Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Donít Repeat The Last Two Decades Of Foreign Policy Idiocies With Iran
The Federalist ^ | January 3, 2020 | Sumantra Maitra

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.


Here’s 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 didn’t 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 “we’d 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 won’t 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 there’s 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 other’s 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. Don’t we have to fight the war there, so it doesn’t come here? Don’t we have to promote democracy so there’s no civil war? No, we don’t. This is not 2001, and forward deployment isn’t 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 there’s 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. Let’s finally stop going abroad to search for monsters to destroy. And let’s avoid permanent alliances and entanglements everywhere.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: foreignintervention; foreignpolicy; iran; iraq; isis; islamicstate; jihadistsareus; middleeast; mullahloversonfr; nationbuilding; projihadist; putinsbuttboys; qassemsoleimani; qudsforce; realpolitic; sumantramaitra
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-49 next last

1 posted on 01/03/2020 7:43:00 AM PST by Kaslin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

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.


2 posted on 01/03/2020 7:48:07 AM PST by ArtDodger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ArtDodger

The message that Trump sent was not only for iran, it was for Iraq and their leadership. They should listen.


3 posted on 01/03/2020 7:50:36 AM PST by richardtavor
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

“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?


4 posted on 01/03/2020 7:53:14 AM PST by VanDeKoik
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Why was general dirka dirka in Iraq in the first place?


5 posted on 01/03/2020 7:53:28 AM PST by dsrtsage (Complexity is merely simplicity lacking imagination)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

When you are in a fight, fight to win.


6 posted on 01/03/2020 7:58:07 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dsrtsage

to kill our troops


7 posted on 01/03/2020 7:59:43 AM PST by Kaslin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

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.


8 posted on 01/03/2020 8:00:57 AM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: richardtavor
“ The message that Trump sent was not only for iran, it was for Iraq and their leadership.”

Along with every other thug on the world stage.

9 posted on 01/03/2020 8:01:48 AM PST by daler
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

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...!


10 posted on 01/03/2020 8:02:00 AM PST by gaijin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Just let them keep killing US service members?

No thanks.


11 posted on 01/03/2020 8:02:09 AM PST by SaxxonWoods (Epstein pulled a Carradine, the bozo.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: richardtavor

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.


12 posted on 01/03/2020 8:10:02 AM PST by Pining_4_TX ("Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods." ~ H.L. Mencken)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: richardtavor

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.


13 posted on 01/03/2020 8:10:30 AM PST by DoughtyOne (The Leftistist media and particularly CNN NEWS should come with a ten day supply of Cipro.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: VanDeKoik

Yeah, an Iran with nukes and ICBMs wouldn’t impact us at all.

Lets just stay home... UNTIL!


14 posted on 01/03/2020 8:11:49 AM PST by DoughtyOne (The Leftistist media and particularly CNN NEWS should come with a ten day supply of Cipro.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Pining_4_TX

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.


15 posted on 01/03/2020 8:12:16 AM PST by VanDeKoik
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

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.


16 posted on 01/03/2020 8:13:00 AM PST by edwinland
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

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.


17 posted on 01/03/2020 8:16:33 AM PST by Chewbarkah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VanDeKoik

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.


18 posted on 01/03/2020 8:17:22 AM PST by Pining_4_TX ("Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods." ~ H.L. Mencken)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
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 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.

19 posted on 01/03/2020 8:17:22 AM PST by Alberta's Child (In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VanDeKoik

They shouldn’t be there in the first place. Putting a U.S. embassy in Baghdad is like holding a wedding reception on a hog farm.


20 posted on 01/03/2020 8:19:34 AM PST by Alberta's Child (In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-49 next last

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.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson