn’t waged non-stop war on Lebanon for decades, or occupied Arab lands for decades, that’s Israel. It’s the USA who keeps a military dictatorship in power in Egypt, it’s the USA that arms and keeps in power the medieval theocracy in Saudi Arabia, easily one of the world’s least democratic countries. Hell, Saudi Arabia didn’t even outlaw slavery until the 1960s, and as far as anyone can tell the practice still continues there in all but name. Yeah, they’re a “moderate” Arab state?

What troubles me most about all of this isn’t really the nuts and bolts. Promoting terror and war while claiming to be for peace is standard realpolitik, all nations do that, it’s pretty much their stock in trade. I mean, most governments are little more than armed gangs, they don’t stay in power by playing nice. And the USA government is the most heavily armed gang the world has ever seen, obviously peace and love takes a back seat to our military and economic concerns. No, what troubles me most is the idea that the US government actually thinks it has the power to reshape the Middle East in its own image, as exemplified by this Rice quote…”There isn’t a doubt, I think, that Iran constitutes the single most important, single-country challenge to… US interests in the Middle East and to the kind of Middle East that we want to see.”

Um, it’s nice that Bush has a goal, but the chances of shaping his own nation into the kind of nation he would like to see is zero, he’s going to reshape the Middle East in his own image? I find this so hard to put in words, but the Bush administration has somehow managed to convince themselves and millions of their supporters that not only is their vision of what the world should be accurate and right, it’s also possible to achieve if we can just get rid of the “bad actors” like Iran and Syria and Hezbollah that are foiling our efforts. Both conceits are almost mind numbing, together they are a recipe for catastrophe. Or a recipe for war and terror without end, which strikes me as being pretty catastrophic.

I am not praising our enemies as some will be quick to say. I am saying that ignoring the own role we have had in creating the current situation in the Middle East is beyond unrealistic, it’s suicidal. Or suicide bomber magnetic if one prefers. Hezbollah came about as a direct response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. The anti-US theocracy in Iran is a direct result of the US run coup and installation of the Shah. Al Qaeda was inspired by the stationing of US troops in the Middle east, and has gotten stronger every time we have expanded our presence there.

I’m not sure of what the solution to the problems in the Middle east is, though I have some ideas. What I most definitely do know is that redoubling our misguided efforts isn’t going to make things better. Israel has been the undisputed military master of the region since 1948, making them stronger isn’t going to help. American troops stationed in the region have just been an endless source of inspiration for the most violent extremists in the region, American wars in the region have driven many moderates into the extremist camp. More of the same won’t make things better. Arming medieval family run nations like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States isn’t going to promote democracy in the region, hell, much of this money will end up being funnelled to the extremists. Is that the plan?

My point: When a war is going badly, you don’t blame your enemies or your liberal countrymen; you figure out what you are doing wrong and change your strategy. That Bush and his remaining supporters seem unable to even contemplate that they might be doing something wrong scares me. It scares a lot of people. It should scare a lot more.

(The above image was originally produced by an agency of the US government, and is thus public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

July 31, 2007 at 9:45 am

Posted in Bush, Iran, Propaganda, War

7 Responses

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  1. An interesting post. That is a given as I usually enjoy your post even if I don’t agree.I also offer it sincerely. I was wondering if you could expand on something. Saudi Arabia “royal family” are the government. They represent the political “norm” for Saudi society. They are armed IMO for a number of reasons. Iran,Israel,easy way to maintain positive US relations and fear of the Wahabists. Am I wrong ? Do you have a viewpoint ,or your readers ? Hope you don’t mind the inquiry.

    in2thefray

    July 31, 2007 at 2:31 pm

  2. Bush regime is not giving these billions of dollars arms as free gifts. They are trying to sell their arms to boast their arms industry. The biggest arms deals goes to strengthen Israel worth 30 billion for the next ten years.

    Al Qaida is strong because Bush regime has swallowed their bait of invading Afghanistan and Iraq. Hezbollah is becoming more popular because of its social welfare programs and they see them as the defenders against powerful aggressive enemy Israel. Hamas win the elections because of its social and economic programs and also because Fatah corruption. Labanese and Palestinians love Hezbollah and Hamas which are terrorists according to US.

