Skip to comments.Donít Repeat The Last Two Decades Of Foreign Policy Idiocies With Iran
Posted on 01/03/2020 7:43:00 AM PST by Kaslin
The best way to neutralize Iran is to have them overstretch. An older, forgotten grand strategy where adversaries bleed each other is in the Western interest.
Heres all one needs to know about what is happening in Iraq: As France 24 reported, Iraqi security forces made no effort to stop the protesters as they marched to the heavily-fortified Green Zone after a funeral held for those killed in the US air strikes, letting them pass through a security checkpoint leading to the area. Consider that for a moment, and let the anger surge through your veins.
These are the same people who begged for Western help during the Islamic State (ISIS) surge. Cynics argue that they didnt even make an effort to stop ISIS from getting close to Baghdad. A lot of them are closet ISIS sympathizers, and the rest are Iranian-funded members of Shia militia. If you think the thousands marching to the U.S. embassy are all Iranian agents, and otherwise both Sunni and Shia Iraqis have a deep-seated appreciation for all things related to James Madison, my name is Ahmed Chalabi, and I have a nation to sell to you for rebuilding.
The same people who have repeatedly betrayed the generosity of Western tax-funded development projects now resort to violence. As the new year and new decade start, one can realize that nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed in Mesopotamia in the last two decades, with $1 trillion wasted and more than 20,000 killed or maimed and scarred for life.
The decade ends how it began, with American-funded, camo-wearing specially trained Iraqi troopers smashing U.S. embassy walls with a sledgehammer and ripping off the American seal. Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsay Graham ended up begging and pleading Iraqi allies to understand that Americans are friends. From wed be greeted as liberators to this, it was a hell of a civilizing mission, except the only ones who got chastised were on this side.
This wont be discussed much in political circles or mainstream news, as the discussion on Iraq is still exactly what we have endured for two decades. Attempting to liberalize an entire swathe of land against the wishes of the majority of its populace can be attributed to two causal variables: Delusional idealism, and faith in the intrinsic goodness of human nature. The first one is a symptom of our flawed education system, which, like Star Wars, considers democracy a natural state of affairs; and the second one is based on a flawed, Whiggish interpretation of history. It results in an undying optimism.
A new paper in Foreign Affairs, for example, asks, if theres a chance of a Westphalian peace in the Middle East, like one that happened in Europe after the collapse of the Roman Empire and centuries of religious warfare. This natural equilibrium developed as the warring groups realized the best way to save mutual bloodshed is through a policy of non-interference in each others internal affairs. That led to the rise of the nation-state system, which forms the basis of international relations now. Yet the conclusion was depressing.
Since the collapse of the Ottomans, the Middle East has been under the hegemonic protection of the West — initially the British and the French, subsequently the Soviets and the Americans. Natural equilibrium needs a natural re-alignment of social, cultural, and religious forces, which comes inevitably after heavy bloodshed.
For any such grand bargain to appear, there needs to be an amoral compromise, based on relative gains. Fenrir needs to chain himself, so to speak. Ideologues and media pundits with no sense of history, and used to a quarter-century of hegemony, are not taught the art of any grand bargain. It is us who think we can only help those who are in need, and everyone is in need of a good-intentioned guidance, when it is not our battle to join in the first place.
The common arguments will always be common. Dont we have to fight the war there, so it doesnt come here? Dont we have to promote democracy so theres no civil war? No, we dont. This is not 2001, and forward deployment isnt needed on a mass scale to maintain a wary eye on a volatile region.
Technological advancements like drones, with a carefully drafted foreign policy that lets local actors balance each other, is sufficient, and the money spent on building bathrooms in Basra could be spent on intelligence and surveillance from within Western borders. In any case, small-scale terror attacks can never be completely eradicated, but they can be minimized with vigilance.
Large-scale threats like ISIS would invite balancing coalitions with ground troops mostly provided by local Shia and Kurdish forces. Power begs to be balanced. By all means, sell weapons to every side, but theres no need for nation-building. As for democracy promotion in Middle East, the idea is so juvenile, especially in 2020, it borders on insanity.
That leaves us with Iran. Iranian influence will never be completely eradicated from its neighboring country with an overwhelming Shia majority. But Iran is also an adversary, albeit with a very limited area of influence. However, one way to stop Iran, which has not been tried, is a very old, forgotten art of bloodletting. It’s a grand strategy that was once taught to every rookie foreign policy wonk, when schools still focused on teaching amoral history instead of an ideological supposed end of history.
