“Consider this: most of the trade passing through the Bab-el-Mandeb either emanates from or travels to Egypt’s Suez Canal—meaning that as Yemen goes, so goes 8 percent of the world’s trade. And as Yemen becomes a major destabilizer along the Bab-el-Mandeb, the stability of the far more crucial Egypt will be next.”
“In fact, President Woodrow Wilson had made clear his antipathy to all forms of empire. Rather than merely sending American doughboys to end the war in the entente’s favor, Wilson insisted on fighting to end all war while simultaneously ending empire itself. Wilson envisaged a postwar order that forced all European empires to abandon their overseas colonies, embraced free trade, and made their markets open to American goods while opening their polities to American ideals. Essentially, Wilson wanted a postwar scenario in which all empires lost.”
“While it might harm Washington’s ego to treat Moscow as an equal partner in world affairs, the only way to mollify the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program – without a major war against Iran (and absent another silver bullet to use on Iran, like the Stuxnet cyber-attack) – is to grant Russia the respect Putin believes he and his country deserve. Thanks to the restrictive sanctions regime that President Trump has imposed on Russia, the United States has leverage. By dangling the prospect of a grand bargain between Moscow and Washington over key disagreements, the United States would likely be able to get Russia to work with it on ending the threat posed by Iran.”
“Time is not on Trump’s side. Unfortunately, neither Israel nor the Sunni Arab states appear capable of hanging on for too long without international support.”
“A similar descent is in store for the United States today—though very few recognize it. Just as the airy assumptions of the last world order (the European-led one) came crashing down on the heads of those who believed them the most, so today are the assumptions about our current world order about to come caving in on us.”
“In response to the horrific slaying of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, a bipartisan group of United States Senators have banded together to stop the potential trade between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Their goal is correct. Although their reasoning is flawed. No one should care about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. He was an Islamist who had malign intentions toward the United States. The real reason that one should be concerned about nuking up Saudi Arabia is that it’s ef-ing Saudi Arabia — home to 15 (of the 19) 9/11 hijackers as well as Bin Laden! Besides, the staying power of the pro-American regime in Riyadh is very much in doubt today.”
“”With the loss of Saudi Arabia as a viable partner in blocking the spread of Iranian power, the Trump Administration would be forced to revisit the oft-repeated notion that Iran is a rational actor. President Trump would have to renege on his campaign promise of ending the terrible Obama era Iran deal. He would have to reverse course and effectively reinstitute the Obama deal with Iran, in order to gain new leverage over Tehran. In other words, Trump would have to surrender the Middle East to Iran, selling out Israel in the process, just as Barack Obama did.”
“Western media outlets must be suspicious of any information coming from Turkey about the Khashoggi disappearance. After all, Turkey (as well as Russia, Iran, and China) benefits from the sustained media campaign against Saudi Arabia (since it disconnects Riyadh from Washington). It also weakens the United States in the region.”
“Washington must stop trying to be the world’s moral dictatress; American leaders must understand that one of the most amazing aspects of the United States is its sense of justice and fairness. Yet, what makes the American sense of justice so amazing is that it is unique in the world.”
“A balance of power paradigm that pits one group of foreign states mostly serving American interests against another, is the best way. Enough of over-committing U.S. forces to the field of battle at the outset of any potential conflict. Play all sides until the best deal can be reached.
The United States isn’t opposed to fighting. The country has been engaged in warfare of some kind for 222 out of its 239-year existence (that’s roughly 93 percent of American history). It’s not about being afraid to fight. The issue is when to fight and how (also, why, particularly in the case of the Middle East).
American policymakers cannot formulate a cogent answer to those questions. At least, not until the wonderfully disruptive Age of Trump.”