Postmodern classic?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Iran, the ISG, updates

Not a lot going on these days, enjoying the Holiday season for a little while. Sorry I haven't written anything recently, but there's really not much to report for me anyhow. Just my occasional rants on politics and international relations, haha... nothing new.

The Iraq Studies Group report has proven to be a complete farce. Where to begin? The focus on Israel as the way to peace in Iraq? Asking Iran and Syria for help? Just a brief perusal of this report illuminates everything that is wrong with the career diplomat field exemplified by men like Baker, willing to settle for mediocrity. Some abstract concept of 'we should all get along' if we just don't upset anyone's self esteem crap. It makes one a little more skeptical when we hear of Baker's financial ties to Saudi Arabian consulting companies, his son's employment as an agent representing Saudi interests in America. Not to mention his own participation in the creation of this current wave of ethnic and sectarian violence- it was his advice as Secretary of State for Bush 1 after the first Gulf War to not interfere with Saddam stamping out the Kurds and Shia with chemical weapons after Bush exhorted them to rise up. How do you think that would make you feel about Americans if your people had tried to change things but were totally abandoned by calculating politicians like Baker? With that context we should be happy they listen to us at all. Respect is earned by blood and effort- such as we are undergoing now- not by the highminded 'dictat' that make up the bulk of this man's work. Despite the problems we face today, there would be many more if we rapidly withdrew. The centrality of Israel to Middle Eastern peace is a red flag to those who discuss the influence of 'Arabists' in the State Department. Don't get me wrong, Israel plays a big role in the region- as a crutch for those who would maintain the Muslim victim mentality. We have enough of that in this country, do we really want to make that our foreign policy?

Another example of why consensus building is the tools of the weak- a good leader must be able to make decisive actions in the face of opposition, yet be able to back it up. Well, W has done some of that- it's easy to talk about what he hasn't done or has yet to do, but he's at least out there doing it. The Keane/Kagan program could be positive as well, although I favor the military plan which has been hinted in it's portrayal that more troops are not necessary, but a change in focus is. But decisiveness in action and a cohesive political justification is more important- I'll rehash my favorite Patton quote that 'a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow'. Because everyone is watching, and we all know that Iran is next if the situation doesn't change soon. The Middle East is no bed of roses and we must have a plan, as the Washington Post clearly expresses. New generals coming in, or more accurately 'back', to Iraq are well versed in this problem, such as LTG Odierno. There's an interesting debate at Blackfive about the military options of attacking Iran I've dabbled in. I think we have time to focus on Iraq before that opens up, but if it gets down to it and we have to go in- so be it. Like I said there, my conclusion is based on the negative assumption that: as bad as things are now, they could be a whole lot worse (especially if a bunch of nukes were involved).

Ah well. In other areas, economic negotiations in China are continuing like usual- characterized by an almost complete ineffectiveness. Rumsfeld is finally stepping out of the way- I liked the guy, but it was time to go, and he left office with his characteristic articulation in identifying the problems of the day (the interview is definitely worth reading). Less comforting is the idea of ongoing investigations in the next Congress. But hey- it's their bag baby. Even though I would've voted Allen were I in Virginia, I think watching Webb make people squirm on both sides of the aisle alone will make it worth watching.

Life never fails to be interesting. Should have some time to train in the meantime. Happy Holidays to all!


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