US: it is time to disengage from the middle east
Dear readers, there is a need to present this “controversial” even “incendiary” essay. In a world of so much misinformation and disinformation, what is a person to do?
We are rarely short of opinions here at larrysmusings (no joking), but we at least do try to make sure the opinions are well-informed, before we offer them to the blogosphere.
The below pic is of one source of our opinions.
Today, we assert that it is time for the United States to rethink its policy in the Middle East, and urge that it disengage from this historically troubled, volatile and unstable region.
There are 3 reasons why the US is mired in the morass of the Middle East. 1. Oil. 2. Israel. 3. The so-called war on terror. Let’s address these in turn after a little history of the region. (This may get a bit long, but this is necessary to do justice to the importance of the issues raised. Junior high and high school students can draw inspiration for term papers from the below paragraphs.)
Even before the fall of Sumer (circa 2,000 B.C.), Mesopotamia (and other nearby countries) was a region of petty, warring states and numerous tribes that fought each other over the region’s meager resources. Thus, the age-old hatreds and antagonisms predate the rise of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It has been rare when a power from outside the region has been able to pacify this region. Since the rise of Islam, I believe the only non-Muslim power to effectively do so was the Mongols in the 13th century under first Chingis (aka Genghis) Khan and then later, his grandson, Hulagu. (The Ottoman Turks were converts to Islam prior to their successful conquest of the region and of northernmost Africa.) The Mongols to pacify the region nearly depopulated several cities and even some entire provinces. (Baghdad was destroyed in 1258 by Hulagu’s forces.)That is what it took. The Middle East has not been a peaceful region these past 4 millenia.
Although the US gets much of its imported oil from sources geographically closer to its borders (thereby reducing transport times and costs), such as Canada, Mexico, Venezuela and Nigeria, some oil is coming into the country from the Persian (or Arabian) Gulf.
Unlike Europe and Japan, the US has enormous energy reserves both in the contiguous 48 states and in Alaska that could be exploited (a dirty word?) or developed. Such development would greatly reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil regardless of source. As well, increasing domestic US energy production would effectively increase the daily supply of oil on world markets and thereby lower the cost of oil for everyone in the world. Note: All the energy consumers in the world would benefit if America would make use of what it already has.
There are 2 principal reasons this development is not taking place anywhere near to the extent that it could. First, the federal government, especially under President Obama, is greatly restricting such development on those federal lands where it is known there are significant reservoirs of oil. The federal land leases that are being approved, Nancy Pelosi, are in areas where there is little if any oil or natural gas. Ms. Pelosi misrepresented the situation when she was Speaker of the House of Representatives, as Obama currently does. This is purposeful policy by Obama and his Interior Department.
Second, thanks to bills signed by President Richard Nixon the environmental regulations in the US were greatly increased. This is not a bad thing per se. The Clean Air Act of 1970 was good. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established by Nixon in 1970 (by executive order). In recent years, however, the EPA has gotten completely out of control. It now attempts to regulate the so-called greenhouse gases of water vapor, and carbon dioxide (you, dear readers, are producing and emitting carbon dioxide with each exhalation from your lungs). The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, signed by Nixon, required environmental impact studies. All of this legislative and executive activity in Washington led to the environmental groups having “legal standing” to challenge any and all development in the courts. And, these groups do challenge any and all development of natural resources. These groups, more accurately described as “eco-fanatics”, do not believe in the possibility of environmentally responsible development of natural resources. These folks either reject, or are ignorant of, the very old concepts of conservation and stewardship. (Yes, we did an essay on this back in late June during the heady days when we were knocking out an average of 2 essays each day.)
