Tuesday, October 5, 2010

None Dare Call It Blowback

"The American people deserve to hear the truth," says Sheldon Richman, debunking the "myth that anti-American activity is unprovoked" — Terrorist Threat Has Roots in U.S. Policy. He notes "that the American empire provokes anti-Americanism... isn’t rocket science," explaining:
    You bomb someone; they get mad and try to get even. Terrorism is the price paid for maintaining an empire. But the imperial masters apparently think it’s worth the price. They never suffer; on the contrary, they prosper when they can use the violence to justify further expansion of their power.

    And so it goes on, like a perpetual-motion machine. Each act of the empire provokes a response that serves as a pretext for further imperial action. The battlefield is the world, and the “war on terror” can go on forever. Except for the dead, the maimed, the malnourished, and the taxpayers, it’s a sweet deal all around.

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Blogger Steve Hayes said...

As Madeleine Albright famously said, "We think the price is worth it."

She was, of course, thinking of the price paid by half a million Iraqi kids, not of the nearly 3000 people in New York on 9/11, but that's when words can come pack to haunt you.

7:19 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Indeed. Revolting comments from a revolting woman representing a revolting regime.

I want my country back.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Francis Xavier said...

To be fair to La Albright, Saddam Hussein wasn't exactly Mother Theresa, but more or less an Arab Stalin.

9:26 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Francis Xavier said...

Hussein had a rabid personality, first killing his enemies in his party, then starting a war with Iran that killed millions (nobody exactly put a gun to his head and told him he had to invade Iran), then a stupid war with Kuwait, and then slaughtered the Shi'a and Kurds.

And yes, people did disappear in the middle of the night in Hussein's Iraq, much like Russia's Stalin.

I may not agree with all of Mme Albright's policies, or even find her congenial, but as long as America, Europe and Japan wanted access to the Gulf's oil, and didn't want a dictator with a robust military trying to use the Gulf's oil money to try and become a major global power, they had no choice but to keep Hussein in check.

The very people most loath to send the militaries of the developed world to topple Hussein (the sheer unimaginable unineptitude with which Bush operated at home and abroad is NOT the issue here) tend to be those also most vociferous against the alternative; blockading and hobbling Hussein.

Would that they presented solutions instead.

11:21 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Maybe not a nice guy, but as John Quincy Adams said of our beloved America, "[S]he goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

No American interest. No blood for Israel.

Solutions? Buy Saddam's oil and let Israel have fended for itself.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Francis Xavier said...

In all seriousness, do you believe (whether it's moral or not) that the American electorate would ever have elected a president who brought them oil at $500 - 1000 a barrel?

Hussein's first move would have been to set up an OPEC with real teeth.

If not, I can't see your solution happening in the real world.

Bear in mind that John Quincy Adams was president when America didn't even encompass Texas and California, and relied on very few if any essential raw materials from overseas.

12:24 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

First, drill ANWR.

The idea that Saddam or other Arabs wouldn't sell their oil to us is stupid. (An "OPEC with real teeth" was only ever contemplated because of our support for Israel; why should we care if that state is driven into the sea?) It's called capitalism; people who have stuff want to sell it.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Francis Xavier said...

OPEC, or was it the OAPEC, used the War with Israel in 73 to jack up prices, but if you look into it, you'll find that OPEC was founded by Perez, a Venezuelan, and Tariki, a Saudi, as a sort of trade union for oil producing countries, to help them negotiate collectively with the West and restrict supply.

The war of 73 gave the Saudis an excuse to do something they had long been itching to do, while appearing to help their Arab allies. By my lights Israel was merely a convenient excuse.

The issue is not whether Saddam would have sold us oil, but at what price, and perhaps even more importantly, if he'd have used Western dependence on Gulf oil to extort obscene concessions. ANWR is but pint in the bucket. CNN has yet to report - even though it is a fact - that in the US the price of oil sinks seasonally every 4 years before elections; the oil majors do their benefactors a favor, favors that work.

Whether we like it or not, as long as many voting Americans eat at McDonalds, and nurture their minds at its educational equivalents, a cabal of oil producing countries would have huge leverage over the US, (by reducing exports before an election) to the point of being able to choose our presidents.

To paraphrase that most articulate sage from Crawford, Texas, we'll either have our lackeys over there, or they theirs over here.

I do not write this as a partisan of one side or one policy, but to point out that these relations are intricate, and that decision makers have to choose from the least unpalatable options.

F-X the paleo.

3:00 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

I cannot disagree with what you say. All the more reason to wean ourselves from foreign oil. War is not the answer. Isolationism may be.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Francis Xavier said...

Unfortunately, oil is so vitally important to the American economy that weaning the country off of foreign oil is well nigh impossible, or at least not without a drop in the standards of living of 80% or so.

How would that play in Peoria?

11:48 PM  

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