Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blundering into Syria

Since I'm fresh from reading Angelo Codevilla's War: Means and Ends, I'm a little bemused by the current Syria flap.  We're going to bomb Syria for three days because of a chemical warfare attack on civilians?

Or is the dirty little truth that we're getting in big time but the only way to justify power politics in these precious times is by playing the humanitarian card and saying that we are only there to stop the gassing?

(Why is it that chemical weapons are such a big deal to our ruling class?  From what I gather, chemical weapons are really not that effective.  Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe chemical weapons are effective, particularly on civilians.)

Either way, let's at least be clear about what we want in the Middle East.  We want it divided, with no one power dominating the rest of the region.

That's why we went after Saddam Hussein in 1990-91.  Because his attack on Kuwait threatened to make him the regional hegemon.  That's why we went into Iraq in 2003... Yes, why did we go into Iraq?  I hoped at the time that it was to build an effective counterweight to Iran.  Only it doesn't seem to have worked.

At any rate, our policy right now ought to be directed at weakening Iran.  Whether that means leaning towards the Sunni rebels in Syria, or taking out Bashir and the Alawite regime, or building a democratic opposition in Iran I don't know.

But I hope the Obama administration knows.

That's my big worry.  I worry that the Obama administration doesn't know what it wants and is only acting because it has to.  The Big Show for the Obamis, after all, is the war against the Evil Republicans and everything they stand for.

In war as in politics, you don't want to be distracted by side-shows.

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