Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Foreign Policy Redux

Earlier, I questioned the traditional narrative on national security, but there is more I'd like to delve into on the subject. Namely, the false diversity provided by the decrepit, doddering two-party political system of the United States.

One need only look at Barack Obama's suckling at the AIPAC teat to see the fallacy in full bloom.

Our alliance is based on shared interests and shared values. Those who threaten Israel threaten us. Israel always faced these threats on the front lines.

And I will bring to the White House an unshakable commitment to Israel's security. That starts with ensuring Israel's qualitative military advantage.


We will also use all elements of American power to pressure Iran. I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, everything.

Here we see false dichotomy in all its imperialist glory. There are only two acceptable positions in American foreign policy discussion: one, promise the obliteration of all who dare question the moral authority of the US, or, two, promise cursory discussions, concurrent sanctions which harm the innocent population more than the leaders, and then obliteration of said parties.

Any position which questions America's moral authority to dictate to the world what its obligations to America are, what its rights to pursue energy programs are, and with whom they may ally themselves is off the table entirely. Not only is any utterance of such thoughts quickly portrayed as radical, but aside from the occasional peep, the very existence of such a kooky theory is ignored entirely.

Only in this atmosphere could two parties which differ only on the specifics of America's right of dictatorial powers over the globe be presented as the opposite extremes of the rational thought spectrum. Even the Democrats' cursory nods to diplomacy are treated as cowardice, though any examination of Clinton's foreign policy would reveal that he was no stranger to bombing the rest of the world back into its rightful place.

We scoff at Robert Mugabe's claims to be divinely anointed to continue running Zimbabwe into the ground, but we cannot question in polite company the United States' right to allow some Middle Eastern nations to build nuclear arsenals, supplying them the technology and know-how along the way, while promising destruction to others. The only lesson that can be gleaned from the choice of which countries are worthy is that only friends of the US are allowed such transgressions. Consider Saudi Arabia, one of the most regressive, tyrannical regimes in contemporary times, yet provided by the US the tools to build a nuclear arsenal.

Iran, on the other hand, is no friend of the US, and it thus becomes implied with nary a second thought that they will be wiped out before even a hint of their developing weapons becomes available. Bear in mind that for all the bluster of Bush, McCain, and Presidential-candidate-version Obama, there has not been one inspection or intelligence paper which suggests that Iran is capable of weaponizing uranium. It is this unquestioned moral authority which allows the discussion over attacking Iran to proceed with the proof of its errant nature only five years in the rear-view mirror to proceed without guttural laughter.

The case of Saudi Arabia has more parallels to that of Iran than it may seem at first glance. Before the revolution in 1979, the US was in the process of a similar agreement with the US-allied Shah. Given more time, the possibility remains that the change of power could have occurred after the acquisition of a working nuclear program in Iran which would have then been in the hands of the ayatollahs. Yet 30 years later, the US is prepared again to assume that the current regime in Saudi Arabia will always be in power and a friend of the US, and it is not the least bit concerned that the nuclear program it denies others as if it has the right but provides to the Eden of terrorism will never change hands to an overt enemy. McCain has spoken of a League of Democracies, but one imagines his commitment to that ideal would not extend to the House of Saud.

The November election, then, provides the voters with the false choice of just how many months down the road they want an unprovoked attack on Iran to happen. The question of 'if' will not be addressed, only the duration of the run-up to zero hour. What voters will not see on the ballot is a checkbox which offers a foreign policy that allows the citizens of other countries which have not attacked us, and do not currently possess the capability to do so, to live free from the fear of US humanitarianism. Americans love the idea of humanitarian intervention, which is why the invasion of Iraq was portrayed as such, but to the denizens of the Middle East, bombs dropped in the name of goodwill explode just the same.


The Fallacious Nature of Conventional Wisdom on National Security
, June 25
Changing the Rules of the Game, April 1

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