Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Roots of Evil: Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan

It’s not often I agree with citizen of the world Thomas Friedman.  He’s the NY Times staff pseudo intellectual who writes glowingly of his admiration for the Chinese Poliburo.  In a rare spasm of lucidity, he nailed the Pakistan situation:
“Looking for Bin Laden became a side-business for Pakistan’s military to generate U.S. aid.  As the Al Qaeda expert Lawrence Wright observed in The New Yorker this week: Pakistan’s Army and intelligence service “were in the looking-for-Bin-Laden business, and if they found him they’d be out of business.” (Friedman - Bad Bargains)
Whatever we're looking for, a rotten pseudo-ally is willing to pretend to provide it

Iran:  Good People - Bad Government

Iran has a stranglehold on Lebanon via proxy Hezbollah.  It tentacles stretch from Afghanistan to Iraq and even to Venezuela and Argentina.  If Iran had a people’s revolution that brought true parliamentary democracy to the country (Iranians are more capable of democratic success than any other country in the region), that would put a stop to funding these global terrorists.  A newly-democratic Iran would have too many pressing issues at home for it to mess with funding terrorists, and no legitimate government wants to cultivate trouble with other nations, especially via such direct violence.

Why was Obama silent as the Iranian protesters were being slaughtered by the Revolutionary Guard?  Is it because they didn’t have Muslim Brotherhood or Al Qaeda membership cards?  I pray to God we are clandestinely helping the free people of Iran topple their rotten regime.

Saudi Arabia:  America's Most Shameful Alliance

We protect them in exchange for oil, and the Saudis maintain a pact with the Wahabbis.  Out of this dynamic metastasized militant Islam that has infected the globe:
During the 1980s, Saudi Arabia spent some $75 billion for the propagation of Wahhabism, funding schools, mosques, and charities throughout the Islamic world, from Pakistan to Afghanistan, Yemen, Algeria and beyond. ...  (Friedman - Bad Bargains)
We sought out and cultivated a relationship with Pakistan.  This is the grain of truth that spurs conspiracy nuts to claim the CIA trained Bin Laden.   The Pakistan bargain resembles our Saudi one;  We pay them to marginally cooperate with our goals in Afghanistan (first against the Soviet Union, now against Taliban and Al Qaeda forces), and they pretend to comply.  Meanwhile the Pakistani army rules the roost, papering it all over with a sham democracy.  And they’re a member of the Nuts with Nukes club.
What both countries need is shock therapy. For Pakistan, that would mean America converting the lion’s share of its military aid to K-12 education programs, while also reducing the U.S. footprint in Afghanistan. Together, the message would be that we’re ready to help Pakistan fight its real enemies and ours — ignorance, illiteracy, corrupt elites and religious obscurantism. 

Ditto Saudi Arabia. We are in a ménage à trois with the al-Sauds and the Wahhabis. We provide the al-Sauds security, and they provide us oil. The Wahhabis provide the al-Sauds with legitimacy and the al-Sauds provide them with money (from us). It works really well for the al-Sauds, but not too well for us.  (Friedman - Bad Bargains)
All three countries are full of good people, but our relationship with them is dysfunctional.  We are the bogey monsters of America-hating Mullahs, and our every action is twisted into a sinister threat to Islam.    

Unintended Consequences

I heard an older caller to a talk show say his father called WW II “The war to make the world safe for communism,” and there’s some cynical truth to that.  When confronted with the dual threat of communism, and fascism, Churchill made the smart choice to leave fighting the Bolshies until after we had defeated the fascists.  It took us another 45 years after the first victory to achieve the second.

We made a deal with the Saudis and the Pakistanis to dislodge the Soviets from Afghanistan.  Did we defeat Communism only to make Southwest Asia safe for Wahabbism?


Anonymous said...

Well, WWII was more about defeating the lesser of 2 evils. You find yourself cozying up to strange bedfellows in times of war, especially in wars like that where nearly the entire planet is fighting to survive and stave off world conquest. I think that FDR's handling of Stalin was complete fail-sauce, but it wasn't really the war itself that "made the world safe for communism." It was FDR's delusion that he could handle Stalin that helped create the Cold War.

As for Saudi Arabia, I'm fairly certain that we get less than 10% of our oil from them.

