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Should The US Go It Alone?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Sierra Mike, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    It's pretty obvious that the US isn't going to get the international support it needs to successfully develop a wartime coalition against Iraq. While the 8 November 2002 vote to resume enforced inspections passed, it likely was only window dressing covering up a lot of deep-seated resentment and longstanding divisiveness on the part of the US and the UN. No triggers were mentioned--in fact, they were studiously avoided, a compromise the US had to make--and the "hard date" of January 27 has suddenly become a "soft date." No judgement is yet to be rendered from that state-of-the-art experiment in buck passing, namely the United Nations.

    Given that the US is still not in the prime position of being able to project total combat force against Iraq, there is still certainly time left for last-minute diplomacy. I rather suspect that France can be won over; of all nations in the UN, France has always had a difficult time accepting US dominance in the global arena, and continues to play the part of the spoiled child who cannot resist throwing a "tantrum" every time it feels the need. Germany is another sore spot, though less dramatic; Chancellor Schroeder has essentially sidelined himself in this event, and adds only insult to injury by circuitously threatening an abstention from the Security Council vote...if there is one to be had, of course.

    The EU does fear the US establishing an outpost in the Middle East. While there's not a lot of evidence to suggest the US will seize the Iraqi oil fields--that smacks just too much of colonialism, something the US has never been really good at (hey, we backed out of the Philippines, right?). It's an easy grab for the deceivers and show-stealers, however; they can point out any American invasion--successful or not--will leave the oil fields in their care for at least some time. By all indications, the far left is most definitely wanking their cranks over this one, along with substantially unfounded grandstanding regarding the inherent racism they see behind the war.

    Adding complexity to the potentially volative mixture is the failure of the Bush Administration to provide conclusive evidence that Iraq is linked to al Qaeda-like terrorism. Let's be honest; if the US wanted to fabricate something, it could have done so. After all, who would believe the findings of French or German intelligence which indicated counter-findings? Not a lot of people. I am happy to discover the administration has not walked down this road, no matter what the left says.

    Hussein has had more than a decade. The UN is apparently risk-averse and wishes to provide him with another, and this time, sanction-free. That seems unwise.


  2. bruzzes

    bruzzes Truthslayer

    I think the US is still holding back on hardcore evidence which will be forthcoming less then 1 week prior to action.

    The discovery of the empty missiles was just the tip of the iceberg. It is a small test to see if the inspectors can find plausible evidence and to test whether leaks exist in the UN infra-structure.

    Make no mistake about it, we are going in. The big losers will be the UN and the countries that do not join us.
  3. muddly

    muddly Guest

    For the good of the U.S.A, in an economic/patriotic/world domination sense, yes, they should go it alone.

    For the good of the world? For longterm safety and security of the American people? That's harder for me to be sure about.

    Bush wouldn't have to go it alone if he cut the sucking and blowing about good vs. evil and the sudden, convenient interest in enforcing UN security council resolutions (not a U.S. tradition with non-Iraq countries) and substituted some old-fashioned hard evidence of a real, credible, imminent threat. A first strike on lesser grounds is a precedent I'm not sure the U.S. won't regret later.

    If there is no secret evidence, judging on the basis of recent events and actual attacks it's not supportable that Saddam ranks as a bigger enemy of the global village than Osama Bin Laden, the rest of Al Qaida, North Korea, most of the citizens of Saudi Arabia, and (for certain peaceful citizens of certain places) the U.S.A. itself.

    Until the focus on Iraq can be explained better than it has been thus far, I think the U.S. should wait.
  4. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Yes, they should.

    For years now, anti-Americanism has served as a means of last resort by which
    failed political systems and movements in the Middle East try to improve their
    standing. The United States is blamed for much that is bad in the Arab world,
    and it is used as an excuse for political and social oppression and economic

    By assigning responsibility for their own shortcomings to Washington, Arab
    leaders distract their subjects attention from the internal weaknesses that are
    their real problems. And thus rather than pushing for greater privatization,
    equality for women, democracy, civil society, freedom of speech, due process of
    law, or other similar developments sorely needed in the Arab world, the public
    focuses instead on hating the United States.

    What makes this strategy remarkable, however, is the reality of past U.S. policy
    toward the region. Obviously, the United States, like all countries, has tried
    to pursue a foreign policy that accords with its own interests. But the fact
    remains that these interests have generally coincided with those of Arab leaders
    and peoples. For example, the United States may have had its own reasons for
    saving Kuwait from annexation by Iraqs secular dictatorship in 1991mainly to
    preserve cheap oil. But U.S. policy was still, in effect, pro-Kuwaiti, pro-
    Muslim, and pro-Arab. After all, Washington could have used the war as a pretext
    to seize Kuwaits oil ?elds for itself or demand lower prices or political
    concessions in exchange for ?ghting of Iraq.

