Middle East

So Arab Countries Can Clean Up Their Own Messes Without (Crazy) Uncle Sugar!

Being the craziest guy in the room can sometimes get results.


Mike Freer—Touchdown-aviation

It looks like there are two ways to get countries to reduce their dependence on the American military umbrella. One way is the calculated, tough-love approach: point out that to other governments that they're capable of fighting their own fights, set a timetable for them to assume responsibilty for defense matters, and stick to it. The other approach is to act so nuts and untrustworthy that allies sense an implosion of crazy and reluctantly take on new responsibilities. This second technique seems to be working miracles in the Middle East as some sort of unified Arab self-help emerges from an anguished watching of whatever the hell it is the United States is up to.

Yesterday, The New York Times noted that "The Arab states said on Sunday that they had agreed to form a combined military force to counter both Iranian influence and Islamist extremism, a gesture many analysts attributed in large part to their drive for more independence from Washington."

Independence is good, right? We all like independence. But independence tends to involve fighter planes, troops, and initiative—the sort of pricey, high-responsibility commitments so many nations have been loath to make when Uncle Sugar and the marines are around to take it on themselves. So…Why the willingness to assemble a large, expensive international military force when the U.S. war machine is still so enthusiastically engaged around the world?

The Times story contains a hint, noting that Sunni Muslim nations in the Middle East are less than thrilled by U.S. nuclear negotiations with Iran. "Regardless of Iran's nuclear program, they complain, the deal would do nothing to stop Iran from seeking to extend its influence around the region by backing favored factions, as it has done in Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen."

But it gets wackier than that. While U.S. officials are talking up their support for Saudi airstrikes in Yemen last week, that contribution apparently came almost after the fact. Agence France Presse reported that American officials got an "oh, by the way" heads-up on the strikes.

General Lloyd Austin, head of US Central Command, told a Senate hearing that he had little advance notice of the Saudi air strikes launched on Wednesday.

Austin said he was informed by Saudi Arabia about the operation only "shortly before they took action."

On Friday, NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engels rounded up the fascinating degree of chaos at hand in the U.S. government's current involvement in the Middle East.

In Syria you have the U.S. fighting both with Iran and against Iran, in the same country. So there is an incredibly convoluted dynamic underway right now where the U.S. is negotiating on one hand, and that's probably the biggest story right now that the U.S. is negotiating in Switzerland to come up with some sort of comprehensive deal with Iran which would see Iran put some brakes on its nuclear program in exchange for lifting the sanctions. So while we're negotiating in one country, we're fighting, or supporting a fight against Iran in Yemen, the fight that is now being led by Saudi Arabia. We're fighting both with and against Iran in Syria, and fighting with Iran in Iraq.

So there are many people who I've spoken to, many in the military, many policy analysts, who say that what we're seeing here is an incoherent policy regarding not just Iran but regarding the Middle East in general.

Do you get that? The United States is now too crazy to be trusted—in the Middle East! That's right. In a region long plagued by byzantine ploys, duplicity, fanaticism, ageless feuds, and seemingly irrational behavior, the United States government has emerged as the craziest guy in the room. American behavior has become so unreliable, that U.S. officials are apparently being cut out of the loop as the locals look for solutions on their own.

That's probably a better result than we'd have any right to expect had we actually…you know…planned it out ourselves.

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  1. One way is the calculated, tough-love approach: point out that to other governments that they’re capable of fighting their own fights, set a timetable for them to assume responsibilty for defense matters, and stick to it. The other approach is to act so nuts and untrustworthy that allies sense an implosion of crazy and reluctantly take on new responsibilities. This second technique seems to be working miracles in the Middle East as some sort of unified Arab self-help emerges from an anguished watching of whatever the hell it is the United States is up to.

    For some reason, this scene came to mind while reading the first paragraph

    1. “The other approach is to act so nuts and untrustworthy”


  2. The Arab states said on Sunday that they had agreed to form a combined military force to counter both Iranian influence and Islamist extremism

    Do they also plan to stop funding the fundamentalist sunni schools and mosques that are the source of those Islamist extremists?

    1. Whatever. But if we were paying for this operation that would free up more money they could spend on those extremist incubators. Also, maybe they’ll take the next step and stop funding those places.

    2. Look, if you stop funding extremists, then the extremists dry up. And if there’s no extremists to fight, then how are you going to gain money and power?

      1. Gentlemen, we cannot allow an extremist gap…

    3. “Do they also plan to stop funding the fundamentalist sunni schools and mosques that are the source of those Islamist extremists?”

      Hi Stormy Dragon,

      I don’t believe your theory at ALL. The REAL reason that the Middle East is saturated with ideology-blinded suicide bombers is because of goat-fucking. We need to resort to biological warfare, and infect all of their goats with AIDS. Only then, will the Middle East give up on goat-fucking. And only when a people give up on all goat-fucking, only THEN can there be a true and lasting peace! True peace comes from true respect for Our Brother, The Goat.

      1. “. The REAL reason that the Middle East is saturated with ideology-blinded suicide bombers…”

        It’s DA JOOOS. Richman told me. Pass it on.

      2. GAIDS? Sounds homophobic.

  3. Air strike on Yemeni refugee camp by Saudi-led coalition kills at least 40.

    I guess we can call this a rookie mistake then.

    1. Nah, we just need to sell them some precision strike packages (money).

      And teach them to use them (money).

      And teach them to maintain them (money).

      And provide technical support (money).

      After all, they’re on *our* side now, so its not like this material and technical support will ever be used against us.

    2. So what do you call it when the US blows up an Afghani wedding?

      1. Monday?

        Seriously, how do we know what the purpose is of whatever gathering we just blowed up? Who is saying these are weddings and birthday parties, and why do we take their word for it?

        1. Well, my own government says it was a meeting of terrorist masterminds but – my own government has lied about WMD, mass electronic surveillance, kills people for possessing forbidden plants, lies to put people on death row to pad conviction statistics, on and on and on.

          While the Pakistanis have done none of that to me.

          I think the Pakis have an edge in credibility here.

          1. Except for the hiding of bin Laden, of course.

            1. Woo-hoo! They hid the mastermind during the period when his ‘global empire of terror’ was the least effective.

              1. Or, his global empire of terror was least effective while he was in hiding.

          2. Or the Paki Army shelling Pathan villages to let ’em know who is boss. I actually had a Pak artillery Major tell me all about that, in a self satisfied manner.

            Or the ISI setting up the Taliban.

          3. The Paki’s haven’t done anything to you due to your proximity to Pakistan. Not any beneficence on their part. They are shitbags to a large extent. Why don’t you go live there for five years and see how much you don’t miss the US?

        2. And exactly WHY were these arranged marriages (aka coerced weddings) arranged in the first place?

          1. loo, you can’t just *throw together* and arranged marriage, these things take planning.

      2. New professionalism? Wait, that’s not it either…

      3. “So what do you call it when the US blows up an Afghani wedding?”

        Collateral damage.

        Remember: It’s collateral damage when we do it and a horrible human rights tragedy when they do.

        1. The difference is when we do it, we’re trying to hit an actual military target. The wedding just happens to be there, and we generally try and avoid that. When they do it, the wedding IS THE FUCKING TARGET. And they want more attacks like that.

          Is any of this getting through to you? Stupid comments like the one you made just diminish us all.

      4. It was a shotgun wedding. Understandable mistake.

      5. Bush’s fault.

      6. Tuesday?

        1. Wait, no, I’ve got it…WEDNESDAY!

          1. What is this, Happy Days?

    3. If you subtract the Israelis from the military enrollment in the Middle East what you have left are the worst tucking fighter pilot’s in the world.

  4. Just wait until Joltin’ Joe Biden is president!

    1. I would love to see a John Joe Biden Bolton ticket. It will take crazy up to a whole new level.

    2. “Today, the Biden Administration bombed France. “To maintain a credible tgreat of power projection anytime, anywhere. Sources aay a nuclear tipped rocket is being readied for launch to the moon. “

      1. well we have to eliminate the space Nazis…..

  5. I’m actually a little sympathetic to the administration on this one. Yes, they don’t really seem to have any kind of coherent strategy in the ME right now, but the situation is pretty chaotic. I mean, does anyone have a coherent strategy? Everyone seems to be reacting to ISIS, the Syrian civil war, etc.

    Everything 2Chill is saying about the U.S. here applies equally well to Iran. They’re negotiating with the U.S. while simultaneously fighting against U.S. backed forces, except in the counties where they are fighting together, except in the countries where they are doing both.

    The whole situation is convoluted, and I doubt any administration would have a great strategy worked our right now. Unless of course the strategy was to get out and let the people who live there sort it out, but that’s fantasy talk.

    1. And in the absence of a coherent strategy, better that others rush in to act. Their neighborhood; their problem.

    2. The situation is chaotic because they made it that way! They claimed to have a strategy when they helped take down stable regimes in Libya, Egypt, and Syria. The Egyptians seemed to have recovered. Rural areas of Syria are now controlled by ISIS and Libya has collapsed into a terrorist state.

      Good job guys!

      1. They claimed to have a coherent strategy when they took down a stable regime in Iraq.

        Hell, we supposedly had a coherent strategy in *Vietnam*. How that work out for us.

        Thing is, looking at this from a Public Choice angle – *none* of the people in our government have any real incentive to ‘stabilize’ the ME. That way lies reduced budgets and relevance.

        So we’ll keep poking our nose in places that would be better left ignored.

        1. Nobody except Johnson and McNamara claimed we had a coherent strategy in Vietnam – at least until Abrams took over.

          1. I’m pretty sure every president during that war, along with Henry Kissinger (among others) would have loudly proclaimed that they had a coherent strategy (of ‘containment’) and knew what they were doing.

            1. “Son, all I’ve ever asked of my Marines is that they obey my orders as they would the word of God. We are here to help the Vietnamese, because inside every gook there is an American trying to get out. It’s a hardball world, son. We’ve gotta keep our heads until this peace craze blows over.”

      2. The current administration is responsible for the Middle East being a convoluted mess? It’s been that for centuries.

        1. The current administration is responsible for funding rebels in Syria thus exacerbating that civil war, they’re responsible for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and undercutting one of the few anti-Jihadist regimes in the region, they’re responsible for helping overthrow Qaddafi which was a catastrophic mistake.

          The Middle East is worse now than it was 5 years ago. This is partially Obama’s fault and partially the fault of Bush for the mess that is the Iraq War.

          1. How did they ‘support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt?’

            1. Annual military aid.

              Let him go with it. It is just wingnut babble.

            2. How about meeting with Brotherhood officials behind General Sisi’s back, refusing to classify them as a terrorist organization even though they clearly support terrorism, providing tanks and planes to the Morsi government, and refusing to support Sisi’s attacks on ISIS in Libya?

              It’s obvious the Obama administration prefers the Brotherhood to Sisi despite the fact that Sisi, autocratic asshole that he is, is attempting to protect non-Muslim minorities in Egypt and modernize Islam whereas the Brotherhood has no such intention. I’m honestly very confused by Obama’s seemingly positive view of the Muslim Brotherhood, since even I didn’t think he was this stupid.

              1. Meeting with officials sounds pretty weak. We’d be fools not to have channels open to opposition parties in any country. Not classifying a party that just won elections as terrorist also strikes me as having sound diplomatic reasons. The last one, were these arms something specially sent to the MB administration or part of our regular goody hand outs?

              2. I suspect it’s less a positive view (or even understanding) of what the Muslim Brotherhood does than his unwillingness to engage any leaders who seemed even somewhat tied to his predecessor. Obama blames Bush for everything…therefore, in order to separate himself from Bush, he must not suppurt anyone who interacted with Bush in a positive fashion.

                And yes, he is that stupid.

              3. Obama always appears to bdk the more radical of any two opposed groups in any ME diplomatic situation, doesn’t he?

          2. “The Middle East is worse now than it was 5 years ago.”

            For who?

            1. For everyone living in Yemen, everyone living in Libya, everyone living in Syria, everyone living in Iraq.

              It’s worse for the Kurds, worse for the Christians, worse for the Alawites and worse for most Muslims.

              Are you really this stupid? You realize there are multiple ongoing civil wars in the Middle East which started in the last five years right? You are aware that these things have occurred?

              Jesus, Bo. I knew you were a dumbass concern troll, but you’re really off your game. Anyone who doesn’t think the multiple recent civil wars that have erupted in the region have made the Middle East worse off is either not paying attention or is lying.

              1. C’mon the Yezidis are having a grand time!

              2. “Are you really this stupid? You realize there are multiple ongoing civil wars in the Middle East which started in the last five years right?”

                It’s be hard to point to a period in the past few decades where there were not serious conflicts raging in the ME Irish.

                1. Obama had his hands in a lot of things that went south on his watch. Many mentioned above. Are you jut trying to be deliberately obtuse and knowingly apply false equivalency in your statement? Or are your analytical skills that weak?

              3. Bo kind of lost all credibility when she argued that libertarians should prefer carpet bombing cities to sending ground troops to capture them. The fact that both were heinous didn’t really sway her. The arguments that ground troops are better than iron bombs at discriminating between friend and foe and combatant and non-combatant was just crypto-neocon talking point to her, and she dismissed out of hand the idea that troops can even help protect people from bandits, looters and rape gangs.

                She would benefit from talking to people who have seen first hand the cost to civilians caused by various forms of war and not just mindlessly parroting Air Force propaganda.

      3. You’ll get no argument from me on that front, but I’m not entirely convinced it would have mattered. Washington tipped the balance in those uprisings, but it isn’t obvious to me that ISIS wouldn’t have emerged anyway. All they needed was some uncontrolled territory. Do you really think Assad would have reestablished control over all of Syria in time to stop the rise of ISIS had the U.S. just walked away from that conflict? There is no way of knowing, of course, but I don’t think you can pin all of this on U.S. support for the Arab Spring (and its subsequent failure).

    3. it would be fine if Obama was man enough to stand up and say we don’t want a part of this, instead he is taking the more dangerous route of sending in to few troops and a to few airplanes just enough to either escalate the situation, extend the length of the fight and/or get those to few troops killed. either go all in or stay all out.

      1. Hey, man…you just can’t see the 5D Vulcan Chess the Lightworker is playing here..

    4. Sympathetic?!? Keerist in a bucket, that’s some derp fantasy there.

      The US has no business in the mideast. It’s been obvious for hundreds of years that it’s a fucked up area, nothing good can come of meddling there. The only proper solution is to just get out and leave them alone.

    5. Not My Circus, Not My monkees.

      There ya go, a perfectly coherent middle east strategy.

      1. I’d say it’s the only coherent strategy. Unfortunately it’s also one that Washington has seemingly been incapable of adopting for, what, half a century?

        Even if President 100%True Libertarian was in office and tried to completely disentangle the U.S. from the Middle East, Congress would probably still pass budgets directing money and hardware to various “allies”.

    6. “I’m actually a little sympathetic to the administration on this one. ”

      I’m not sympathetic, but as the article points out, whether you’re only feigning insanity and incompetence, or it’s the real thing, the local guys start looking to themselves to deal with local problems.

      Maybe the best call is to let them fight it out until their natural borders emerge based on local power and allegiences.

      Our main intervention should be supplying regimes worthy of support with weapons, like Israelis and the Kurds, so that they can deter attacks.



    1. PB, doesn’t it ever get…tiring?

      1. He’s right. Even on H&R I’ve seen the right wing trope about Obama that he’s ‘too weak’ on foreign policy. ‘Too weak’ is rarely joined with ‘needs less intervention!’

        1. ‘Too weak’ is rarely joined with ‘needs less intervention!’

          Odd. I think many would consider Reagan “strong” on foreign policy. And yet his 8 year tenure in the White House involved considerably less intervention than Obama’s tenure has.

          Weak and Strong isn’t about use of force exclusively, though that is indeed a component. Strength is shown in strength of will, in being unafraid to speak in certain terms about the nature of your enemy, in being unwilling to make concessions on important negoatiations. Obama’s weakness is betrayed by his complete lack of an overarching strategy, his inability to properly label his foe (“violent extremism” instead of a particularly virulent strain of Islamist jihadism), and his failure to achieve diplomatic concessions on those international agreements his administration is negotiating on like Iran.

          1. being unafraid to speak in certain terms about the nature of your enemy,

            Yeah. Because the fake cowboy calling out the “axis of evil” really shook them up.

            1. And Plugs with the BOOOOSH non sequitur!

              Because we were discussing Reagan v Obama, naturally Plugs has to start waving his BOOOOSH around.

              1. Plugs has to start waving his BOOOOSH around.

                Gah! My eyes!

              2. We were discussing tough cowboy talk.

                Reagan tucked tail and ran from the Middle East when 241 US Marines were killed in a terrorist attack.

                Tell me who the fucking Chamberlain analogy works for in regard to the Islamo-fascists?

                1. Reagan tucked tail and ran from the Middle East when 241 US Marines were killed in a terrorist attack.

                  Reagan declined to use the murder of 241 Marines as a reason to get dragged into Lebanon’s civil war, backing a government whose motives were unclear; a decision that proved correct in retrospect, since Hezbollah wasn’t a military threat to us anywhere except Lebanon (and Lebanon wasn’t of strategic importance to us).

                  It’s called a cost-benefit analysis followed by a prudent command decision…it’s something Obama might understand if he’d actually gotten any kind of education from the Ivy League.

                  1. However, UBL himself has said that the Americans were prone to cut-and-run because of the Marine barracks bombing.

                    1. How’s that going for him now?

            2. It did. After the Iraq invasion, Kaddaffi willingly gave up his nucler ambitions because he didn’t want to be next. The Iranian people were emboldened enough that Iran was headed toward a new revolution in both 2005 and 2009. So yes, it definitely got their attention.

          2. Obama inherited some of this. Compared to Carter Reagan could be said to have been significantly more interventionist. Part of what made him seem ‘tough’ was his ordering military action in Grenada and Libya for example.

            1. Every President inherits the world on his inauguration day.

              The test is how they deal with the world as it is.

              Bush, you might have noticed, inherited a broken national security apparat, and a fistful of Islamist nutters getting ready to crash some planes.

              1. Haha, that’s one way of saying we suffered a major attack on his watch.

                Just up thread you tease PB for BUUUSH and here you pull a CLIIINTOON!

                1. Fuck that, If we hadnt been taken off the gold standard and forced into central banking there wouldnt be the hell hole in the middle east. the owners of the central bank cartel have toppled secular regimes time and time again. what do you think Libya was about? 3 words
                  Gold Backed Dinars
                  Afghanistan? Opium Poppies

                  I think the fear is that the ME settles down and they cant exert control over the vast resource wealth so they keep stirring the pot just to keep it unstable and this has been the policy since the early 1900s
                  if you remember most of the middle east had started to engage in trade and commerce with the western world before the fucking British imperialists decided their borders should look a certain way then left them to duke it out

                2. We did. After 8 years of atrophy, our intelligence apparatus was not up to par. Bush he been in office 7 months at the time of the attack. I put most of this on Clinton. You won’t, because you’re a blind fanatic.

      2. Again, this is Weigel’s job. It’s what he’s paid to do.

  7. We should give only the finest silks, the most supple of warm oils; the most fragrant and intoxicating perfumes, sparkling Jewels and Baubles of the West and East to our Sufi sisters.

    Sunnis and Shias can go fuck theyselves.

    1. Sufism is merely a mystical orientation toward Islamic spirituality which can be found in both Sunni and Shiite flavors. Furthermore, there is nothing inherently peaceful about Sufism. The vast majority of the Ottoman elite Janissaries infantry were members of the Betashki Sufi Order. Similarly, currently in Syira, there is an insurgent group made up of Naqshbandis.

      The Ahmadiyya on the other hand….

      1. Hawt college chicks seem to go through a Sufi phase.

        And – thanks for the interesting links, HM.

        1. Anytime, my man. The trick is to get them during their Wiccan phase, because “skyclad”.

          1. I like to refer to skyclad as “airing out the hoohah.” Witch(sic and I know it) should be done on a regular basis.

      2. The Naqshbandis are Ba’athist-Sufi Muslims, formed after Saddam was extricated from his spiderhole.

        (Just talking to myself).

        1. The Naqshbandi Army is. The Naqshbandi Order is a major school of Sufism that was founded in Uzbekistan and, having been founded in the very center of the Silk Road, was spread throughout it.

  8. Funny it has taken them 6 years to figure out how completely incompetent this Administration and everyone in it really is. Watching a State Department press brief these days is like a bad acid trip.

    1. It’s almost like they started a war against the wrong country!

      1. Iraq, Libya, or Syria?

      2. Agreed, it’s incredible to see people argue that of recent administrations the current one is the worst on libertarian grounds in this area. You can’t get more naively idealistic and big intervention more than remaking the Middle East by invading Iraq and nation building a liberal democracy there.

        1. To the commentariat here Iraq = Libya. EXACTLY THE SAME.

          Lobbing a Tomahawk in for a few million with no troops = $2 trillion nation-building war.

          The SAME! Don’t you see?

          1. How about Afghanistan, shitstain? Nah, the left just pretends that didn’t/isn’t happening.

            1. Obama wasted a lot of money in Afghanistan. A couple of hundred billion maybe.

              But he had the gonads to campaign on it as the “right war” in 2008 unlike saying he would never ever nation-build like his dopey predecessor.

              And he was running against Mr War Boner himself.

              1. He had the balls to campaign on escalation in Afghanistan? What political risk was he taking there with sycophantic scum like you voting for him?

                It’s doing it while Obama the man quite clearly:
                1. Didn’t believe his own bullshit.
                2. Didn’t believe American could win.

                Obama merely parroted the talking point used by Dems from 2003-2004 on about Iraq being the wrong war. He did it to avoid looking like a soft Democrat. He 100% put his political fortunes above the lives of thousands of American soldiers. So fuck you, shitstain. Only a complete piece of garbage could in any way ‘praise’ that behavior or claim that as some sort of courage.

          2. Libya is actually in worse shape now than Iraq is. I’d rather live in the portions of Iraq not controlled by ISIS (which is most of the country) than just about anywhere in Libya.

            The outcome of the Libyan intervention was as bad as the outcome of the Iraq intervention, the Libyan catastrophe just manifested more quickly. I hardly think Libyans dying miserably in the anarchic chaos that is their country think the Libya intervention was less of a big deal than Iraq.

            1. Both were humanitarian disasters for the populations of the nations and surrounding region, but In terms of the cost to the US in lives and treasure they’re not comparable.

              1. Obama isn’t just responsible for Libya. The mess in Iraq is partly on him and his own policy choices made for political rather than military reasons. The surge in Afghanistan. Intervention elsewhere and the drone war.

                When it’s all told, the cost won’t be much different from Bush’s – especially when you add up any future involvement that will likely result from the unstable hellholes Obama HELPED to create.

                Meanwhile, you talk about diplomatic ‘blowback’ from Iraq. Quick – name an ally we lost for our invasion there? Name one in the Middle East. Now take a look at the article above.

                The Saudis may not give people warm and fuzzies, but we are close to losing them and the rest of the Arab world. You think they’re crazy now? Remove the incentive (military and financial support) they had to listen to American in the first place as Obama has done.

                I could honestly care less what the Arabs think or do as long as they stay in their own shithole countries and do it. But Obama has offended our allies on a deeper level than Bush actually did. Political posturing aside.

                1. “The mess in Iraq is partly on him and his own policy choices made for political rather than military reasons.”

                  Elaborate? Because I’m doubting the answer is going to involve Obama’s failure to intervene less…

                  By diplomatic blowback I mean, who would be ready to ally with us in a major action if we needed it? Iraq caused that…

                  1. Who would be ready to ally with us? What the hell does that even mean? Despite Iraq, NATO countries continued to participate in Afghanistan and in anti-terror operations while sharing intelligence.

                    Compare that to now when the entire Middle East really does hate us. Even the tyrants we prop up.

                    As for Iraq – I’ve argued the same position on here in the past. You can make whatever argument you want about the initial intervention. That is a separate issue on when you cut and run. And despite the claims to the contrary, 10k American troops are a fairly strong deterrent against shitbags like ISIS. If 10k Americans would have been in Iraq, you would have seen Obama forced to act a lot sooner than 6-8 months after ISIS took Fallujah.

                    Libertarian foreign policy doesn’t mean you get to argue that it’s ok to fuck a country up as long as it isn’t as costly to your side. Especially while you espouse moral rhetoric on establishing democracy and freedom. Shit that Obama has continued from Bush.

                    1. NATO contributions have been dropping and harder to come by. Invading Iraq, finding no WMD and the following mess/blowback has dad the most significant diplomatic impacts on us since Vietnam.

                      “Libertarian foreign policy doesn’t mean you get to argue that it’s ok to fuck a country up as long as it isn’t as costly to your side.”

                      The only purely libertarian metric there would be the number of and level of intervention. Other concerns might be important, but not libertarian ones.

                    2. Where have NATO contributions been dropping? Afghanistan after 10+ years? Yea, that’s because of Iraq, alright, Bo. You did nothing but repeat yourself without providing any specifics. I just got more specific than you and it’s not even my argument. Where were the actual repercussions with allies over Iraq, Bo? Name them. An actual concrete event that can be discussed.

                      And I wonder who made YOU the arbitrator of libertarianism. Sure as fuck not me. Libertarian foreign policy is not grounded in just non-intervenionalism.

                      But beyond that, we were already in Iraq. If you haven’t noticed, we are once again, despite Obama’s hopes, back in Iraq. If leaving 10k troops could have deterred the deterioration that occurred, guess what? That is perfectly in line with ‘libertarian’ foreign policy ethics. We already fucked the place up and had troops in. Pulling out did nothing but allow Obama to ignore the escalating mess with ISIS until it had already ballooned. So we ended up with the worst possible situation. And it was fairly predictable that violence would escalate in Iraq. Obama painted himself into a corner on Iraq and it was again for political reasons. One of the few campaign promises he was determined to keep.

                      Meanwhile, you’ve ignored Obama’s escalation and bungling/intervention elsewhere. Particularly Afghanistan.

                    3. More than that, Bo, you have NO ground to claim your views are in anyway ethical or even consistent. You sure as fuck are not laying out any sort of pure libertarian ideological position because you are already splitting hairs over things like bombing campaigns and ground troops. Meanwhile, you ignore the fact that Obama HAS escalated a ground war in Afghanistan that has resulted in a waste of hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of American lives. Very similar to Iraq. In fact, Obama even called it a surge…like Iraq.

                  1. +1…. what?

            2. Libyans actually took out Qaddafi. There was no US occupation and festering resentment caused by over a million US troops (at various times).

              Not to mention the costs.

              1. And now you have anarchy, multiple groups claiming to be the legitimate government, and a safe haven for Islamic whack jobs. Hurray…

                Now how about you talk about Afghanistan?

              2. And, it wasn’t like Libya went from peace to anarchy because of our intervention. They were in the midst of a full blown civil war when we did (foolishly IMO) so.

          3. To the commentariat here Iraq = Libya. EXACTLY THE SAME.

            Both were wars against foreign governments, yes. Both succeeded in overthrowing those governments. If anything, Libya is an argument against the “punitive expedition” model that libertarians are more likely to agree with, as opposed to the “nation building” model.

            They differ in detail, no question, as every war does from every other war.

            Hard to say that the results in Iraq (well, until Obama applied his magic foreign affairs touch, anyway) weren’t vastly superior to the results in Libya. Cost more? No question. Better results? Again, no question. Results worth the cost? That’s about the only interesting discussion to be had.

            1. Better results? Iraq is a basket case despite us sinking significantly much more US money into it (as well as thousands of US lives).

            2. If anything, Libya is an argument against the “punitive expedition” model that libertarians are more likely to agree with, as opposed to the “nation building” model.

              Why? It wasn’t a punitive expedition; what did Khadafi do that warranted a punitive expedition? He had surrendered to Bush and was the poster-boy for reformed evil dictators.

              The idea behind a punitive expedition is that it deters future bad actors from doing whatever it was that triggered the expedition in the first place. What was Obama trying to deter people from doing?

              What Obama was doing was engaging in nation building; It was Iraq without the ground troops. When a toddler builds an unstable structure out of blocks, adding levels until it collapses, it’s still building – even it if is an amateurish thing compared to a home builder hammering together a soundly framed structure.

              1. Yeah, Iraq was one solidly built structure all right!

                1. I don’t think tarran was claiming anything positive about Iraq.

                  1. I don’t think tarran was claiming anything positive about Iraq.

                    I don’t have any kind words for the occupation of Iraq.

                    Obama’s Libyan adventure was even stupider than Bush’s. The criteria that it affected regime change with fewer American casualties and less expenditure is like Lucy poncing into the room to tell Ricky that the $500 gown she just bought was awesome purchase because it was on sale. Never mind she didn’t really need the gown, and never mind the gown cost more than a month’s salary. It was on sale!!!!

              2. It was also Obama’s attempt to curry favor with Europe and build on his positive image there. At that point, Europe still saw him as some kind of visionary genius and he didn’t want to piss them off by telling them no when they wanted us to bomb Libya.

                Ironically, the hash Obama made of Libya is what finally convinced his former European fans that he was a complete incompetent (although most of the leadership already realized this).

                1. There were three choices, broadly speaking, in the Arab Spring.

                  1) Support the popular uprising, and accept the theocracies that would take over.

                  2) Support the Arab socialist strongmen and assist them in repressing the popular uprising

                  3) Adopt a neutral position (we’ll work with whomever is on top).

                  My sense was that every day, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton opened the newspaper and read what people were bitching about that day, and adopted as their policy whichever of the three was popular at that moment.

                  They didn’t have a vision to guide their actions; they didn’t have the courage to stay out of the mess in the absence of vision; so they made an utter hash of things.

                  There really are arguments that can be made for any one of those options (I really favor 3 because i believe it to be the best course over the long run). However, even the worst of those options, followed consistently, is better than the outcome of indecisively switching course on a daily or weekly basis.

                  1. 4) undermine the shitstain in power, and back a reasonable replacement that would be friendly to US and hopefully better for their own people

                    Obama was good at first first clause, but AWOL on the 2nd

                    1. 4) undermine the shitstain in power, and back a reasonable replacement that would be friendly to US and hopefully better for their own people

                      Oh yes, that’s the option that has Jesus riding in on a dinosaur to give out presents. I forgot about that one.

              3. ” It wasn’t a punitive expedition; what did Khadafi do that warranted a punitive expedition? ”

                Well actually it was.

                Khadafi was opening banks to facilitate the unleashing of oil sales with the US dollar.

                That is why he had to be taken out. It had nothing to do with terrorism as he had already given up his terror programs after he watched what Bush did to Saddam.

                The marketing campaigns of war are seldom the same as the reasons for war.

          4. If anything, Libya was worse. In Iraq, they at least had the excuse that there was no recent example that showed toppling a middle east dictator would send the country into the hands of Islamist crazies. They also at least tried to stop that from happening. In Libya, they had no such excuse and did it anyway. And then ignored the place while it descended into chaos.

            1. Worse for who?

              Not Iraq, Libya, or the USA.

              Start counting.

            2. That ‘trying’ part ended up, predictably, in wasting billions of our dollars and thousand of our troops lives.

          5. Or the precedent of giving up nukes makes a country vulnerable to US led intervention. Khaddafi was a danger to nobody in 2010 he wasn’t a danger to in 2004.

            1. Khaddafi was a danger to everyone without the ability to feed themselves from their own land.

              He had opened one bank and had another online with the express purpose to uncouple oil sales to the US Dollar.


        2. Thinking you can reshape the region through air power/drone strikes, though? Obama tried to do the same thing, he just didn’t commit ground troops. The end result in the region is even worse.

          The only good thing you can say for Obama’s foreign policy is that fewer Americans died creating this mess than under Bush. That’s it.

          1. Lot less spent too. And I’d argue Iraq’s diplomatic blowback was worse.

            1. You keep making the same dumb fuck comments. “Bu..Bu..Bu.. Boooosh! Iraq was worse, blah, blah, blah.

              Yes Bush is a dumbass, Iraq was stupid, we should have never been there.

              Are you fucking happy now? Just because a previous dumb ass president put us in dumb ass positions, that does not excuse the current dumb ass in office from doing the same dumb assery.

              All of it is wrong and Libya for the Libyans is just as bad as for the Iraqis. Syria is way worse than Iraq ever was as last I heard over 200,000 Syrians were dead and that was when the news decided it wasn’t a fresh enough story and stopped reporting it, round a year or so ago. So there’s probably about 300,000 Syrians dead.

              Stop sucking Obama’s dick. Take your team bullshit somewhere else.

              1. Bo is the only libertarian here. He believes that if you don’t condemn Bush and Republicans for every decision that Obama makes then you are a member of TEAM RED. In his eyes there are no worse people in the history of our country than Republicans and if every post you make doesn’t start out by bashing Bush or Republicans then again, you are TEAM RED. Obama does some bad things but NOTHING COMPARES TO THE EVIL OF BOOOOOOOOOOSH.

                Of course the truth is that he has finally been outed as a proggy troll and the only people he agrees with are PB, AmSoc and Tony. He has so thoroughly discredited himself now that even those who have given him the benefit of the doubt now smack him around every time he posts his inane bullshit.

        3. I dunno. Sure, the Iraq war was not something a libertarian country would do.

          On the other hand, libertarian countries don’t fight wars on the say-so of their President, don’t engage in warfighting in countries without a declaration of war, etc. The scope of the Iraq war was out of bounds, but at least it was entered into with Congress’s approval. The precedents being set by the current administration lay the groundwork for much worse.

      3. Or escalated a war in a country where they themselves didn’t think victory was possible for purely political reasons!

        The Iraq card doesn’t get old. Neither does the Afghan one. Our president used the same strategy he condemned as a failure in Iraq in Afghanistan, and one of his own former cabinet members is on the record as reporting that Obama stated he didn’t think we could win there. But Obama sent more troops, anyway.

        What is worse – a believe in American exceptionalism like Bush launching a completely misconceived war, or escalating a war you view as futile solely to further your own political ambitions?

      4. They did. And they promised to turn that country, Libya, into a success like their other darling drone operation theatre, Yemen.

        Well, Libya turned into Yemen alright.

    2. Who farted?

      1. I don’t smell anything. Irish must have inhaled all of the gas.

  9. The other approach is to act so nuts and untrustworthy that allies sense an implosion of crazy and reluctantly take on new responsibilities

    I don’t want to seem to be defending these fuckers but . . .

    Isn’t that basically how the Middle East *works*.

  10. So now it’s OK if they gang up as long as they promise not to gang up on Israel?

    1. Israel is a big boy, too. They can take care of themselves.

      1. Ah, so you’re one of those anti-semites.

        1. We call it “The Eisenhower Strategy”. If it was good enough for Ike…

          1. You know who wasn’t good enough for Ike?

            1. Tina?

              1. Thread officially over.

                1. Patton?
                  *unofficial reopening of thread

                  1. Shell-shocked troops?

                    1. I think that was Patton.

    2. To be fair, Israel isn’t trying to overthrow those governments and replace them with a Caliphate (or Jewiphate, I guess, if Israel was trying to do it).

      1. Rabbinate.

        1. *Technically* they call it a ‘Jewfro’

        2. What’s up, doc?

          1. Duck season.

              1. I’m a very bad old man.

      2. We don’t actually know that, RC. OK, we’re pretty sure they’re not trying to setup a Caliphate, but they did fuck over Lebanon real good and Lebanon was the best hope for an actual Arab Spring.

        1. The Israelis arw the bad guys in Lebanon? I though Hizbullah were bith the cause of the Israeli intervention and the fist that smashed the liberalization by assassinating several pro-West politicians. Am I remembering this wrong?

          1. Hezbollah was created in response to an Israeli invasion to suppress PLO elements in Lebanon.

            1. Even when it’s not the Jews’ fault, it’s still the Jews’ fault because of some related thing they did 30 years prior. Oy vey!

            2. Who created Hezbollah ?

      3. My point was that we stuck our beaks in decades ago because we were afraid the Muslim countries would gang up on Israel. We may say it’s OK for them to gang up now, but we’ll change our minds yet again if they succeed in stopping ISIS and then decide “Hey, this worked out so good against ISIS, why not support our Palestinian brothers?”

        1. ISIS doesn’t have Merkava tanks, F-15s or nukes…

          1. Obama is not done yet donating to their cause…

  11. don’t worry Obama’s policies are so goofy that he will probably send troops into Iran to back up the Iranian government.

    1. And when those troops are killed by our own bombs, the cycle of perfect craziness will be complete!

      1. No, we finally get to overthrow him. I’ll have torches be pitchforks on sale cheap.

  12. I wouldn’t describe a Sunni jihad against a Shia rump state as “cleaning up a mess,” but whatever.

    1. But how can it be a jihad? I have it on excellent authority that ISIS is not Islamic.

      1. A Sunni kinetic military action?

        A Sunni ongoing workplace violence incident?

        A Sunni disposition matrix?

      2. The Houthi aren’t part of ISIS, which is part of the irony, isn’t it? A Shia coup d’etat will get the dander of the sultans, sheiks, and emirs of the Gulf up…but Jordan seems to be the only one throwing lead toward ISIS’s way.

  13. There are heinous wars going on all over the world with terrible massacres.

    Interestingly, they are out of sight and out of mind for Americans.

    For some reason those wars never spill over and injure Americans who are outside the battlegrounds.

    Yet, if those wars came into the awareness of Americans, if Americans were confronted with those atrocities, there would be hue and a cry for us to swoop in and stop the mess. We’d fail, the mess would continue, and the result would merely be that the parties decided Americans were fair game in the conflict.

    1. True. As evidenced by:

      Former President Bill Clinton has called Rwanda one of his greatest regrets during his presidency, admitting that had the U.S. and the world intervened earlier, some 300,000 people might have been saved.

      “I do feel a lifetime responsibility,” he told ABC in 2008. “I feel like a lot of people ? had something to do with it.”



    1. Whoa, I heard that in a boxing ring announcer voice.

      1. That’d make a good ring tone…

    2. Passed the fine line between obsession and drooling lunacy, have we young lady?


        1. Oh, sorry.


          1. SHUT UP YOU GIRL, YOU’RE SUCH A GIRL. GIRL GIRL GIRL. Sexist? No way.

            1. I know you are but what am I?

            2. The sexist thing is quite funny. To note hypocrisy it might be nice to know what the beliefs are of the person who you think has compromised, but the Offended White Guy Brigade knows feminism only via their hate filled caricatures.

              1. Seriously, get help for the Asperger’s. They’re really making some amazing progress with treatment.

    3. Didn’t anyone tell him the results of the election?

  15. I’m not entirely sure we DIDN”T plan it out ourselves. No matter what else bad you have to say about them, the politically elite in DC are quite literally the most conniving, manipulative SOBs on the planet.

  16. Unreliable does not equal crazy… That was an odd word to use repeatedly as it may well make many readers question the writer’s mental stability.

    And lets hope that this regional power rivalry does not spiral out of control as our presence would normally prevent. I would not be nearly so fast to say ‘look everything is fine’ when we pull back if you want to avoid looking like a fool in a year or two’s time.

  17. The BO-PLUG has finally merged

    1. Singularity?

      1. Smells that way.


      1. Is that like Miller Time? Because Miller beer sucks.

      2. Warty,
        You’ll have noticed people engaging turd and Bo here, I guess hoping that one or the other has become something other than turd or Bo.
        I make the prediction that it is not true; turd will “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!” and Bo will, well, Bo.

        1. It seems that way. Like herpes, we’re stuck with them.

          1. Stuck? You couldn’t be more obsessed and ecstatic to see me.

        2. Oops. My mistake.
          I did not bother to read the entire thread prior to making the prediction and now I see that both flaming assholes have already done so.

    3. The fear of so-cons was too strong to keep them apart.

  18. We didn’t start the fire

  19. Now obama will have to deploy US ground troops to protect his new friends, the Iranians.

    1. But Cytotoxic will have to find some new porn until then.

  20. This needs to happen all over the world. Perhaps neocon foreign policy is serving a valuable purpose after all, albeit not the one that they intended?

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