Bush's Gulf Gambit

By containing Iran, the U.S. remains in Iraq.

The United States plans to sell Gulf countries at least $20 billion worth of military hardware in the coming years, and will sign 10-year military aid packages with Egypt and Israel, valued together at $43 billion. According to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Washington is "working with these states to give a chance to the forces of moderation and reform."

Oddly, on Friday the New York Times published a story roundly criticizing the Saudis for their "counterproductive" attitude in Iraq. Senior U.S. officials were quoted as saying that the kingdom had tried to discredit Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki by handing American officials forged documents depicting Maliki as an agent of Iran and an ally of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The Times revealed that "the Saudis have offered financial support to Sunni groups in Iraq. Of an estimated 60 to 80 foreign fighters who enter Iraq each month, American military and intelligence officials say that nearly half are coming from Saudi Arabia and that the Saudis have not done enough to stem the flow." U.S. officials also noted that "the majority of suicide bombers in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia and that about 40 percent of all foreign fighters are Saudi."

Why this story came out just before the announcement of the arms deals was unclear, though one could guess. By criticizing Riyadh publicly for the first time, and in such a blunt way, the Bush administration preempted, and therefore effectively neutralized, Saudi Arabia's critics in Washington who might seek to block the military transactions. But the Times article was also a warning to the Saudis that the U.S. was losing patience with the kingdom's behavior in Iraq, though the impact must have been dulled by revelations a day later that the Gulf states were central to the U.S. strategy of containing expanding Iranian power.

But perhaps most significantly, the leaks were designed to remind the Saudis that the Bush administration's failure in Iraq would only harm the kingdom itself, which might then find itself caught up in a regional sectarian conflagration devouring everyone. The subdued Saudi reaction to the American censure—the fact, too, that Riyadh knew the announcement of the arms deal was imminent—very likely meant the Saudis were expecting the administration's broadside beforehand.

The U.S. has dusted off an old template in the Persian Gulf, but with two twists. We're back to the days when the Gulf kingdoms and emirates were avid consumers of high-tech American weaponry, in the context of a broader quid pro quo where the U.S. took on the burden of security in the Gulf region in exchange for Saudi intervention to stabilize the oil markets. The two twists are that stable oil prices today can only really come by way of thwarting Iranian hegemony in the Gulf; and second, doing so means that the U.S. must replace Iraq as a regional counterweight to Iran.

Reverting to this policy is more astute than it looks. The U.S. approach to the Gulf throughout the Cold War years and up until 9/11 enjoyed bipartisan support. The large weapons contracts pleased members of Congress representing constituencies with defense-related industries; stable and low oil prices were good for everyone; and the American presence in the Persian Gulf was always an acceptable way of projecting U.S. power, without usually having to worry about casualties.

In reviving that general framework, one justified today through the containment of a threatening Iran, the administration is defining its military deployment in Iraq very differently. The priority is no longer promoting Iraqi and Middle Eastern democracy; it is ensuring that U.S. interests in the Middle East are preserved. We're back to the basics of foreign policy "realism." As Condoleezza Rice declared on Monday: "There isn't a doubt, I think, that Iran constitutes the single most important, single-country challenge to U.S. interests in the Middle East and to the kind of Middle East that we want to see."

If Iran is accepted as the arch enemy, then withdrawing from Iraq suddenly looks like a bad idea, particularly when influential critics of the conduct of the Iraq war like Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack are writing that the U.S. is "finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms." By anchoring Iraq policy in a consensus that previously existed vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, buttressing this with lucrative defense contracts, and gaining Israeli acquiescence for the sales, the administration has made it more difficult for Congress impose its will on President George W. Bush when it comes to the Iraqi conflict.

For the moment Congress is playing coy. Sen. Joseph Biden and Rep. Tom Lantos, who head the congressional committees that will consider the arms deals, are waiting for September to commit themselves. September also happens to be when Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker submit their report on the progress of the U.S. military "surge" in Iraq. Biden and Lantos may use debate over the weapons contracts as a bargaining chip with the administration to define future Iraq policy, depending on what Petraeus and Crocker conclude.

