US foreign policy in the Arab World

foreignaffairs.org/20030901f … ously.html

Actually, this article goes against much of what I have been saying but I think that it does make some good points. It of course is from the view of the US State Dept which has tended to view things a bit differently from the Pentagon. I personally do not agree with all of the article’s points, but I find it well written… and conducive to a greater understanding of US foreign policy in the region.

Summary: The Bush administration’s tone-deaf approach to the Middle East reflects a dangerous misreading of the nature and sources of Arab public opinion . Independent, transnational media outlets have transformed the region, and the administration needs to engage the new Arab public sphere that has emerged.

Marc Lynch is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Williams College and the author of State Interests and Public Spheres: The International Politics of Jordan’s Identity.

RIGHT GOAL, WRONG APPROACH

For the hawks in the Bush administration, one of the keys to understanding the Middle East is Osama bin Laden’s observation that people flock to the “strong horse.” Bush officials think U.S. problems in the region stem in part from “weak” responses offered by previous administrations to terrorist attacks in the 1980s and 1990s, and they came into office determined to reestablish respect for U.S. power abroad. After nearly two years of aggressive military actions, however, the United States’ regional standing has never been lower. As the recent Pew Global Attitudes survey put it, "the bottom has fallen out of Arab and Muslim support for the United States.

Because the administration is right about the political, social, and economic stagnation afflicting much of the Arab world, the way out of the dilemma should not be to return to the traditional “realist” course of pursuing U.S. security interests through strategic alliances with local authoritarian regimes. Nor would a change in U.S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinians be a panacea, as the lukewarm regional reaction to the Bush team’s promotion of its “road map” for Middle East peace demonstrates (although a more evenhanded approach to the road map’s implementation would give the project greater credibility). Instead, the administration should continue its focus on fighting a war of ideas but change its strategy.

Oh come on Fred, keep it with tall the other threads on this and related topics.

Brian

Moderators:

I show two threads that I have started here. One is on double standards and one is on US foreign policy in the Arab world. They seem like two very different topics to me. If Bulaien and Modlang disagree well they can ignore these threads right?

freddy

Off the Arab world a bit but still in the Middle East… and a very big problem. 400 al Qaeda lots of them top-level in Iran and what to do about them? Today’s washington post

Like other al Qaeda leaders in Iran, the younger bin Laden, who is believed to be 24 years old, is protected by an elite, radical Iranian security force loyal to the nation’s clerics and beyond the control of the central government, according to U.S. and European intelligence officials. The secretive unit, known as the Jerusalem Force, has restricted the al Qaeda group’s movements to its bases, mostly along the border with Afghanistan.

Also under the Jerusalem Force’s protection is Saif al-Adel, al Qaeda’s chief of military operations; Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, the organization’s chief financial officer; and perhaps two dozen other top al Qaeda leaders, the officials said. Al-Adel and Abdullah are considered the top operational deputies to Osama bin Laden and his second-in-command, Ayman Zawahiri, who communicate with underlings almost exclusively through couriers.

The presence of Saad bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders in Iran has become part of a debate within the governments of the United States and Saudi Arabia over the best way to reduce Iranian support for terrorism. U.S. officials have sent stern warnings to the government of President Mohammad Khatami that Iran’s harboring of senior al Qaeda operatives would have repercussions for a nation the Bush administration has labeled part of the “axis of evil.”

Intelligence officials believe that although the State Department is eager to renew talks with Iran on a variety of issues, primarily its nuclear program, it is not clear whether that nation’s civilian government could deliver its end of any bargain, especially if it entailed turning over al Qaeda leaders.

“Iran will continue to pursue an asymmetric strategy in which they court Western acceptance, while maintaining their surrogate leadership roles within the Islamic extremist community,” a U.S. intelligence analysis says.

Similarly, Saudi Arabia, which in recent years has tried to thaw relations with its larger and more powerful neighbor across the Persian Gulf, is trying, unsuccessfully, to persuade Iran to extradite Saad bin Laden and others suspected in the Riyadh bombing. Saudi officials estimate there are as many as 400 al Qaeda members there.

I would be a little skeptical of anything that Saudi Arabia says about how terrible Iran is. That said, if any hard evidence develops, I think it would be time to send a raiding party in – or if they can get a hard fix on Saad bin Laden or another leader, take him/them out with a missile strike.