The fact remains that the US is literally sitting atop some of the world’s largest known reserves of oil, natural gas, and coal. Many of these resources can be developed in an environmentally responsible way given current technology. (We oppose the further development of nuclear power. See our essay from June, 2012, on Fukushima.) If fracking for natural gas is bad for the below ground aquifers (much current controversy there), then let’s open up (for development) the areas in the western states (Utah, Colorado, Wyoming) where the oil shales are nearer to the surface. (History here: much of the land in the western states is controlled by the federal government as a consequence of almost all these states having been territories prior to the Civil War. These territories then later applied for statehood and became states, but the federal government retained its control (“jurisdiction”) of these lands. In the state of Nevada (with 110,000 square miles), today, 87 per cent of the land is controlled by “the Feds”.)
Cleaner burning coal has been powering electric power plants since the 1970s. This coal comes from the Powder River Basin in eastern Wyoming. (The development of this area’s coal has been a boon for the railroads that transport the coal to distant power generating stations in many states.) The “oil shocks’ of the 1970s spurred development of this domestic resource, as well as the Alaska oil pipeline.
The resources are there. And, yes, they can be developed without trashing the planet. But, we do not take advantage of this opportunity. An analogy would be the man who eats from garbage cans when he has a bank account with hundreds of thousands of dollars in it! (Such cases of mental illness have been recorded.)
Not only would developing America’s energy resources lower the prices consumers pay at the pump each week, many good paying jobs would be created within the US, tax revenues to the federal government would rise, and the monthly trade deficit America runs would be reduced. Energy independence and energy security (of supplies) helps to protect our economic security. (As well, the loss of some “petro dollars” to the Saudis, from lower world prices, would mean less money for them to fund virulently anti-Western primary schools throughout the world which brainwash young children to hate all things Western!)
Israel (caution: reader discretion is advised)
We condemn the murderous terrorist attacks directed at Israeli civilians. We also condemn the very harsh treatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis.
Today, even as we write these words, the sabres of war are being rattled in Tel Aviv and in Washington. The flash point or catalyst: Iran and its nuclear ambitions. Odd, is it not(?), North Korea now possesses a bomb or two or perhaps a few more (and has fired test missiles in the direction of Japan), and yet there is no threat of war against Pyongyang.
Israel possesses hundreds of atomic bombs and has the capability of delivering them to any and all the surrounding countries of the region. All the countries in the region know this. As well, Israel has well established defense industries and can manufacture (and does) its own munitions. Israel can take care of itself. The US does not need to protect Israel.
There is a very strong pro-Israel lobby in Washington, comprised of Jews and Christians, that keeps the pressure on our elected officials to support and back and aid Israel. (We addressed Christian Zionists in an essay last autumn, The Talmud and Christian Zionists.) We believe that US foreign policy should serve US interests and not the interests of any foreign state.
But Israel is our ally, you say. Really? Not many Americans are aware of this incident that brings your assertion into question. In June, 1967, the USS Liberty was viciously attacked by Israeli war planes when she was in international waters and was flying a very large US flag that the Israeli pilots admitted clearly seeing during their attacks on the ship. (I encourage you to do your own research on this topic. Do an Internet search.) Some US sailors were killed, and many were maimed for life. This occurred during the so-called “six day war”. (There is the current belief, held by many, that Israeli intelligence knew beforehand of the attacks of September 11, 2001, but did not warn the US as Israel stood to benefit from an outraged US and its expected response (a war on terror).)
Let’s briefly deal with Iran and its outspoken leader, how do you spell his name(?), Mahmoud Ahdemanijad. It is often claimed that he said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map. I do not know Farsi, so I cannot speak to the veracity of the translation of his words. But, there are those who say that a correct translation of his words from the Farsi were to the effect that Israel, the Zionist state, would fade away, collapse of its own weaknesses (perhaps in a way similar to how the old Soviet Union collapsed from its own internal weaknesses).