But you have to wonder if Bush has not already won that round. Congress has been unable to impose an alternative Iraq strategy, and now the administration is trying to take advantage of that void. If we are to believe the administration in its new approach, the U.S. military in Iraq is now part of a regional security architecture. By approving the defense packages, Congress would be endorsing this Bush vision for the region. Maybe the president is not quite as dead as his detractors think.

Michael Young is opinion editor of the Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon and a contributing editor to reason.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    what an awful article. is getting an article on foriegn policy even vaguely libertarian-ish pov or within 500 philisophical metres of libertarianism too much to ask? Its hard to remember a more amoral and nihilistic article in reason for sometime.

  • ||

    Looks like I will have to continue to read The American Conservative for good foreign policy coverage.

  • Edward||

    Ugh,

    If you want morality, go to church. Political analysis isn't about morality. I think it's a good article.

  • ||

    "Maybe the president is not quite as dead as his detractors think."

    Not as long as Michael Young is sucking up to him.

  • ||

    We need someone to go to Iran like Nixon went to China. A true foreign policy realist would want us to return to the role of pro-Iranian offshore balancer that we or Britain maintained from 1622 to 1979. The last 30 years have been a bizarre and unnecessary aberration.

  • ||

    We need someone to go to Iran like Nixon went to China. A true foreign policy realist would want us to return to the role of pro-Iranian offshore balancer that we or Britain maintained from 1622 to 1979. The last 30 years have been a bizarre and unnecessary aberration.

    QFT. A lot of the problems of the last 30 years have been our search for a "new" Iran, an oil state that could play a balancing role in the region. We tried Iraq, which gave us Saddam. We tried Saudi Arabia, which has brought us a myriad number of problems.

  • ||

    um, more like the last 70 years have been a huge-ass mess. Everything we've done since WWII has pissed off one group/nation or another in that region, especially Iran.

  • ||

    um, more like the last 70 years have been a huge-ass mess. Everything we've done since WWII has pissed off one group/nation or another in that region, especially Iran.


    You mean, since Britain left us their big-ass mess to clean up.

  • thoreau||

    Selling a bunch of weapons to the Middle East? What could possibly go wrong?

  • ||

    We need someone to go to Iran like Nixon went to China. A true foreign policy realist would want us to return to the role of pro-Iranian offshore balancer that we or Britain maintained from 1622 to 1979. The last 30 years have been a bizarre and unnecessary aberration.

    Easier said than done. The Shah was relatively secular and basically interested in his personal luxury and power. This made convincing him to cooperate with the US a fairly easy sell. With the current regime, not so much.

    I guess the current negotiations over Iraq could plausibly lead to exchanging embasies and re-opening some diplomatic relations down the line. But as long as the current regime is in power, I doubt we will see a level of cooperation anywhere near what existed pre-1979.

  • ||

    Randolph,
    I quite agree. The overthrow of Mossadeq (1953) was probably the stupidest single American foreign policy move of the 20th century, and I hope John Foster Dulles lived to bitterly regret it, or does so in whatever afterlife he's in.

    That said, the pigheaded grudge-match we have going with them now is almost as stupid. The current regime has no irreducible quarrels with us--they hate us because we backed the Shah, and they pretend to hate us because we back Israel, but the former was 30 years ago and the latter is just a stunt to give them control of groups like Hezbollah so they can project their power. Any end to the feud that provided them with some benefit and let them save face ought to be possible.

    We don't need to go back to the '70s. But our options are being constrained by the fact that we can't work with Iran. You can see that in the increasing intransigence of our Arab allies and Turkey--they know we don't have the option to switch sides and work with Iran, and that lack of flexibility weakens our regional options. Think the Saudis are nice to us out of fear of Iran? Wait 'til they're not our only potential oil friend in the whole world. -Then- you'll see cooperation.

  • Rhywun||

    Selling a bunch of weapons to the Middle East? What could possibly go wrong?

    That was basically my reaction, too, after picking my jaw up off the floor. Bush is just doing everything in his power to fuck up the Middle East before he leaves, isn't he?

