“Evil Empire”

Reagan called the Soviet Union the “evil empire”. But if you look at the international relations of the United States in the last 70 years, the litany of terrible outcomes and consequences is almost breathtaking — Vietnam, El Salvador, regime change in Iran, second Iraq war, Afghanistan. I’m sure this short list is missing other significant fiascos. So the bottom line might indeed be that today’s “evil empire” is not them but us — we are the evil empire!

At the very least, I think it is time that the United States government seriously reevaluate its goals relative to international affairs, and make the key objectives not exploiting weaknesses of other countries for some illusory gains for the US, but instead rectifying potential areas of conflict between nations so that peace and prosperity world-wide are assured.

Instead of jockeying for some questionable advantages, a more high-minded diplomacy on the part of the US would be, for instance, to seek ways to peacefully unravel the conflict between North Korea and South Korea so that that potentially explosive issue just melts away. Ditto the issue of China and Taiwan. Not gain specious advantage from these situations but actually solve them so they go away.

Wouldn’t it be a huge sea change if US foreign policy were to pursue goals that were on the side of the angels rather than policies that, in the last 70 years, have led inevitably to the death of millions, devastation of whole nations, and terrible unintended consequences — the heritage of our evil empire.

So this brings us to the present moment and the Ukrainian situation, which isn’t fundamentally about Ukraine at all, but instead the uneasy relationship between an expanding NATO and a Russia with security concerns, having been invaded by Europe twice in history.

A high-minded diplomacy on the part of the US would have the US seek to bring these two parties together to work out an agreement that would leave both feeling secure and respected, so that the world could breathe easier and enjoy peace and prosperity.

But what has the US done instead? It has elected to exploit the Ukrainian situation in a proxy war to debilitate its supposed enemy Russia. The end result is not hard to see. Ukraine will be decimated, many there will die, and the relationship between NATO and Russia will deteriorate, perhaps to the breaking point, with the specter of nuclear war rising up once again.

All of this because the cognoscenti in the US see Russia as the enemy, even though, around the world, there are actually very few points of direct contention between the United States and Russia — the Arctic region being the conspicuous exception. That this is so is probably a consequence of geography, as the two countries are, after all, on opposite sides of the globe. And there are many similarities between the two countries — both are threatened by Muslim extremists, both are principally Christian, both are ostensibly democratic, with elections, both are capitalist.

Yet we are led to believe by our leaders in the US that Russia is the enemy. Why? And what will be the net result, but another decimated country called Ukraine, decimated as much by the narrow-minded and short-sighted diplomacy of the United States as by Russia.

Add yet another country to the list of countries victimized by the current evil empire, the United States.

Nuclear Umbrella 

Lunatics in Charge

Biden has Kerry and Rice back in his White House. These were the two knuckleheaded masterminds of the “Peace in Our Time” deal with Iran. They took a page from Reagan but altered it a bit — “Trust but no verify,” as they were in such a hurry to get a deal — any deal — with Iran. Just like Chamberlain at Munich. So we are going to have lunatics in charge of our foreign policy again, if you can call it that.

And of course Biden is in bed with the Chinese, perhaps even financially benefiting from Chinese companies. But then you know that for career politicians, graft is just considered their retirement benefit. So back to the “policy” of doing things that benefit China but undermine the US — because the Rust Belt isn’t big enough yet.

First Real Test for Biden

Munich Agreement


I’m wondering if Trump is going to give the Israelis the green light to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities?  The US has in its arsenal that bomb for deep penetration of the earth — the “bunker buster” — so the Iranians can’t just dig deep enough to protect their nuclear assets.

We’ve backed away from the agreement with the Iranians — the agreement is a bust, and the Iranians are busy again creating more nuclear material, yet Trump’s policy is still we won’t allow them to have a nuclear weapon.  Sanctions alone will not restrain the Iranians from developing a weapon.  Something’s got to give.

It’s an open question whether the world would be a safer place or actually more dangerous if the Israelis were to attack and destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities.  What do you think?

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Who Gets To Be Secretary of State

John Kerry was an clueless Secretary of State — witness his various Geneva “negotiations” over the Syrian civil war that, oh by the way, didn’t include any of the key players — duh.  He calls for negotiation in Geneva and no one comes.  That’s called talking to yourself and thinking it “diplomacy”.