    Instead, U.S. leaders did none of these things and sought the widest possible
    support for their actions among Arabs and Muslims. When the United States has
    involved itself in con?icts in the region, furthermore, it has usually been
    during ?ghts pitting moderates against either secular Arab forces or radical
    Islamist groups that even most Muslims consider deviant, if not heretical.

    And in such con?icts, the United States has generally backed parties with a
    strong claim to Arab or Islamic legitimacy. This trend can be traced back to the
    1950s, when Egypt, Syria, and later Iraq became dictatorships friendly to Moscow
    and menaced Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. Even then, the United States,
    hoping to demonstrate its sympathy for Arab nationalism, sought good relations
    with Egypts president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, and prevented his overthrow by the
    United Kingdom, France, and Israel in the 1956 Suez war.

    Washington maintained its pro-Arab policy throughout the Cold War, worried that
    if it antagonized Arab regimes they would side with the Soviet Union. For this
    reason, the United States wooed Egypt, accepted Syrias hegemony over Lebanon,
    and did little to punish states that sponsored terrorism. The United States also
    became Islams political patron in the region, since traditionalist Islam, then
    threatened by radical Arab nationalism, was seen as a bulwark against avowedly
    secular communism.

    Nonetheless, during the Cold War it became popular to portray U.S. policy as
    anti-Arabdespite the evidence to the contrary. Such rhetoric became a
    convenient way for radical regimes to establish their own legitimacy and to
    brand their moderate opponents as Western puppets.

    Radical Arab regimes (whether nationalist or Islamist) also accused U.S.-backed
    moderate governments of being antidemocratic or of ignoring human rights, even
    though the radical regimessuch as Libya, Syria, Iraq, and revolutionary
    Iranhad far worse records themselves.

    Indeed, internal con?icts in the Arab world have posed impossible dilemmas for
    U.S. policymakers. When the United States helps friendly governments such as
    Egypts or Saudi Arabias, it is accused of sabotaging revolutionary movements
    against them. As soon as Washington starts to pressure Arab governments into
    improving their positions on democracy or human rights, however, it is accused
    of acting in an imperialist manneras happened this summer, when the White House
    threatened to block any increase in aid to Cairo after Egypt jailed Saad Eddin
    Ibrahim, a prominent human rights advocate. If Washington did nothing and
    friendly regimes were overthrown, the radical conquerors would be unlikely to
    show any gratitude for U.S. neutrality.

    All the same, when con?icts in the region did erupt during the 1970s, 1980s, and
    1990s pitting Islamists against more moderate governments, the United States
    avoided taking sides. During Irans 1979 revolution, for example, although
    Washington clearly wanted the shah to survive, it nonetheless restrained him
    from taking tougher actions to save his throne. And once the revolution had
    succeeded, President Jimmy Carter then sought to conciliate the new Islamist
    government. (It was American contact with moderates in the new regime, in fact,
    that provoked the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in November 1979.)
    Although the United States did not want Iran to spread its radical Islamism
    throughout the Muslim world, it nonetheless sought the best possible relations
    with Tehran in order to minimize its cooperation with Moscow.

    And even though relations subsequently soured, Washington has never seriously
    tried to overthrow the Islamic government; on the contrary, it has periodically
    sought dtente with Tehran.

    In fact, the only time the United States has ever become directly involved in a
    dispute between a government and Islamist revolutionaries was in Afghanistan
    during the Soviet occupationand in that case, Washington backed the rebels.

    A brief survey of U.S. policy toward the Middle East, furthermore, reveals just
    how hard Washington has tried to win the support of Arabs in particular and
    Muslims in general. Consider the following: In 1973, the United States rescued
    Egypt at the end of the Arab- Israeli War by forcing a cease-?re on Israel.
    Washington then became Cairos patron in the 1980s, providing it with massive
    arms supplies and aid while asking for little in return.

    The United States also saved Yasir Arafat from Israel in Beirut in 1982, when
    Washington arranged safe passage for the Palestinian leader and pressed Tunisia
    to give him sanctuary. Washingtons support for Arafat and his Palestine
    Liberation Organization overlooked a history of Palestinian terrorism and anti-
    Americanism as well as the plos alignment with the Soviet Union during the Cold
    War. In the 1990s, moreover, despite the Palestinians backing of Iraq during
    the Gulf War, the United States became the Palestinians sponsor in the peace
    process with Israel, pushing for an agreement that would create a Palestinian
    state with its capital in east Jerusalem.