    The solutions are real simple but no common Americans will pay any attention to these suggestions so it will be waste of time writing them out and get labels “terrorists sympathizer”, “Islamophobic”, “Anti American, “American hater”.

    QB

    July 31, 2007 at 3:31 pm

  3. The US arms industry should be shut down, munitions should be made as needed at no profit. The idea of capitalist warfare is at the root of much of the problem in the world.

    whig

    July 31, 2007 at 7:38 pm

  4. May I ask waht these solutions are? IMHO, the solutions are never simple.

    America is basically as honest, uncorrupted and selfless as any other nation you can name.

    Which is to say: Every nation on Earth is basically dishonest, corrupted and selfish.

    What’s all this nonsense about justice and equality and rule of law and human rights and democracy… The sad fact, as evidenced by all of human history, is that might is all that matters… Be it economic, political, military or cultural.

    America’s doubletalk claims of trying to better the region are pure hypocrisy… Just like the alibi of every other player in the region.

    Iran meddling in the Sunni-Shia divide in Iraq. Syria assassinating Lebanese leaders they dislike. Foreign fighters using refugee camps to strike at Lebanon’s government, causing the poor Palestinians to be even further displaced. America and Iran using Israel and Palestine as their proxy war, while everyone else has their own proxy wars ongoing.

    And this backstabbingly great fun has been going on since long before Aemrica even became a nation!

    I wonder when they’ll finally nuke the entire region and be done with it. If there’s no Middle East, there won’t be any Middle East Conflict eh?

    Scott Thong

    July 31, 2007 at 8:35 pm

  5. Well, you’re all over the map here, but a quick reply. Yes, the world’s problems are not simple, and a big part of the problem is that the Bush administration appears to believe the simplistic “good guy/bad guy” narrative. “Kill all the bad guys” is not a foreign policy.

    I have written one link with my proposals, others are on the way, but for the most part my ideas are in dribs and drabs in various posts.

    VT Day

    Thanks for dropping by, please keep future comments shorter. (see comment policy) -Doug

    unitedcats

    August 1, 2007 at 8:37 pm

  6. Just contrast this with the nuclear deal with India.

    They didn’t sign NPT. Do not want to allow inspection, have tested weapons without warning, possess unknown number of them, is trying to develop H-bomb (have they, already?),
    have a very bad human rights record, pogroms has taken place with state acquiescence.

    And we have happily signed a deal with them.

    American!

    August 2, 2007 at 7:23 am

  7. What kind of Middle East do we want?

    Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State, August 2007:”Iran constitutes the single most important single country strategic challenge to the Unites States and to the kind of Middle East that we want to see.”

    What kind of Middle East do we want? The present Republican administration contends that above all, a nation like Iran would not fit into our picture. The Iranian government would not accept our administration policy as the sole policy for the Middle East. The administration wants the natural resources of the area and a market where our corporations would sell our hardware and second-class arsenals.

    Iranian potential to develop nuclear arsenals would be of minimum consequence to our national defense; after all we faced Soviet’s fully developed nuclear arsenals. Iran, a third class nation, is more of nuisance than a real threat. Iran could be a threat to our satellite Arabic nations, not by shear military force, but by example of defying our Middle Eastern policy. The satellite nations, like Iran under Shah, have a tenuous existence. One way or another, the people of these nations will free themselves from the yoke of their despotic masters. The administration finds it much easier to deal with a single ruler than to deal with a whole nation. We just pretend to desire the concept of messy democracy for these nations, knowing well the hostility of the regional population to our American foreign policy.

    Are we trying to make an example of Iran? Iran under Shah was incapable to produce a sewing needle; in contrast, Iran today is developing a strong population of educated men and women, a solid industrial base and national pride. Iranian democracy must develop from the Iranian base, a brand of democracy suited to the historical and cultural sense of the population. Like our American Republic, democracy in Iran will nurture with time, experiencing up and down until the Bill of Rights of Iran will be established.

    What do we, the people of this great Republic, demand from our Administration for the Middle East?

    StMTraveler

    August 21, 2007 at 5:53 pm


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