  • ||

    How many hacks will Reason continue to employ? Cathy Young is a joke. Michael Young is a joke. Michael Moynihan is a joke. I'd almost rather read Slate, the most boring faux-contrarian site on the net.

  • Gahan||

    Operation "Arm everybody to the teeth and then get the fuck out" has commenced. I don't know how this will turn out, but I'm guessing you'll be able to see the explosion from space.

  • ||

    Michael Young's articles are almost always an embarrasment to REASON and Libertarianism, and this is no exception. What happens when anti-U.S. and anti-Isreal forces get ahold of this hardware?

  • VM||

    longtimereader | August 2, 2007, 6:10pm | #
    How many hacks will Reason continue to employ? Cathy Young is a joke. Michael Young is a joke. Michael Moynihan is a joke. I'd almost rather read Slate, the most boring faux-contrarian site on the net.



    DRINK!

  • edna||

    for a magazine called "reason..."

    drinks are on me, people.


    actually, i don't think that nixon/china is a good analogy. that was more of an equals situation. iran is not in any way an equal, and we should be doing what we can to make sure it isn't, at least not until the total nutbags aren't running the place.

  • ||

    I doubt Mr. Young's views on this issue are representative of most of the writers at Reason. And it can only be a good thing to have someone who doesn't agree with the majority in these parts, so that we don't become an echo chamber.

    That said, I don't see what credibility is left for Mr. Young after being proven wrong, wronger, and more wronger these past few years.

  • belle waring||

    crimethink: I think you forgot 'most wrongestest.' wait, or 'catastrophically, mind bendingly wrong.

  • ||

    The sad thing is, in his last article he seemed to have turned a corner of sorts and admitted that the Iraq invasion was a net negative. With this article it looks like that moment of introspection has passed...

  • ||

    The sad thing is, in his last article he seemed to have turned a corner of sorts and admitted that the Iraq invasion was a net negative. With this article it looks like that moment of introspection has passed...

    Anyone that has personal, family, or religious connections with any nation in the Middle East (as Mr. Young does) should have their analysis of that region taken with a huge ass grain of salt.

  • thoreau||

    Michael Young fails the Turing Test.

    Seriously, at the risk of invoking drinking game rules, why the hell do the editors of this magazine keep him on the staff? Jacob Sullum could think circles around this guy while stoned off his ass. (I assume that "stoned off his ass" is a normal condition for Sullum, and I mean that in the best way possible.)

  • ||

    this is probably piling on but...

    Michael Young wants Lebanon free of Syria. Anything that supports that aim is good with him, e.g. going to war with Iraq.

    He's welcome to his bias, but not sure why he's on a libertarian blog & it is dishonest to call 2 liberal hawks "Influential critics". Pollack & O'Hanlon's finding that we're "getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms" is as surprising as Joe Lieberman thinking things are going well there.

    Young already has a day job in Jordan; he doesn't need to moonlight here.

  • ||

    So, let me get this straight - instead of playing two unlovely authoritarian states, Iran and Iraq against each other, we now will have to maintain a massive direct military presence in Iraq indefinitely to counter Iran. We further have to continually send huge arms shipments to increasingly unstable autocratic Gulf monarchies to buy their allegiance, and we have to step up military aid to Israel as well - and this is "astute" foreign policy? God, I'd hate to see what the inept version is!

  • Patrick D||

    It's a shame that the political incorrectness of Uncle Remus stories have deprived recent generations of the wisdom.

    If I didn't believe that things can always get worse, I'd say the U.S. is using its last free leg to kick the Tar Baby.

  • Patrick D||

    I don't understand why Micheal Young is getting so much grief over this article. Just seems like a legit analysis of administration political strategy and, indirectly, a perspective of how the region has always co-opted intervening outsiders into situations that have little connection to the original motive for the intervention.

    The Middle East is a sucker's game. The U.S. is just the latest sucker. Once we're tapped out another will take our place.