    Over the years, the United States has also spent blood and treasure saving
    Muslims in Afghanistan from the Soviets; in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from Iraq;
    and in Bosnia and Kosovo from Yugoslavia. It has supported Muslim Pakistan
    against India and Muslim Turkey against Greece. Washington has courted Damascus,
    even tacitly accepting Syrias control over Lebanon. The United States supported
    Arab Iraq against Persian Iran during the Iran-Iraq War and also refrained from
    overthrowing Saddam Hussein after pushing him out of Kuwait in 1991.

    For decades, the United States kept its forces out of the Persian Gulf to avoid
    offending Arabs and Muslims there. They entered, in fact, only when invited in
    to protect Arab oil tankers against Iran and to save Kuwait from Iraq. In
    Somalia, where no vital U.S. interests were at stake, the United States engaged
    in a humanitarian effort to help a Muslim people suffering from anarchy and
    murderous warlords.

    The United States showed moderation when U.S. oil companies holdings were
    nationalized by Saudi Arabia, Libya, and other countries, and prices rose
    steeply after 1973; Washington did not try to overthrow the offending regimes or
    force them to lower prices. Nor did it take advantage of the Soviet Unions
    demise to dominate the Levant or take revenge against former Soviet allies
    there. Similarly, it did not use its overwhelming military strength to dominate
    the Persian Gulf region after 1990 or to force any local regime to change its

    And when al Qaeda blew up two U.S. embassies in eastern Africa in 1998, causing
    an immense loss of life, Washington responded with only very limited
    retaliation. Finally, since September 11, American leaders have taken pains to
    remind the world (and the American public) that Islam and Arabs are not U.S.

    The overall tally, in fact, is staggering: during the last half-century, in 11
    of 12 major con?icts between Muslims and non-Muslims, Muslims and secular
    forces, or Arabs and non-Arabs, the United States has sided with the former
    group*. U.S. backing for Israel has been the sole signi?cant exception to this
    rule. Yet what credit has Washington received for its aid? Arab anti-American
    radicals have distorted the record, ignoring all the positive examples and
    focusing only on U.S. support for Israel. Even Arab moderates, direct
    bene?ciaries of U.S. aid, virtually never express gratitude for benign American
    measuresor even mention them at all.

    Why has the real record been so disregarded in the Middle East?

    There are several explanations. First, whatever the extent of Americans
    failure to understand the region, Middle Easterners inability to understand the
    United States has been greater. Throughout the region, leaders and movements
    have always expected Washington to try to conquer them and wipe out its
    enemiessince, after all, this is what the locals would do if they controlled
    the worlds most powerful country. Second, it is important to remember
    how tightly information is controlled in the Middle East. It is hardly
    surprising that the masses, shut off from accurate data and constantly fed
    antagonistic views, have grown hostile to the United States. Those who could
    present a more accurate picture of America are discouraged from doing so by peer
    pressure, censorship, and fear of being labeled U.S. agents.

    Third, Washingtons real record is constantly distorted. The United
    States, for example, is blamed for the suffering of Muslims whom it protected in
    Kosovo and Bosnia. U.S. humanitarian efforts in Somalia are portrayed as part of
    an imperialistic, anti-Muslim campaign defeated by heroic local resistance.

    Fourth, the real nature of the threats from which the United States
    protected Arabs is downplayed. Take, for example, Saddam Hussein, who has
    started two wars, killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Arabs, looted and
    vandalized Kuwait, threatened his neighbors, tortured and repressed his own
    people, used chemical weapons against opponents and civilians, ?red missiles
    against population centers, and tried to develop nuclear arms so as to dominate
    the region. Despite his record, Arabs throughout the Middle East are constantly
    told by their leaders that the United States is the party responsible for Iraqs
    problems, and that Washington is the one seeking to dominate the Persian Gulf.

    Finally, there is the attempt to reduce all American policy to a single
    issue: U.S. support for Israel. Israels true nature and policies are also
    distorted as part of this picture. This latter element is critical to the
    salience of the ?rst in anti-American rhetoric, for if one believes that Israel
    is an evil force seeking to dominate the Middle East, kill Arabs, and destroy
    Islam, it would follow that one would view American aid to Israel as a supreme
    evil. The truth, however, is that the United States has merely helped Israel
    survive efforts from Arab neighbors to remove it from the map. The U.S.-
    Israel relationship was in fact quite ambivalent for most of Israels ?rst
    quarter-century of existence, with the United States generally refusing to
    supply arms or other aid. The link only intensi?ed in the face of hostile
    actions by Arab states, which aligned themselves with the Soviet Union and
    sponsored anti-American terrorism. And despite such hostility, the U.S. goal has
    always remained a mutually acceptable peace agreement between the Arabs and
    Israel that would ensure good American relations with both sides.