An excerpt from Rich Lowry’s new book “legacy.”

[quote=“Rich Lowry”]It’s not that people like Indyk weren’t bright, talented, and well-informed. They were. The problem was that they had an ideology of cluelessness. In keeping with a deep-seated liberal faith, they thought most problems could be talked out and the world was full of rational and well-meaning

Freddy, I’d like to hear your comments, or anyone elses, on Representative Ron Paul’s speech opposing U.S. trade sanctions against Syria. http://www.antiwar.com/paul/paul80.html

Is that the limit of your reading, Ishmael? Antiwar.com and some gay columnist who thinks the U.S. invaded Iraq for Israel’s sake?

[quote]Is that the limit of your reading, Ishmael? Antiwar.com and some gay columnist who thinks the U.S. invaded Iraq for Israel’s sake?
[/quote]

Wow Cold Front. It’s amazing how you rebutted all the points of the speech with that gem. I guess that’s “your personal debating style” again. :unamused:

[quote=“Bu Lai En”][quote]Is that the limit of your reading, Ishmael? Antiwar.com and some gay columnist who thinks the U.S. invaded Iraq for Israel’s sake?
[/quote]

Wow Cold Front. It’s amazing how you rebutted all the points of the speech with that gem. I guess that’s “your personal debating style” again. :unamused:[/quote]

Oh, we’re talking again, are we? The last time I remember you saying something to me, you were picking up your skirts and heading for the door, muttering something silly about how science could proof anything.

No, my question to Ishmael is genuine. I have never seen him link anything here except from those two dubious sources. And, by the way, any time I responded to his points based on what he linked, he was about as responsive as you were when I challenged you to defend your assertions on The Bell Curve.

CF – While you’re at it, anything else you think the world leaders can learn from “Mein Kampf”? Any insights from the “Turner Diaries” you want to share?

Yes, there are, but I’m afraid if I reveal the truth too early, the black helicopters will come to take me away.

In the meantime, Mofangongren, the million dollar question for you is what did you think an effective tax rate was before I had to explain it to you?

CF, I am also amazed by your brilliant and eloquent rebuttal. Congressman Ron Paul represents a wealthy suburban Houston district as a Republican. He is also a well respected pediatrician. So everything on antiwar.com is anti-semitic and/or queer, (your two favorite pejoratives). Does that include Pat Buchanan and Robert Novack? Did you even read Pauls’ speech? Or not understand it probably. What’s your F***ING problem? Find a woman or better drugs.

I have rebutted your links several times in the past and you never reply. I just put a question to you: do you EVER read anything else besides antiwar.com and the gay columnist who thinks the U.S. went to war against Iraq for Israel’s sake? If so, what is it?

He’s a wingnut and the Republicans would love to get rid of him if they weren’t so afraid that his seat would be taken up by a full-fledged lefty. I just read the short write-up on him in the Almanac of American Politics, a fairly bland, nonpartisan resource book, and here is what one section said:

[The Republicans] did not want to lose the seat to Democrat Charles “Lefty” Morris, who ran as a “conservative Democrat”, but omitted from his resume the fact that he had been president of the state trial lawyers’ association. But they didn’t want to be associated with Paul’s wackier-seeming views either… Researchers reported that Paul’s newsletter in 1992 said that 95% of black men in Washington D.C. are ‘semi-criminal or entirely criminal’ and that black teenagers are ‘unbelievably fleet of foot.’… In Washington, Paul made a bit of a sensation, not through his work on committees, but by saying on C-Span, 'I fear there’s a lot of people in the country who fear that they may be bombed by the federal government at another Waco.'
By the way, Paul represents the fourteenth district in Texas. Contrary to your portrayal of it as a wealthy Houston district, it is, according to the Almanac of American Politics, it is “[m]ade up of rural countrysides, small towns and a couple of small cities” It only touches the edges of metropolitan Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, as you can see here:

Paul’s comments on the sanctions against Syria are unimpressive. They basically run as follows: 1) Syria might harbor terrorists, but they have done nothing against the U.S. since 1983. 2) Sanctions don’t work anyway and they hurt the poorest people the most. 3) Sanctions are the first step to war. 4) Sanctions against Syria will hurt U.S. businessmen and the economy.