  • ||

    Many thanks to those who took the time to breathe and figure out that the piece was a straight analysis, not an alleged effort to spit on the libertarian canon. For the record, my own view has been very clear in recent years: I support U.S. policy in the Middle East that advances freedom. The Bush administration's return to the old "realism" in the Gulf is something I can only regard with deep distrust. So don't focus on the last sentence about Bush's possible strengths to the detriment of the main argument, one in no way intended as ideological: that the containment of Iran has the potential to reframe the presence in Iraq and narrow the margin of maneuver of Bush's congressional adversaries.

  • ||

    Edna,
    We were not the equals of China in 1972. Barring nukes (in which case we had a large advantage, but no defense), they were no match for us. Remember, this is shortly after I forget which of Mao's periodical destroyings of the whole fracking country.

    China was able to screw with us in East Asia, however, just like Iran is in the Middle East. Quemoy was to China what Herat and Kufa are to Iran now. Plus, China wasn't getting along with the USSR, just like Iran doesn't have any real friends now. In 1972, we made a deal: They stop bugging us, we work with them to control regional events for our mutual ass-covering. That worked out fantastically, even though we were shortly driven from Vietnam. Part of the reason why the loss of Vietnam wasn't a major disaster was that we'd balanced it by adding China. Similarly, if we talk to Iran now and then Iraq implodes, it will be manageable--if we ignore Iran, then when Iraq implodes it will be the ruinous humiliation that Vietnam wasn't.

  • ||

    For the record, my own view has been very clear in recent years: I support U.S. policy in the Middle East that advances freedom.

    You're a hero in error, my friend.

  • edna||

    jb, other than the nukes and a billion people, the largest army in the world, ballistic missles, and (despite their own internal issues) the ussr behind it, sure, china was no different than a non-nuclear nation with no big allies, a tenth that population, and no effective armed forces or long-range missles.

  • ||

    edna:

    I'm not sure I understand. Are those reasons we should consider Iran *more* menacing than China?

  • ||

    "Influential critics of the war in Iraq" = Two guys who have supported the war throughout its entire duration.

    Right on time with the RNC blast-fax talking points on Iraq again, Michael. Honest to God, you can set your watch by Young's parroting.

  • ||

    Does anyone remember what Clinton and Albright's policy towards Iran was when there were massive demonstrations in the streets against the mullahs? Prior to the Iraq War, the anti-government movement became so strong that when a couple of protest leaders were killed by the government, they were so terrified by the outcry that they had to try, convict, and imprison some top internal security people for murder.

    You don't support American policies that advance freedom in the Middle East, Mr. Young. You have done nothing but support American policies that have undermined, perhaps mortally, the prospects for expanding freedom and democracy in the Middle East.

    You just can't admit that you were wrong, and those dirty fucking hippies were right.

  • ||

    Edward,

    "If you want morality, go to church."

    What does church have to do with morality?

    (I know. I know. Wrong thread, but I couldn't resist.)

  • ||

    WTF does this illegal smash and grab and massive war crime that is the Iraq war have to do with "advancing freedom"?

    Anyone who believes the Cheney administration cares about anything besides the oil and the war profiteering and the consolidation of executive power made possible by this endless, and endlessly bogus WOT needs to don a long thin dunce cap and go stand in the corner.

    There are upwards of a million Iraqis dead, millions more are displaced refugees, life has been become a Hobbesian nightmare for ordinary Iraqs, all resulting from this illegal war of agression started on a pack of risible lies.

    This is "advancing freedom"?

  • ||

    I don't think "freedom" and "democracy" ever meant anything more to these people than "American client state."

    Some, like Cheney, understand the difference and don't care. Others, like Bush and Young, really do think that they're the same thing.

    And they'll yell at you that Iran is a worse place than America to "prove" it.

  • ||

    Edna, in 1969 China and the USSR almost came to blows. In 1972 China wasn't the USSR's ally. That's why they were willing to talk to us.

    Take off the Cold War goggles, it's been two decades since it ended. Communism wasn't a monolithic bloc.

    Also, read my earlier comment. Yes, China could hurt us in 1972. That doesn't make them our equals.

  • Canada Guy||

    Michael Young are you being paid by the RNC? Seriously how can anyone consider the arming of two of the Middle East's most authoritarian governments anything remotely to do with what you say "advances freedom"?