    Radical forces in the Arab world have always rejected a peaceful solution,
    however, because they do not want Israel to survive or the region to become more
    stable. Such a result, after all, would undermine the radicals chances of
    seizing power.

    -- A very short quote (and I am serious) from The Real Roots of Arab Anti-
    by Barry Rubin, who is Director of the Global Research in
    International Affairs Center and Editor of the Middle East Review of
    International Affairs. His latest books are The Tragedy of the Middle East and
    Anti-AmericanTerrorism and the Middle East.

    *Muslim versus non-Muslim states: Turkey vs. Greece, Bosnia vs. Yugoslavia,
    Kosovo vs. Yugoslavia, Pakistan vs. India, Afghans vs. Soviets, and Azerbaijan
    vs. Armenia. Arab versus non-Arab states: Iraq vs. Iran. Muslim states versus
    secular forces: Saudi Arabia and other monarchies vs. Egypt, Jordan and other
    regimes vs. Syria and Iraq, and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia vs. Iraq.
  5. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    Same old story.

    The 'global community' will fall in line within 1 week of the onset of operations - yes even the poofs at the clubs in Stuttgart.


  6. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Fantastic analysis, Ethics. Thank you for sharing Mr. Rubins opinions.
  7. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Ah..."world domination sense?" Can you please provide something more cogent to support that premise? Operational examples of that premise being executed would be stellar.

    Lumping in OBL is a misnomer; that's a different threat emanating from the same general region, with some religious similarity, but trying to tie the two together is folly at the current time. The administration has been attempting to that, off and on, and I think we can all confess to ourselves that this is a failure. If nothing else, the failure of the attempt is an open secret.

    North Korea, which is in a different region of the world complete with differing regional dynamics, is a wholly different fish. Unless I am mistaken, the area is still technically at war. If you advocate striking the DPRK first, then you also advocate the decimation of Seoul and consider the damage that would likely be inflicted on Japan acceptable. Is this so?

    Accelerating "regime change" in Saudi Arabia, beyond direct military invervention, can most certainly be achieved by dousing the existing Iraqi regime. With a strong US presence in place, one could only surmise the House of Saud would be one nervous nelly. The implication is certainly clear: change or perish. Given that the Saudis do not have much in a way of warrior ethic or combat prowess, the impetus for change would probably be more digestable to them than open conflict. It would be very, very difficult for them to meet the US in combat, if it came to pass, with US forces surging out of Iraq. I offer this for illustrative purposes only; I do not at this time advocate direct confrontation with Saudi Arabia. Though as always, I do retain the freedom to react to emergent threats with some flexibility. ;)

    As far as placing aberrant citizens of the US ahead of the global security structure, I will not comment on that as it seems bogus and ill-conceived.

    But to narrow the playing field: the US has been directly containing Hussein the Insane for over a decade now, with 0 results. To be quite sure, lifting sanctions and the no-fly zones would absolutely result in the deaths of the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south, not to mention unimpeded modernization of the Iraqi war machine, which has by all indications been flourishing regardless, with the resale of foodstuffs and medicines providing currency to purchase replacement arms and equipment for those items lost during the First Gulf War.

    We have testimony from Iraqi defectors which state the Hussein Regime is indeed continuing to track and develop WMD. Allowing the regime to survive to continue such development is acceptable to you?

  8. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Not from me...I know for a fact that when the shooting starts, a lot of folks in the Rhineland will be hoisting shots of Jager and having a good old time.

  9. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member


    Yeah, from where I sit, Rubin has the shots called from a historical perspective. Of course, recognizing that from a ME perspective is a lot like Cisco stock rising to $80 per share. It just ain't gonna happen.

  10. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Probably not in our lifetime, but it will happen.
  11. Advocat

    Advocat Viral Memes a Speciality Staff Member

    Nice analysis, Ethics! :)

    It puts the action of the average arab "man on the street" in better focus!
  12. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    When reading that entire article, it was probably one of the better focused summation of the issue. And this is based on my reading about the area since God knows how long ago.
  13. FrankF

    FrankF #55170-054

  14. immortal one

    immortal one 501st Geronimo

    Germany and France has joined.
  15. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Where did you see this?
  16. immortal one

    immortal one 501st Geronimo

  17. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    They are joining each other in opposition to the war on Iraq.
  18. immortal one

    immortal one 501st Geronimo

    My apologies. Germany and France have joined <B>against</B> the Iraq attack. Damn, it's been a long day.
  19. FrankF

    FrankF #55170-054

    Germany and France are fighting for Saddam Hussein? I expected as much from them.
  20. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    I feel so used...first you restore my faith in a right thinking world and then you dash my hopes ;)

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