And why do you keep calling people you disagree with "pseudo" intellectuals? Their academic credentials are probably better than yours or mine. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison had radically divergent thoughts on government (towards the end, that is. I realize they both wrote the Federalist together, but eventually Madison became a disciple of Jeffersonian politics). So was one of them a bona-fide intellectual and the other only pseudo?

It's not the conclusion that makes one an intellectual, but rather the process by which he or she reached that conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Camwell

"It's not the conclusion that makes one an intellectual, but rather the process by which he or she reached that conclusion."

The process used to reach a conclusion has no importance if the person itentionally ignores facts that are contrary to their conclusion

Anonymous said...

Silverfiddle . . . These fellows, Jack Camwell and conservativesonfire, have missed the point. You don't have to be an intellectual to know what is right. My favorite philosopher, Will Rogers, had a said a few things that illustrate: 1. Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco. 2. Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement. 3. Always drink upstream from the herd. . . Bump

Unknown said...

Our alliance with the Saudis speaks volumes for need for energy independence, even though we don’t get much oil from them, the world does.
Our supposed alliance with Pakistan only became a reality from their lies about their nuclear intentions.
And the Obama administration deliberately dropped the ball on the green movement in Iran, a miss opportunity to cut off the head of the snake.

Anonymous said...

Conservativesonfire: There are always little factoids floating around out there that are contrary to your conclusions. One's conclusions are based on which facts one selects to prove the point. Not every fact serves to completely disprove a conclusion, as bizarre as that may sound.

For example, China's way of doing things, totalitarian some might say, has garnered them huge economic growth. We would say that the way they're doing things is morally wrong, because they violate human rights, but that doesn't disprove the fact that what they're doing is economically effective in the short-run. And the fact that other nations that tried the same thing as China failed miserably also doesn't change the fact that China is economically successful.

And to the anon, I never said that you have to be an intellectual to know the difference between right and wrong. In my experience though, the more learned a person is in a certain subject the more likely he is to have arrived at an informed conclusion.

Whose opinion of Aristotelian politics would you be more apt to accept: the college professor who devoted all of his or her research to Aristotle and can translate it from the original Greek, or some random guy that read about Aristotle once or twice in wikipedia? You'd be surprised at how many people make "authoritative" claims about stuff and actually have nearly zero knowledge about it.

Z said...

I remember when Massoud was killed in Afghanistan; I was the farthest thing from political then and I thought 'This is SO not good'...I actually grieved...
we need more like him...How I knew then, I don't know.
That statement about WWII made me laugh but it's seriously scary, isn't it. I always say "We stopped the bombs when the Cold War ended, but the Russians sent in communists to our schools to kill us from within" And BROTHER, have they.
Don't you wonder how much John Kerry paid Pakistan to get that helicopter part from the BinLaden hit back which just arrived in America? it's all about money..and, soon, China will be paying more than we can afford to our enemies.
Then what?

Karen K said...

You know, I've always had a problem with the "good people, bad government" idea. As if the people are absolutely powerless over who's in charge.

Having said that, you could definitely say that they are an "axis" of evil (didn't Dubya get into trouble for using that phrase?)

Silverfiddle said...

Jack. I don't call everyone I disagree with a pseudo intellectual. For instance, when I blogged about Chomsky, I did not call him that because he is an actual academic intellectual, although I don't agree with him.

Read some of Friedman's unintentionally laughable crackpot ideas, and you tell me if he is the real thing or not...

TonyFernandez said...

It's a long war that we've been in with the Middle East. It started with the Trojans and the Greeks, continued with the Persians and the Greeks, continued then with the Persians and the Romans, then the Romans and the Arabs, then the Europeans and the Arabs (crusades), then the Crimean War (to an extent), then World War I, then the Israeli-Arab Wars, and now the US versus the Middle East. I don't know what the source of the conflict is, I just know that it has been going on for thousands of years.

MathewK said...

"Why was Obama silent as the Iranian protesters were being slaughtered by the Revolutionary Guard?"

It's in their nature to give second chances to tyrants and tyranny.

"Did we defeat Communism only to make Southwest Asia safe for Wahabbism?"

That unfortunately is the world we live in, the lesser of evils is the only choice.