Does Washington Want to Lose Little or Bigly in the Mideast?

“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.”

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Make the Other Guy Die For His Country

“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.”

Recognizing the Threat of Extremism in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iran

“In effect, the real “Axis of Evil” was none other than Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iran. And, it’s not even really an axis. One must also include Turkey, which has done everything in its power to become a rival to the United States and a friend to both Sunni extremists as well as Iran.”

Russia Derangement Syndrome: Syria Edition

“This is the endless treadmill that the civilised world is on: Libyans (and others like them) disturb the peace of the world. In turn, the West tries to kill those who would impose their will on others (because the others include us).

It is a recurrent police action and no more than that is needed; it is pointless to stay around to do some nation-building – the mistake of Afghanistan.”

War with Iran is Coming

“Further, I would anticipate spikes in the global price of oil for the foreseeable future (by the way, this undoubtedly would make Moscow happy, since Russia depends on higher-than-average oil prices to sustain its economy and military modernization program). Should these increases continue for the foreseeable future—and if Iran continued both with its illicit nuclear weapons program and regional expansion—the United States will be forced to intervene military.”

How to Lose Wars and Infuriate People

“Unless American leaders begin accepting limits on what pure military force can achieve (without becoming doves), and more fundamentally, inherent limitations on their power to conduct war, then a sound strategy will never be crafted in war. Rather, we will continue to “do stuff.” Action will be conflated with accomplishment. And, threats will never be mitigated. Instead, they will simply multiply–even as we increase our expenditures and commitments to the conflict.”

American Greatness in the Mideast Means Protecting Israel

“The United States will never enjoy being the regional hegemon again in the Middle East. Even so, it need not abandon completely its position there. Instead, the United States must empower fully its regional allies—Israel especially—and continue putting pressure on Russia to restrain its Iranian proxy. Thus, a favorable balance of power can be created between two external powers (the United States and Russia) and their regional proxies. This is the only way one can create stability in the unstable Middle East today.”

Syria is a Successful and Sustainable Model? Don’t Make Me Laugh

“For the United States, it needs to not only temper its expectations (and therefore slow down the tempo of its intervention in the region generally, but specifically in Syria), and start focusing on larger geopolitical concerns. Obviously, the United States cannot (and should not) simply abandon the region, as many on the Far Right insist. But, we must be willing to give greater levels of support–and responsibility–to our local allies. That is our only hope for not breaking the American military in the quicksand of Mideast politics (which we presently are in danger of doing).”

What Happens in a Massive Coalition Airstrike On Assad’s Forces in Syria?

“American war planners in the Trump Administration must, therefore, opt to hit Assad’s air force, but to leave him enough capabilities that he has a reasonable chance at stemming the jihadist surge that will inevitably come from the American air campaign. Trump must also use the 2,200 American troops in Syria as a bargaining chip to get Russia and Turkey to pull both Iran and Assad himself back from the hostilities, and help to create a negotiated settlement that not only ended the conflict, but helped to establish a more stable political environment in Syria.”

Trump and Netanyahu Talk Tough On Iran

“This show of solidarity between the United States and Israel was the best thing that could have been done after recent developments in the Middle East. Although, there are no guarantees. But, all that the United States can do is to effectively dance with the ones who brought them: the Israelis and the Arabs. And, as Netanyahu remarked following his meeting with Trump today, the Arabs are closer with Israel than ever before–they are united by understandable fears of a rising Iranian hegemony in the region.”