The making of American foreign policy – a sitcom in two acts
By Justin Raimondo
"Leave it to the Americans to consider their foreign policy in terms of a family drama: the current narrative is that Rummy's exit signals the arrival of Daddy's Wise Men to bail out Junior from the mess he's made in the Iraqi sandbox. Like a frat boy who has maxed out his credit card or totaled his flashy new sports car, poor little Georgie-Porgie has finally turned to Daddykins for advice he once spurned. Just like in an episode of Father Knows Best – or, better yet, Leave It To Beaver…
As those helicopters pulled away from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon, with people clinging to them for dear life, the American public became intimately acquainted with defeat – and it wasn't pretty. In the decades since that traumatic event, Americans shied away from foreign adventurism, whether undertaken in the name of "democracy" or a coldly calculated American interest, haunted by the memory of what happened in Vietnam.
The problem is that, for all their alleged wisdom, these miracle-making realists have failed to recognize reality – even though they are staring it in the face. They can't undo what the invasion has done: broken the Iraqi nation into its constituent parts and handed the biggest piece over to neighboring Iran. That was accomplished the moment the Ba'athist regime cracked, and all of Bush's Wise Men can't put it back together again.
It isn't just the Iranians, the Syrians, the Saudis, the Israelis, the Kurds, and the Lebanese factions that the Wise Men have to deal with. There are also domestic roadblocks to a comprehensive – or incremental – settlement of the Middle Eastern question, notably what John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt call "the Lobby" in their seminal study of Israel's lobby in the U.S. It was the Lobby that, in large part, lured us into the Iraqi quagmire, and this same concatenation of forces stands in the way of an orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces.
The Lobby opposes a Middle East settlement: they stand for expanding Israeli interests, at the expense of the Arabs and the Persians, and their goal [.pdf] – the atomization of existing Middle Eastern states down to a more manageable stature – is being rapidly accomplished in Iraq. Their goal is to duplicate the process throughout the region, and this means more "regime change" – in Lebanon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, as well as Iran.
In any contest pitting the Baker Commission against the Lobby, the outcome is going to be problematic – but I'd put my money on the latter. Especially as the neocons ditch their old Republican allies and attach themselves to a new host – the Democratic Party – it is hard to see how the War Party is going to be stopped. Unless, of course, the American people wake up in time – there's always that possibility. The recent election is proof that they haven't fallen permanently asleep: they can be roused, if only there's the right stimulus.
It remains to be seen what the Wise Men are up to, but I wouldn't put much store in it: whatever it is, it's likely to proceed at a snail's pace, and, for the reasons given above, the clock is ticking…"