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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Maybe we're better off not being friends of the United States

Frankly, this is sad. But it's also difficult to argue with his conclusions. Barry Rubin writes that we might actually be better off not being friends of the United States - or anyone else in the West. Consider this.
Remember a peculiar fact: even though Gaddafi was generally a horribly repressive anti-American dictator, in his final years he tried making a deal with the Americans. Gaddafi was frightened by the U.S. attack on Iraq in 2003 and didn’t want to be next on the list. So he cooperated, gave up his nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction programs, and reduced his foreign subversive efforts.

That did not save him from being overthrown by the United States, just as it did not save a genuine American ally, President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. On this point, I’m not advocating anything about what the United States should have done in Libya but just observing how it will be received in the region.

Bashing the West in the current era brings little cost. Here’s a partial list:

Egypt: Obama courts Muslim Brotherhood and is indifferent to anti-Americanism of the newly empowered political forces

Gaza Strip: Terrorist Hamas gets Western support to stay in power, including bashing of Israel’s military operation and pressure on Israel to minimize sanctions.

Lebanon: No opposition to Syria-Iran sponsored forces and Hizballah; readiness to deal with the government they now control; no enforcement of 2006 UN resolution to stop arms smuggling and Hizballah’s return to the south. Incidentally, on the same day Gaddafi dies the first Hizballah delegation is officially received in Moscow.

Palestinian Authority: Refuses negotiations with Israel; refuses compromise; ignores U.S. requests but gets rewarded by the whole world while its enemy Israel is reviled.

Syria: Courted by the Obama administration; protected at the UN by a Russia-China veto, facing only very limited pressure despite massive repression.

Turkey: No punishment for regime’s sabotage of 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, sabotage of sanctions on Iran, alliance with radical Islamist forces. In fact, Obama administration rewards.

In contrast, allies — Bahrain, Mubarak’s Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the moderate oppositions in Iran, Lebanon, and Turkey — are not helped or are even punished by the West and especially the U.S. government.

Thus, the region will note that when Gaddafi was a leading sponsor of terrorism, subversion, and anti-Americanism, he got away with it. When he was on “good terms” with the United States, he lost power. That might not be fair, but it seems to make sense in terms of Middle Eastern political philosophy.
What could go wrong? Read the whole thing.

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At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...or to put it another way: you may be friends with the United States, but the President of the United States is not your friend at all--he's a friend of America's enemies, and yours.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger 935684 said...

Carl, I'm paraphrasing, but I've read that Henry Kissinger once said, "To be an enemy of the United States can be dangerous, but to be her ally can be fatal."

At 8:36 PM, Blogger BH in Iowa said...

Obama is not a friend of the US.


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