Let Iran bleed. Let Iran overstretch, from Tehran to Tartous. Let them spend their own blood and treasure and impoverish their wealth maintaining security trying to dominate the massive Sunni population of Western Iraq and Northern Syria. Persians and Ottomans were the natural balancers of the Middle East up until 1919. Why not have that back 100 years later?
We can already see the Turks are busy securing Libya and Northern Syria. Why not let Iran do that on their Western front? With the Iranian Quds force leader dead, Iran would look to escalate in asymmetric ways, like it did during President Reagan’s time, by bombing Americans in Lebanon.
President Donald Trump was not elected to civilize the Middle East. He was elected to secure his own borders, and focus on China. As Defense Priorities research shows, this new problem in Iraq is not a cause of concern but an opportunity to disconnect from a cancerous region for good. To rephrase Napoleon, never interrupt your adversary when he is bleeding himself dry.
Amoral, dry, cynical realpolitik was once in Western sinews. The 1920s saw the rise of Wilsonian internationalism. One can only hope this coming decade, a hundred years since, proves to be its final death knell and sees a return of a much older, and far more intelligent form of conducting foreign policy. Lets finally stop going abroad to search for monsters to destroy. And lets avoid permanent alliances and entanglements everywhere.
Reagan handled Libya so well. One attack and they went quiet for decades, giving up their nuclear program along the way. Until Hillary screwed things up.
Trump is doing the best he can with the politicians he has to work with.
The message that Trump sent was not only for iran, it was for Iraq and their leadership. They should listen.
“President Donald Trump was not elected to civilize the Middle East.”
Defending our embassy and people that work there =/= civilizing the middle east.
Or because they are there, they dont really matter?
Why was general dirka dirka in Iraq in the first place?
When you are in a fight, fight to win.
to kill our troops
Ah, the old ‘don’t anger the terrorist he might get angrier and... commit acts of terrorism argument. Leaving terrorists alone means they stay only half angry so they’ll just use one bomb belt instead of two.
Along with every other thug on the world stage.
Three block war:
Block 1 - Handing out food
Block 2 - Calming agitated crowds
Block 3 - Armed fighting
Oh, don’t forget Human Terrain Mapping and hugging you inner-child..!
What if on a day of heavy trench-digging one of our guys checks out a PAIR OF BOOBS...?
Come on, let’s really think this through..!
Can’t WAIT for some good ole IRAN NATION-BUILDING, oh joooy..!
Isn’t THAT going to be fun...!
Just let them keep killing US service members?
Why are we still there? Nothing being accomplished in a conflict that was stupid from the start. How many more Americans are we willing to lose to prop up the Iraqi government, which is pro-Iran, because we took out the old anti-Iran government. Everything the US has done in the Middle East has backfired and caused nothing but misery and death and cost us dearly in American lives and treasure. This is doubling down on stupid.
Think North Korea too.
There are some striking similarities between the two nations along the lines of nuclear weapons and missiles.
Intransigent leadership and a restless populace could also be tossed in.
The North wants to live like the South.
Yeah, an Iran with nukes and ICBMs wouldn’t impact us at all.
Lets just stay home... UNTIL!
So what does this have to do with people targeting our embassy again?
No one asked these idiots to do it. They did. They can now go find something else to do.
This is a thoughtful article. Thanks for posting. Although I think this strike was totally justified, I wonder whether it was a good idea. My hope is that there’s some non-obvious angle Trump and U.S. intelligence are following.
Like, maybe they have figured out that these two guys were critical in keeping various factions within the Revolutionary guards (or the Iranian regime generally) balanced or in check. Perhaps the resulting internecine battle (within the Iranian leadership) to fill these posts will help destabilize the regime at a very delicate time for them.
We had a balance of power situation with Iraq somewhat bottling up Iran until George W. Bush idiotically removed the Sunni dictator, and bringing in enough “democracy” for the pro-Iranian Shi’a majority to dominate. Iran could not have asked for more.
Saddam ran a brutal Sunni kleptocracy with an iron fist for a reason (besides liking it): it’s the only thing that would contain the factional strife in his country. Current solution: Install a new Saddam. Otherwise, deal with their mess forever.
It is quite possible that the protestors are Iraqis who want the US out. We shouldn’t even have an embassy there. It’s all bogus.
The author mistakenly believes that the U.S. ever had any interest in liberalizing anything in the Middle East. The reality is that freedom and democracy is nothing more than a political slogan used by American politicians to dupe low-information voters to support foreign military campaigns that are being carried out against the best interests of those voters. The U.S. has been pursuing a foreign/military strategy in the Middle East that is designed solely for the foreign and corporate interests that have owned our government for years.
They shouldnt be there in the first place. Putting a U.S. embassy in Baghdad is like holding a wedding reception on a hog farm.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.