    That the American populace stands around and allows their tax dollars to be siphoned off to make an unstable region even more so in the twisted rationale of advancing freedom is beyond words.

    Like everything else this administration has done or touched, this too will blow up in their face. Only this time, 'blow up' really comes with just that.

  • edna||

    Are those reasons we should consider Iran *more* menacing than China?

    quite the opposite. the question is whether or not we should make sure that this state of affairs remains the case.

  • ||

    This return to an old policy that Mr. Young thinks is so admirable- has anyone thought of just eliminating the middle-man? Instead of sending billions of dollars worth of weapons- many container ships worth, no doubt- to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel- basically three-way sworn enemies- why not just take all the hardware, pile it up in the middle of the desert in Arizona, and set fire to it? That way the balance of power would be more or less intact, and they could save the shipping costs.

  • ||

    Oh dear god, i love this notion that our nation has a duty promote correct political idealogy - ( which the warmongers calls "freedom") - to foreign lands through violence.

    That's Mao not Madison.

  • evilpaul||

    Dear God, they'll hire anyone at Reason now, won't they?

    I wonder if Michael Young will be surprised when the friends and relatives of the people murdered, maimed, and oppressed by the billions of dollars in weapons show us some of their appreciation in the future?

    That "unintended consequences" thing applies to what our government does abroad too, not just milk price controls and municipal trash collection there, Mikey.

  • edna||

    do people see any difference between life in the dictatorship of (say) jordan versus the dictatorship of (say) saudi arabia? does freedom necessarily correlate with democracy?

    don't shoot me, just askin'.

  • ||

    does freedom necessarily correlate with democracy?

    Hell no. There are such things as liberal dictatorships (Hong Kong under the British) and illiberal democracies (Revolutionary France).

  • ||

    From the article:

    "Senior U.S. officials were quoted as saying that the kingdom had tried to discredit Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki by handing American officials forged documents depicting Maliki as an agent of Iran and an ally of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr."

    Damn those troublemaking Saudis! Trying to fool us into thinking that a man who belongs to a party founded by Iran, armed by Iran, trained by Iran, and which was based in Iran for twenty years might be an agent of Iran! What outlandish lie will they think up next!

  • ||

    You mean, since Britain left us their big-ass mess to clean up.

    That's what we're paid for, I reckon.

  • ||

    I fail to see how arming the Middle East advances freedom in any meaningful way. We armed Saddam Hussein, we armed the Shah, and we armed Fatah. Where do you get the misconceived notion that multi-billion dollar arms deals bring anyone freedom? If anything, freedom decreases as the tempatation to use those weapons to take your neighbor's land for your own increases.

  • ||

    Michael Young wrote: "For the record, my own view has been very clear in recent years: I support U.S. policy in the Middle East that advances freedom."

    For the record, there is little U.S. policy could directly or actively do to support advance freedom in the Middle East; the best thing is to act as an example, trading partner, and trusted peace negotiator.

    In any case, U.S. policy in the Middle East doesn't even have the objective of advancing freedom, so to support such policy is akin to being on the record as supporting U.S. policy that improves U.S. gross domestic product.

  • ||

    We armed Saddam Hussein, we armed the Shah, and we armed Fatah.

    Don't forget Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel. Two authoritarian states -- one who oppresses half their population! -- and an ethnically-based expansionist democracy.

    Freedom has nothing to do with these sales and subsidies. It's about government moving tax dollars out the pockets of tens of millions of American citizens into the pockets of a few American 'defense' corporations.

    Anyway, who here is really willing to die or have their loved ones die for this sort of freedom? I guess it's easy to get all teary eyed over the beautiful spread of freedom when others are doing the dangerous work and one chooses to ignore the hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of exiles all the freedom spreading has created.

  • ||

    What a dangerously misguided analysis. We are going to 'spread freedom in the middle east' by sending over more weapons? I would have accepted this column as sarcasm if it appeared in the onion.

  • ||

    Let me just say how glad I am I no longer subscribe to Reason. For the last 3 years I have found it harder and harder to read this banal crap. Has Rupert Murdoch bought Reason by any chance?

