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Talking Points on U S Middle East Policy

For 45 years American foreign policy was built around one thing and one thing only; the Soviet Union standing opposite us. We saw Moscow in our Latin American policy, in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, even space.

(Sadly we saw it everywhere but the places it was most dangerous; in Washington, in academe, and in our culture. But that’s another story.)

By the 1970s a giant industry of academic orthodoxy had been created, much like climate science today; a rich, bottomless pool of a serious and  ponderous never-ending “inquiry” into an unchanging universal paradigm; that world history would revolve around this stalemate between these two super-powers.

Everyone was cashing in on it and no one was questioning any of its premises. And certainly, no one was seriously considering how to end it. “What will the preachers do if the devil is saved?”, shouted Brother Dave Gardner in 1957.

Simply stated, it was in our best minds’ best interests to believe this could go on forever.

Then along came a dull-witted cowboy from California who quickly reduced all that orthodoxy to a few simple propositions, and voila! in eight short years, brought down the entire evil empire…

…and with it, all those academicians’ rice bowl.

What also happened, much like the climate scam today, as the Soviets began emptying their secret file cabinets, we learned that so much of the academics’ premises of the Cold War were booshway, guesses at best. Knowing now that the Soviets couldn’t have found Omaha from Kansas City with their missile technology, just consider the wasted billions; endless summits, START treaties, MADD, or how about all those CONELRAD drills in 3rd grade? Even the Cuban missile crisis was a canard.

Today, those aging Sovietologists have been put out to pasture and a new crop of academicians has arisen. They too are trying to create an orthodoxy around which the world’s political scientists can all find consensus so as to establish yet another 30-year rice bowl.

The question is: Can the world afford another thirty years of specialists looking in all the wrong places for world stability?

Does America need a Kissinger now, or do we need a Reagan?

The answer is simple. Our foreign policy still requires plenty of expertise, to be sure, but to cement it, we need a president with a clear sense of national purpose, and who will lay out our objectives in the clearest and simplest terms, for I cannot see the world moving in a safer direction in the  hands of hair-splitters and parsers.

There is no 30-year window here.

The UN’s idea of a new world detente has nothing to do with what lies ahead for the United States. A hundred little fires, some connected, some not, which in the aggregate can produce death by a thousand cuts, is what we face, and the only way can confront them is with a clear, concise and unbending message of resolve. Not “cutisms,”  just good sense.

That said, I am only speaking to American policy in the Middle East here.

American Foreign Policy 101:

I won’t speak of Israel here, except to say that her existence, her right to exist, has been a cornerstone to US policy in the Middle East ever since 1948. Until Iraq, in 2005, she had been the only democracy in the Middle East…ever.

But there is a much older American policy that supersedes even our Israeli policy, and that is, the United States always favors democracy, will do nothing to thwart its birth, and will do nothing to bring about the rise of new despotic regimes that might suffocate it.

I know some left-wing harpies would like to challenge this, and we have had progressive presidents try to bend this rule, but in fact, that has been our policy in the Middle East since 1948.

Our policy in the Middle East, until only recently, has been based on the simple fact there are no “pro-democracy” groups in the Middle East in a position to build a nation.

This is based on a simple calculus of Middle Eastern history dating back to the 7th Century, namely, Muslims favor kings…in one form or another. By this I am  saying, so as to disabuse those who are still looking for an Islamic “reformation” (a la Martin Luther), it is not Islam, but its “kingly” tradition that keeps it tied to the Middle Ages. I will discuss this more fully at a later time, and will only say here that this reformation will come, but it will not come on the wings of a new religious message or messenger, but rather on the heels of expanded freedom; democracy. The death of the “kingly-tradition” in the Middle East will free Islam.

And that first step was taken in 2005, in Iraq.

But current changes in American Policy 101, as just stated, not only will doom democracy there, but appear to have that as one of its objectives, for with a healthy democracy alive in the Middle East, “other forms” of government cannot succeed.