What Mahmoud A. did that was really unforgivable was that he publicly questioned the official story of the (Jewish) Holocaust of the 1940s in wartime Europe. He even went further, and held an international conference a few years back in Iran for open debate on the Holocaust. Please note: Calling for open inquiry into a historical event does not necessarily make one a demon. The post communist Polish government would be guilty by that standard. It has changed the plaque at Auschwitz to read “one million died here” from the previously (and universally) accepted 4 million. (They may have changed it again more recently (not sure) as the number of dead keeps decreasing upon further research of the camp’s records that had been locked away in communist archives for decades.) Just to let you know that there is controversy around the official Holocaust history, soil engineers conducting forensic examinations at Treblinka, in northern Poland, have not been able thus far to locate mass burial pits where it is claimed that up to 875,000 dead human bodies were interred during the war only to be later exhumed and burned when the tide of war had turned against the Germans.
The so-called war on terror
The third and most recent reason the US is mired in the morass of the Middle East is the so-called war on terror. President George W. Bush was tilting at windmills when he proclaimed a global “war on terror”. Such a war could never be won. It seems to us that the correct response to the attacks of 9/11/01 would be to go after the state sponsors of the terrorists that attacked and murdered more than 3,000 Americans (and others as there were non-American victims at the World Trade Center in New York).
Who were the state sponsors of the 9/11 terrorists?
Well, were they not, all 19 of them, bearing Saudi passports? There has been a twisted and perverse relationship between the Bush family and the Saudis for many years. This was evident during the father’s presidency (George Herbert Walker Bush). Regime change ought to have occurred in Riyadh. As noted above, the Saudis fund schools of hate around the world. Saudi money is even currently reaching into these United States (in recent years funding various Muslim groups)!
If the Taliban and Afghanistan are at fault, then how about taking a lesson from history (the Mongols) in order to arrive at an effective deterrent for these people?! Do what was done in late 2001, toppling the Taliban while striving to spare the civilians. But, on our way out – which should have been no later than 2003 – tell the Afghans that if we have to come back because we were attacked again, we won’t spare the civilians. When these backward people fear us more than they fear the terrorists in their midst, they will turn on the terrorists and kill them. Sadly, it really is us or them. Societal and national self-defense require a harsh approach to these peoples who are not far from the stone age.
Moammar Gaddafi was no saint. He had innocent blood on his hands. But, Libya after Gaddafi is tending to becoming even more radical and more of a safe haven for terrorists. The same is true in post-Mubarak Egypt.
The US does not need an on the ground military presence in the region. Yes, there is a need for an intelligence gathering capability. But, we do not need troops over there for that. Based on the intelligence gathered, if attacks against America and Americans are planned or are imminent, we can take various actions to prevent or thwart those attacks.
If terrorist attacks against the US succeed, then the state sponsors (of the terrorists) can be hit and hit hard from a far. We certainly have the technology to lay some serious hurt on these countries, and they know that. We may need to demonstrate the will to do so. We have the submarines, the surface ships and the missiles. We won’t need troops on the ground. (Actually, there is a real deterrent at work today as regards any kind of atomic terrorist attack occurring within the USA. Even a dirty bomb being set off will likely elicit a major retaliation by the US against whatever nation(s) were involved in the act.)
We, in the US, must accept that we cannot remake this region into what we think it should be like. A democratic or republican model simply is not workable in this region, and may not be workable there for centuries to come given its very long history of strife and discord. America, it is not 1945, it is not even 1975. You must stop trying to play the role of the world’s police man. Encourage the setting up of regional security alliances, but bring the troops home. Too many American service men and women have been killed and maimed in that hellish part of the world.
end of essay
As we firmly believe that the future belongs to young women, we give in to the temptation to offer again this picture from an essay last autumn. In America, she can: pursue happiness, drive a car, get an education, practice whichever religion she chooses, inherit property, own property, vote, go outside sans a veil, choose who to marry, wear a string bikini in public, consent to – or freely decline – sexual relations, is protected by federal law from having her genitals mutilated, etc.
Thanks for reading! Now, kindly share this essay with everyone you know!