Then there was the Chamberlain-like, “peace in our time” Iranian deal that he engineered, which was the big giveaway in order to get any kind of agreement, so that he could claim “success”.  No one told Kerry that you have to be willing to walk away from the table in order to get a good deal — you can’t be too eager or give that impression.

Now he is being a disastrous ex-Secretary of State and actually interfering in our foreign policy with respect to Iran — his first experience dealing with Iran wasn’t bad enough, it seems.  These former office-holders should learn how to fade away gracefully, but apparently that is asking to much.

But I guess my lingering question has to do with how we fill this position of Secretary of State?  It seems to be reserved as a political plum, that is to say, it’s given as a prize to some former senator or other, as if election to political office is the appropriate background and sufficient training for diplomacy.  But why would some political hack necessarily have the best qualifications for leadership in international affairs?

Remember Henry Kissinger, with that marvelous gravelly voice?  Whatever you might say about Kissinger, he wasn’t some off-the-wall political hack, but someone who actual knew something about negotiating, foreign affairs, and diplomacy, with enough gravitas that even our adversaries listened his every word with rapt attention.  Seems to me we should get back to that model for making this very critical appointment — appointing someone as Secretary of State who has actual claims as a diplomat.  Doesn’t that make more sense?  Or are we going to continue giving away the position to ex-Senators as a booby prize — ex-Senators with zero qualifications for the job?

Pompeo on Kerry Undermining Our Foreign Policy

Neville Chamberlain’s Peace in Our Time Speech

Henry Kissinger

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Iraq — Our Three Stooges War

During the 1980’s, Iraq and Iran were at war with each other.   Sunni-led Iraq was fighting against Shiite Iran, so that the war had a sectarian character.  The war was fought to a stalemate, and so, ironically, established a clear balance of power between the Sunni countries and the Shiite countries, as neither Iraq nor Iran could make any territorial gains, so that purely sectarian aggression in the Middle East was held in check pretty much throughout the 90’s.

The Iraq War that began in 2003 undermined that precious balance of power.  We went to war to prevent Saddam Hussein from using “weapons of mass destruction,” even though he had none, and to remove him  as an ally of Al-Qaeda, even though he wasn’t one.  But what we did remove was a regime ruled by the Sunnis in Iraq, and replaced it with one ruled by Iraqi Shiites.  The net result was that Iraq invariably fell under the sphere of influence of Iran, as both countries were now  allies as ruled by the same Islamic sect — in essence, Iran ultimately won the 1980’s war without having to fire a shot due to our foolhardy invasion of Iraq.

And without the balance of power represented by the Sunni-led Iraq under Saddam, Iran has extended its hegemony in the region as an ally of Assad in Syria and in support of the powerful Hezbollah party in Lebanon, so that its sphere of influence now extends from its own eastern border all the way to the Mediterranean.  That has been one unfortunate result of our Iraq War.  How did that serve the interest of the United States?

The other unfortunate result has been to launch sectarian civil war throughout the region.  Saddam had kept a lid on the violent sectarianism that stewed in Iraq under a seemingly tranquil surface.  That was in fact his mandate for governing — his raison d’etat — to maintain a strictly Sunni government that would hold in check the Shia and Kurdish segments of the country.  By removing Saddam, we removed that check on the violent sectarianism that seethed just below the surface between the Iraqi Sunnis and the Iraqi Shiites.

But the Sunnis that we displaced in Iraq were not going to be subjugated by Shiites without a fight, and so our displacement of the Sunni-led government of Saddam as well as the disenfranchisement of his Sunni-oriented military led inevitably to the spawning of Sunni extremist groups and civil war first in Iraq, but ultimately with ISIS in both Iraq and Syria — yet another unanticipated consequence of our ill-considered invasion of Iraq.  How did that serve the interest of the United States?

So our Iraq War produced results directly opposite of our interests — creating a much stronger Iran regionally and unleashing an ongoing sectarian civil war between Sunnis and Shiite throughout the entire Middle East that had once been held in check by the stalemate from the Iraq/Iran conflict in the 1980’s.   The conclusion is undeniable: We blunder into stupid wars and have no idea of the consequences, not unlike the buffoonish and clumsy behavior of the Three Stooges.

Iraq War


The Three Stooges

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What do you get for a one dollar contribution? My gratitude.

If you enjoyed the post, you can help me keeping blogging along with just a one dollar contribution. You can contribute more by increasing the quantity — each increase by 1 is an additional dollar. Thanks for your support in this blog-eat-blog world.