The two competing kingly-traditions in the Middle East

It is agreed that to live under a totalitarian contentedly is not a natural human impulse. Men do not favor having a ruler rather than to be free to build their house as they like. Thousands of Muslim emigres to the US have proved this. But in truth, millions of people have no way to even conceive of the possibility of freedom…except for the existence of the United States and other examples of liberty which modern technology seems to increasingly makes them aware of.

This is the right hand of technology that makes tyranny a much harder chore than before. (But there is also a left hand, so pay attention.)

American foreign policy has always been aware of our great burden, to subtly advertise to the world’s citizens that we are simpatico with their most basic desires, at the same time being careful not to involve ourselves in the internal politics of their countries…which, yes, are dominated by kings, dictators, thugs or other authoritarians.

Without ignoring the fact that there are genuine pro-democracy groups in the Middle East…and “our” experts generally know who they are (ask Michael Ledeen about Iran)…all the people competing for power in the Middle East subscribe to one version or another of the idea that Arab and Middle Eastern people must be “led” by a strong central authority figure. The people should have no voice in the matter.

These are ALL anti-democrats, covering a full range of thuggery.

Saddam Hussein and even Hafez al-Assad, both B’aathists, and neo-communists, saw themselves as kings in the old Arab style. They were Muslim, attended to their prayers (most of the time), and could lop off the head of any Arab citizen, at any time, for any reason.

Interestingly I find old-school thugs like Assad and Saddam to be more in line with the ancient tradition of Muslim despots, who could care less about being the Sword of Allah, but who did care much about grabbing and holding as much territory (or oil) as they could, and have people bow and scrape as they passed by.

But there is now a new “kingly tradition” afoot, and it has been around since the post-WWII era. These “kings” are less regal, Osama and Al Qeada, Ahmajinidab and the mullahs, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, all come to mind; twice as insidious, vicious and painful to citizens, but less magnificent and Mussolini-like. There is a dull doctrinaire Maoist tone to their rule. They enslave by process, not the sword, and execute by writ, not whim. Still, what Iranian over 40 wouldn’t give worlds to undo that lapse in 1979 when they informally asked the Shah to leave and enthusiastically invited the Ayatollah to return?

These modern kings have mastered the left hand of all that technology out there, which comports nicely with a world order (new “detente”) I mentioned earlier.

I will say it plain, American foreign policy since the 1950s has been NOT to choose sides between these competing forms of “kings,” for neither side represents any good.

However, Barack Obama has chosen sides, and it is that same left-handed technology, bureaucratic and orderly, a pretense of democracy, that brought him to power.

Obama has decided that one of the two competing “bad” factions in the Middle East should win…or, as Maxine Waters might say, doing a complete 360 on established American foreign policy.

These are the facts as I see them, simply put.

As we enter the debating season for GOP candidates, I believe the candidate(s) who best grasps the simplicity of existing American policy in the Middle East first, then fills in the blanks as events unfurl…for the dynamic of the Middle East will progress as the same pace this campaign does…will have the best chance to tell voters that he/she gets it, and is ready and able to execute strategies that will maintain America’s “prime imperative”, and that we will continue to protect the already standing democracies in the Middle East.




Citizen With Bark On

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There are so many things that can be taken from your treatise today, Mr. B. As you recall the ‘cowboy’ analogy, one of the most important seems to be that the applicant for the Presidency must know what the job is. I recall the Gotcha! question asked of G.W. Bush when he was interviewing for the job – “Who is the (vice-premier or something) of (one of the -istans)?” How very juvenile of the press, I thought. We do have a rather large and cumbersome State Department to supply needed details, or we used to. Another is that many of… Read more »


That is exactly what I saw in the eyes of the Iraqis and Afghans I met! I’ve tried to describe it before but could only call it foreign and hopeless. The lack of spark in their eyes, the resignation to yet more brutality was their inability to even imagine freedom. What a miserable existence.