Of these four points, the only one that is solid is #2. He is right that sanctions generally don’t work and that the poorest people are usually harmed by them the most. His #1 is silly and short-sighted. The U.S. has declared war against terrorism, not just against terrorists who attack the U.S. It is obligated to be somewhat consistent in its application against terrorists so that like-minded states that suffer from terrorism rally to the U.S. cause. #3 is another silly point. Yes, sometimes sanctions are the first step to war, but this is not true in the majority of cases. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on numerous countries (South Africa, China, Pakistan, India, etc.) and not followed up with war. If Syria gets its act together and tosses out the terrorists they harbor, it won’t have any other problems with the U.S. His #4 is the most egregiously dumb of all Pauls’s points. U.S./Syria trade is miniscule, less than 3% of Syria’s trade and probably not even a third of a percentage point for the U.S. This is not a solid argument nor should it be taken as one.

That’s highly unfair. You ought to know well that I have many other favorite pejoratives besides those two.

Antiwar.com is a silly advocacy site, dedicated to putting up every conceivable anti-war opinion, no matter how ridiculous. And yet you never tire of humping the same damn site for your information. You don’t see me always going to war.com for my sources, do you?

I have a woman – a wife, in fact – and online discourse is my favorite recreational drug.

foreignaffairs.org/20030701f … rgain.html

[quote]The Iraq crisis offers two basic lessons. The first, for Europeans, is that American hawks were right. Unilateral intervention to coerce regime change can be a cost-effective way to deal with rogue states. In military matters, there is only one superpower – the United States – and it can go it alone if it has to. It is time to accept this fact and move on.

The second lesson, for Americans, is that moderate skeptics on both sides of the Atlantic were also right. Winning a peace is much harder than winning a war. Intervention is cheap in the short run but expensive in the long run. And when it comes to the essential instruments for avoiding chaos or quagmire once the fighting stops – trade, aid, peacekeeping, international monitoring, and multilateral legitimacy – Europe remains indispensable. In this respect, the unipolar world turns out to be bipolar after all.

Given these truths, it is now time to work out a new transatlantic bargain, one that redirects complementary military and civilian instruments toward common ends and new security threats.

… Washington must shift course and accept multilateral conditions for intervention. The Europeans, meanwhile, must shed their resentment of American power and be prepared to pick up much of the burden of conflict prevention and postconflict engagement. Complementarity, not conflict, should be the transatlantic watchword.[/quote]

The real question from my perspective is how long before the restraint the US and Israel have been using gives way to open and unrestrained warefare in response to these attacks. Sooner or later something is going to give and all hell will break loose in the Middle-East, again. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will seem like little skirmishes compared to what it will be if ,or when Iran and Syria follow the lead of the current American administration and go pre-emptive. It’s time for the US to declare victory, cut our loses and pull out. Let the thieves in the UN have the oil, it doesn’t belong to the US in the first place.

EOD, who do you think Iran and Syria would go pre-emptive on?

The infidels and non believers threatening their borders.

U.S. military force is a sufficient deterrent. Syria and Iran’s leaders are not suicidal. They understand that if either of their two populations begins massive attacks against American troops in Iraq, it will be the end of the their regimes.

Hi girls!

It’s hilarious reading Cold Front’s and Tigerman’s posts on all these threads! Absolutely hilarious! And now we have Tigerman as a moderator!

Oh well, bang goes objectivity on this forum! Hence the complete lack of interest in these topics apart from a few old wannabes.

You guys are so busy being right that you are blind to 99% of the rest of the world’s dwindling respect for the ol’ United States of America.

Your arguements remind me of some dumb fool out in his yard putting out bush fires while in the background his house is ablaze.

Pre-emption is OK? Some friggen’ precedent you fools are supporting there, eh?

How about a half dozen missiles from North Korea lobbed on “land of the free” then?

UN nothing more than a debating society? Ha, you lot are the first to be squealing for help when you start to lose your bottle against those recalcitrant “insurgents”. Insurgents my ass. It’s Ahmed taking revenge for his lost wife and sone at the hands of those cowards in the sky with their “shock and awe” campaign. Insurgents, yeah right.

And boys. Don’t flatter yourself by thinking you have some kind of “international, enlightened perspective of the world” when discussing these issues. You really do take yourselves way too seriously.

Dunc

Pre-Emption: Not a monopoly of the United States.
Casualties: Not a monopoly of Iraqi civilians.

PS. This is a read-only post. Never trust a Yank.