Battleland

Why America’s Middle East Policy is Doomed

The U.S. is pursuing a self-destructive grand strategy in the Middle East. It's based on a pair of conflicting objectives, each bathed with high-toned rhetoric about promoting human rights and democracy:

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The U.S. is pursuing a self-destructive grand strategy in the Middle East. It’s based on a pair of conflicting objectives, each bathed with high-toned rhetoric about promoting human rights and democracy:

— The pursuit of strategic economic advantage in the Arab states.

— Support of the consolidation of Israel.

That’s the view of retired U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman, who shared it in a talk at the Washington-based Middle East Policy Council Jan. 16.

Without explicitly saying so, Freeman shows how the triangle of mismatches among our words and actions and the world those words and actions purport to deal with contradict the criteria of a sensible grand strategy.

He explains how interaction is sapping the moral authority of United States, and in so doing, it is dangerously reducing our capacity for independent action. Freeman’s line of argument is entirely consistent with the theories evolved by the late American strategist, Colonel John Boyd.

Freeman reveals why these self-inflicted mismatches are coming to a grand-strategic head, and — if left unaddressed — will blowback to America’s detriment.  There is no wasted verbiage in Freeman’s text — every paragraph is a clearly-written building block in a sweeping tour de force that is worthy of your careful study.

Grand Waffle in the Middle East

By Chas W. Freeman Jr.

Middle East Policy Council (MEPC)  —  January 16, 2013

Over the past half century or so the United States has pursued two main but disconnected objectives in West Asia and North Africa: on the one hand, Americans have sought strategic and economic advantage in the Arabian Peninsula, Persian Gulf, and Egypt; on the other, support for the consolidation of the Jewish settler state in Palestine.  These two objectives of U.S. policy in the Middle East have consistently taken precedence over the frequently professed American preference for democracy.

These objectives are politically contradictory.  They also draw their rationales from distinct moral universes.  U.S. relations with the Arab countries and Iran have been grounded almost entirely in unsentimental calculations of interest.  The American relationship with Israel, by contrast, has rested almost entirely on religious and emotional bonds.  This disconnect has precluded any grand strategy.

Full thing here.

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