  • ||

    There is an interview with Chomsky over at Counterpunch that is more libertarian than any of Michael Young's foreign policy screeds, and I hate Chomsky. Seriously. I'd prefer reason ignore the war and just concentrate on drugs and why the police suck (and not just the reunion tour).

  • abraham||

    Why the high-minded responses to an article by Michael Young? I prefer to use discourse befitting the author's work:

    Michael Young, go fuck yourself.

  • ||

    If anyone wants a more sane foreign policy analysis that isn't from the Jacobin "spread freedom at the point of a gun" school, go here.

  • ||

    There are now "defense industry" manufacturers in all 50 states. The entire Congress can divvy up the spoils for votes. Because war material is made here, the value of the U.S. dollar doesn't matter. Huge profits without bidding, cost-plus, etc. make sure there'll be plenty of campaign contributions coming in. Get ready for a war machine the world has never seen.

  • ||

    There is an economic dimension to the arm sales that hasn't been addressed. The gulf states have run massive current account balances with the US as a result of higher oil prices. That money needs to be recycled back into the US (piling up foreign reserves can only go on for so long before it will start to drive the various Arab currencies up).

    The only way to recycle all that cash back into the US is through increased demand for US goods and services in Arab countries. The "best" way to do this (I mean best from the point of view of a parasitic politician who needs to raise huge amounts of cash to stay in office) is to approve sales of arms to these countries.

    My feeling is that (I may be wrong on this), from the Arab perspective, their own best interest would be to start demanding payment for oil in gold instead of the pieces of paper printed by the US government. Combined with securing their currencies to a gold standard, this would harden their currency, balance their current account, and allow for a more stable investment climate (since investors could be confident in the stability of the currencies of the countries they invest in).

    Of course, our freedom-loving government will shoot any Arab politician who proposes that their country return to a gold standard, and people like Mr. Young will duly defend these actions in the name of freedom...

  • yuval Brandstetter MD||

    two comments
    stable and low oil prices are probably the worst outcomes of US policies, for reasons of world climate and the enormous power one single family, the Saud family has gained in world affairs. The price for this coddling was september 11th and all that followed it, which cost the US far more than oil price instability.
    second, containement really means leaving Israel to deal with the existential threat Nuclear iran poses. Arming the saudis with high tech weapons they have no idea how to use is worse than useless. What does the administration think will happen following the thermonuclear annihilation of Tel-aviv? Wiil Israel just peter out? unlikely. Iran and syria will be obliterated, the Gulf will become a thermonuclear inferno and gas prices will escalate to outer space.
    So, there is nothing clever about this redux. It is a sign of utter impotence engendered by misunderstanding the Middle East. Israel will be forced to act in self-defense, which is likely to spark another round of warfare. The country that will suffer the brunt of this conflict will inevitably be Lebanon, the haven of Iran's forward revolutionary guard.

  • ||

    Gahan says Operation "Arm everybody to the teeth and then get the fuck out" has commenced. I don't know how this will turn out, but I'm guessing you'll be able to see the explosion from space.

    Yeah, ought to be good fireworks for the satanically evil scum at the state department and anyone else with a callous disregard for human life.

    Anyone who knows some history will quickly realize that if push comes to shove we'll have the Iranians and Turks divvying up the middle east and charging us double for the oil.

    The only part that is REALLY stupid however is that we aren't letting Iraquis come to the US. We need to let some refugees in. Make it fairly hard to do, but not impossible.

    The dumb or aggressive ones will stay home and exterminate each other with all the shiny new weapons we are sending to their neighbors. The agreeable smart ones will come here and make the economy blossom.

    Maybe if we would STOP yammering about how evil the Iranians are and how they had better watch out or we'll let them have it they wouldn't feel like they needed atomic bombs?

  • ||

    Michael Young "supports any policy that spreads freedom".

    I've got an idea lets start the "The Department of Spreading Freedom". We will appointed a bi-partisian board of accomplished mid-east experts to come up with various plans to spread freedom in the mid-east first. (After all the holy land deserves freedom more than those commies down in Cuba). We will just increase taxes on freedom fries adn freedom toast by 20% and this will raise 2 billion dollars a year to "spread freedom" .

