Iran & Middle-East Policy-A Dog’s Breakfast-Some Foreign Policy Links

From the Times: ‘Iran Backs Away From Key Detail In Nuclear Deal’

Ross Douthat also at the New York Times: ‘The Method To Obama’s Middle-East Mess

If you assumed that the idea is to withdraw U.S. influence from the region (quitting the Pax Americana) by creating a raft of democratically aspiring (or not) groups of regional powers constrained by international treaties, institutions and laws to some extent, you might be right:

‘If we could actually escape Middle East entanglements entirely, even that “something worse” might be less costly to the United States than trying to sustain the Pax Americana. And if we had a trustworthy hegemon in the wings to replace us, all of this might be moot.

But in the world as it exists, what we have is an administration that wants to believe it’s getting us out, but a region that’s inexorably, inevitably pulling us back in.’

Of course, this would require strong international institutions that actually work (better than the U.N), that don’t have twisted incentives where members rationally pursue their interests elsewhere (like the U.N., where tinpot types have their say and poor countries push climate treaties for monetary gain), and a U.S. military bent to those institutions and goals.

It would also probably assume someone else wouldn’t step in and take our lunch, or pursue aims that harm not only American interests, but also Western values presumed to be universal, like human rights.

It would also probably require not alienating our allies nearly so much as we’ve been doing.

Unsurprisingly, this is a pretty ‘progressive’ vision.  Throw in a domestic base of anti-war activists, climate changers pushing against even the humanitarian interventionists and realpolitikers in their own party (let alone more aggressive hawks) and it makes some sense.

To me, it still looks like a dog’s breakfast of Left, left-liberal idealism and activism and a lot of policy that responds to events, rather than guiding events with proper consideration of our leverage.

I’ll gladly accept being proven wrong in the interests of our country, and I’m really pretty skeptical of the Republican noise as well, but it can’t be this bad.

Adam Garfinkle at the American Interest: ‘Good Work If You Can Get It:’

‘If the Administration is a true believer in moving from Pax Americana in the Middle East to an offshore balancing posture, it follows that its current crop of allies, inherited from Cold War days, needs to be scythed down to near ground level. For a new balance to arise that needs less rather than more U.S. management participation—and hence risk and expense—the lowly must be raised up as the high riders are brought down. If the Israelis have not gotten the message, the Saudis certainly have. That, among other factors, explains the boldness of the new kingly administration in assembling a war coalition to fight in Yemen.’

And, another vote of confidence for our current policy.

Michael Totten: ‘Yemen Falls Apart

Yemen may well turn into the Iraq or Syria—take your pick—of the Arabian Peninsula. All the US can really do at this point is watch in horror as the Middle East continues to chew its own leg off and malefactors with global ambitions thrive in the chaos.

Update And Repost: Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

Related On This Site:  From The Wall Street Journal: ‘Charles Hill: The Empire Strikes Back’Fareed Zakaria BBC Interview: America In DeclineRichard Lieber In The World Affairs Journal–Falling Upwards: Declinism, The Box Set

From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s WorkFrom The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel HuntingtonFrom Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’Has Fukuyama turned away from Hegel and toward Darwin? Adam Kirsch Reviews Francis Fukuyama’s New Book At The City Journal: ‘The Dawn Of Politics’…Is neoconservative foreign policy defunct…sleeping…how does a neoconservatism more comfortable with liberalism here at home translate into foreign policy?: Wilfred McClay At First Things: ‘The Enduring Irving Kristol’

Some thoughts on Fukuyama and Leo Strauss: Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

7 thoughts on “Iran & Middle-East Policy-A Dog’s Breakfast-Some Foreign Policy Links

  1. Dogs deserve better than this for breakfast. This is isn’t the time to pull out with ISIS raging not only in the Middle East but Nigeria and the ‘stans. We might not realize the mistake until the Saudi monarchy gets knocked over and ISIS is blowing up things in Europe. This new isolationism is also why I am a bit wary of Rand Paul.

    • Ron,

      Things aren’t looking good. If you get a chance, Charles Cooke on the previous post tries to make the case that much as America might not want the burden, it ought to remain the strongest player (including having acknowledged that Iraq was a strategic failure according to the aims of those who designed it and what’s happened since).

      • I have always felt we would have been better off leaving Iraq alone. Sadam was evil, but he was a nationalist. What we have now is a broken country under heavy influence from Iran, and a breeding ground for ISIS.

      • Indeed we do. It would have required a longer term committment at minimum, and with S(y)ria devolving into protracted Civil War, and much of our influence withdrawn, there’s little we can do.

      • Some say Clinton is somewhat like the neoconservatives on foreign policy. She has a willingness to get involved. We shall see, or if we are really fortunate the GOP will win and end most of the nightmare Obama is creating.

      • There’s a lot of volatility in our politics right now, I wonder if that will manifest in new blood or encourage more familiarity voting…

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