America's "Strategic Dementia"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Caroline Glick's column about America's latest round of blunders in the Middle East demands a full read, and lives up to her apt description (in quotes, above) of our strategic posture. Most notably, Glick names the following essential problem our foreign policy:

Under the Obama administration, these competing interests have not merely influenced US policy in the Middle East. They have dominated it. Core American interests have been thrown to the wayside. [emphasis added]
This is not to say that Glick grasps the full philosophical implications of that statement, which Elan Journo of the Ayn Rand Institute indicates in a Voices for Reason post on Libya:
When our interests are at stake -- as they were and are in Iran -- we hold back and appease. When someone else's interests appear to be on the line (the rebels and civilians in Libya), we dutifully scramble jet-fighters and put American lives in harm's way, for the sake of serving others. Why? That double standard is rooted in the prevalent, and perverse, moral view that permeates our foreign policy -- a view requiring that we put the needs of others ahead of our own goals and interests. Acting in accordance with that view -- as I argue in my book -- has been enormously destructive to American security and freedom, across decades.
Nevertheless, Glick's column, especially with a such a proper understanding in mind, indicates that the problem with American foreign policy in the Middle East is philosophical in nature, and that none of its major undercurrents backs a truly self-interested foreign policy because they all operate on an altruistic premise:
The first side in the debate is the anti-imperialist camp, represented by President Barack Obama himself. Since taking office, Obama has made clear that he views the US as an imperialist power on the world stage. As a result, the overarching goal of Obama's foreign policy has been to end US global hegemony.


Like Obama, the neoconservatives are not motivated to act by concern for the US's core regional interests. What motivates them is their belief that the US must always oppose tyranny.


To an even greater degree than in Egypt, the debate [over what to do about Libya] was settled by the third US foreign policy camp - the opportunists. Led today by Clinton, the opportunist camp supports whoever they believe is going to make them most popular with the media and Europe.
After reiterating that, "how events impact core US regional interests is completely absent from the discussion," Glick paints a dire picture of the consequences for America of not thinking about her interests, and therefore not standing up for herself:
[B]y managing the Suez Canal in conformance with international maritime law, Egypt facilitated the smooth transport of petroleum products to global markets and prevented Iran from operating in the Mediterranean Sea.


In anticipation of the Brotherhood's rise to power, the military has begun realigning Egypt into the Iranian camp. This realignment is seen most openly in Egypt's new support for Hamas. Mubarak opposed Hamas because it is part of the Brotherhood.

The junta supports it for the same reason. Newly appointed Foreign Minister Nabil el-Araby has already called for the opening of Egypt's border with [Hamas-ruled] Gaza.

There can be little doubt Hamas's massive rocket barrage against Israel on Saturday was the product of its sense that Egypt is now on its side.

As for the Suez Canal, the junta's behavior so far is a cause for alarm. Binding UN Security Council Resolution 1747 from 2007 bars Iran from shipping arms. Yet last month the junta thumbed its nose at international law and permitted two Iranian naval ships to traverse the canal without being inspected.
Glick continues with Egypt, noting that, "On every level, a post-Mubarak Egypt threatens the US core interests that Mubarak advanced." Glick then discusses the implications of the situation in Libya in the same vein. Finally, she warns that until and unless America starts acting on behalf of its own interests, its actions will harm itself.

Again, read the whole thing.

-- CAV

----- In Other News -----

At The New Clarion, Myrhaf states, "This piece in the New York Times about pharmaceutical companies is depressing. Government intervention is destroying the drug industry." [emphasis added] From the article itself: "The new law also contains a major threat to drug industry profits in a little-known section that would allow centralized price-setting."

Meanwhile, here's another threat to American innovation: patent "reform." "The new system would award patents based on who filed an application first rather than who originally generated the idea."

Paul Krugman warned us about himself at least nine years ago. As quoted by Rick Danker of Forbes:
To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.
The idea of attempting to ride economic bubbles to prosperity was a lot funnier when I first encountered it in The Onion.

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