    Hey maybe we should start by defining freedom. Freedom means that guys in thick glasses and fancy sweaters get to decide to raise taxes from american workers for various international charities if the slogan for the charity sounds kinda libertarian.

    Ok now that we have defined freedom, I've come up with the first project to fund. Let's destroy the most secular dictator in the mid-east...someplace wehre women go to college and learn about chemistry and stuff...a country liek this would be very dangerous if it was in the mid-east. but first we should put in place a no-fly zone for 10 years and blockade all of the trade into and out of the ports except what comes through a corrupt UN program. if it kills 500,000 kids then it will still be worth it becaue this will be the "Department of Spreading Freedom"

    REASON WAKE UP AND FIRE THIS GUY!!! he could be a speech writer for Giuliani...he will get work elsewhere, but there is no way this libertarian will subscribe to Reason until Michael Young is fired publicly for being so blockheaded about his idea of what freedom is.

    like the other real libertarians are saying...free trade, avoiding serious hypocrisy, low taxes, a humble foreign policy, being a good example and attracting the freedom seekers from the rest of the world are the best ways for America to spread freedom. When our own invasive governemnt, high taxes and hypocritical foreign policy become so bad that we stop attracting the smartest people in the world then we are working against freedom more than we are spreading it.

  • ||

    Everyone knows Saudi Arabia is all about freedom, so lets taxes Joe Welder in Mechanicsville Virginia. After all he doesn't need to send his kids to college, lets send that money to arm a bunch of modern day caligula's in f'n saudi arabia. They give their women lots of freedoms! I heard that if a woman is caught with a vibrator she has the freedom to have a stoning by boulders or to be buried alive in sand. So you see Michael Young supports freedom.

    Sure some critics will say that us supporting Osama Bin Laden might not have spread freedom to NYC very well, but it did support the freedom of the Russians and Afgahnis to shoot each other up for many years and this helped spread more freedom to Chechynia which is enjoying the fruits of all our hard work many years ago. Most importantly this really helped the freedom of shareholders at General Dynamics and Halliburton tremendously.

  • ||

    Perhaps you think this is being abit hard on Mr Young? Afterall he seems darned civil in some of his articles. However, anyone who thinks Michael Young is objective should look at ALL of the articles in his archive, he always finds the angle needed to push, push and cheerlead a foreign policy of active intevention in the middle east. When predictable death and agony (not to mention steroidal government growth) follows, he washes it all away by claiming to be an advocate for any policy that spreads freedom, while neglecting to ever address the possibility that non-intervention and the peaceful demostration of the power of good economic policy is the best way to motivate the world to move towards freedom.

    He pays no attention to the empirical fact that WAR is and always has been the health of the oppressive state. That it is the pre-condition for violating human rights at home and abroad.

    If he were writing for the NY Times or the WSJ it would make perfect sense, but this is ridiculous.

  • ||

    bush/cheney (and their helpers, like Young) are spreading the freedom of the grave and the democracy of death in the Middle East

    hey, maybe they will start doing it at home too?

  • Gabe Harris||

    Susan, don't you see: freedom is accidently shooting people at security checkpoints and trade sanctions.

    People like Michael Young and I understand this, when will those stubborn insurgents understand?

  • Gabe||

    Seriously....does Nick Gillspie approve of this crap? this ain't even close to being libertarian. I can understand pragmatism, I can understand voting for a republican like Ron Paul or a gradualist approach or lots of other comprimises, but this utterly blind beliefe in our government's ability to spread "freedom" by putting in puppet regimes and installing curfews, armed checkpoints, National ID's, corrupt military contracts...all with money borrowed from China and stolen from american taxpayers.....is this going to spread freedom in the world?

  • anon||

    This arms sale is just a way for the US to get some of the oil price spike into its coffers. It is called racketeering in polite circles.

  • ||

    so where is Young's defense? why does Reason subisdize this crap? Does the CFR own Reason?

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement