18 augustus 2005

Nice strategy (The Flemish Beerdrinker)

Here is Robert Pape, the man who wants to show that the occupation of Iraq leads to more suicide terrorism:

In the 1970s and the 1980s, the United States secured its interest in oil without stationing a single combat soldier on the Arabian Peninsula. Instead, we formed an alliance with Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which we can now do again. We relied on numerous aircraft carriers off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and naval air power now is more effective not less. We also built numerous military bases so that we could move large numbers of ground forces to the region quickly if a crisis emerged. That strategy, called “offshore balancing,” worked splendidly against Saddam Hussein in 1990 and is again our best strategy to secure our interest in oil while preventing the rise of more suicide terrorists.

I have a big problem with this. Not so much with his theory but with his political conclusions. According to Pape if we go back to our old imperialist habits - cozying up with vile regimes as that of the Saudi’s - so that we can buy our oil on the cheap, everything will be fine. Supporting Saddam and supplying him with chemical weapons so that he can keep Iran in check is ok for Pape, but overthrowing his regime is not, because that could lead to terrorism. "Offshore balancing" kept Saddam in power for over two decades (it did not really work against him, for a time it lead the U.S. to support Saddam, it was the intervention and occupation that did him in) and it still keeps the Saudi’s in power. And it was the prime motivation for Al-Qaeda against America. The U.S. was considered to be weak, unprepared to offer a single combat soldier to keep safe it’s oil interests. So let’s attack it, it would not dare to come to us. Pape’s strategy maybe will lead to less suicide terrorists, but it will not diminish the hatred against the United States. And it would do nothing to give a schredd of chance for a democratic Middle-East. Nice strategy.

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