by William Skink
As Don bids Montana adieu for an extended period of traveling, other intelligently discontented writers will pick up the slack at Intelligent Discontent. One of those writers, The Polish Wolf, is already penning such intelligent missives, like this post about how killing the Iran deal sets us up for a quagmire, nuclear Iran, or both.
The Polish Wolf exemplifies American ignorance when it comes to foreign policy. In the comments, Steve Kelley ponders a concept that is hard to fathom for many: that our policy in Iraq and Afghanistan is producing the desired results:
Perpetual war is our mission. Please at lease consider that the “mission” was accomplished, and conditions are precisely as predicted. I’m not buying the “miscalculation” or “incompetence” argument. Plans to divide-and-conquer the ME have been written and followed faithfully since at least the 1982 Yinon Plan.
The Polish Wolf just can’t seem to wrap his brain around this notion:
While I agree that a prosperous and democratic Iraq (as advertised) was not the likely goal of the planners of the Iraq war, I find it hard to imagine that the present situation was the plan, either. If the main goal by the US had been simply to destabilize the Baathist regime in Iraq and thus split up the country, that could have been accompished easily and relatively cheaply from the air – indeed, it was nearly accomplished inadvertantly in 1998. I can’t see the geopolitical logic in intensifying (immensely) the influence of Iran in Iraq and ruining our relationship with Pakistan, especially because both moves increase the influence of our greatest actual rivals in the region, China and Russia.
I sympathize with the difficulty of understanding America’s foreign policy. But here is a good place to start: American foreign policy never concerns itself with human rights and democracy. There was no “humanitarian intervention” in Libya, nor a legitimate populist revolt in Ukraine, but don’t tell that to The Polish Wolf.
The only geopolitical logic is attaining domination and control, and where that isn’t possible, chaos is preferable to the stability of non-aligned nations.
If American foreign policy was truly concerned with human rights, we wouldn’t be providing Saudi Arabia cover to do what it’s doing to Yemen, where the war is now stalled and widespread famine is likely.
But it’s Ukraine where The Polish Wolf was most spectacularly wrong when he claimed in April of 2014 that The American Left has Failed on Ukraine. Here is a part of that alleged failure:
Perhaps the biggest failing of Leftist analysis, though, is the consistent belief that somehow this is related to NATO’s eastward expansion, or that a reasonable solution can include preventing Ukraine from ever joining NATO. If one knows the history, this is absolute hogwash. Note that Russian intervention in neighboring countries has been a constant fact since the Napoleonic wars – and NATO membership has shown to be the strongest preventive measure of that outcome. Georgia has been invaded; Turkey has not. Ukraine has been invaded; Estonia, almost incalculably weaker, has not.
The Polish Wolf hasn’t addressed the situation in Ukraine since that post, but that doesn’t mean the situation isn’t continuing to worsen. The coup government in Kiev has used the ceasefire to prepare for a full-scale offensive against Ukraine’s Eastern population:
At an August 22 military ceremony in Chuguev, near Donbass, illegitimate oligarch president Petro Poroshenko boasted about using Minsk II to rearm and increase Ukraine’s military ranks to much greater size than last year – despite a bankrupt economy near collapse, using borrowed funds desperately needed for vital services going begging. More on this below.
Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) military spokesman Eduard Basurin said Kiev’s armed forces in Southeastern Ukraine total 90,000. Their weapons include 450 tanks, 203 salvo artillery units, and five Tochka-U missile systems.
“A total of five separate mechanized brigades, two separate tanks brigades, and air mobile brigade, an artillery brigade, and a salvo system brigade have been deployed…to Mariupol,” he explained.
“All in all, this grouping has 22,500 men and officers, more than 130 tanks, more than 560 armored cars, fifty-five salvo artillery units, about 200 artillery guns and mortars, and about 720 antitank weapons.”
DPR’s Defense Ministry intelligence shows heavy troop and weapons concentrations deployed near Donetsk. More military force was sent to the Debatsevo sector and near Lugansk. Reserves back up front line strength.
Basurin said Kiev plans escalated war on Donbass. “Information has been received about the plan of forthcoming actions by the Ukrainian army from a source in the Ukrainian General Staff and, no matter how strange this may seem, there are still true officers there who do not want to fight against their own people,” he explained.
When will this madness end?
The Great Game II just got a lot more interesting and dangerous.
“A profound and significant change has just occurred in the Levant – the Russian army has begun to engage against terrorism in Syria. Although Russia has been absent from the international scene since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and although it is moving with care, it has just created a Russo-Syrian Commission, has begun supplying weapons, sharing intelligence, and sending advisors. All of this is more or less coordinated with the White House.” – Thierry Meyssan http://www.voltairenet.org/en
The Polish Wolf’s post was basically support for the Iran nuclear deal. Do you believe this is bad policy?
I don’t accept the premise that it’s this deal or war. I think accepting that premise is incredibly dangerous.
Second what Pete said, but also: strawman much? I say : “a prosperous and democratic Iraq (as advertised) was not the likely goal of the planners of the Iraq war”, you say “American foreign policy never concerns itself with human rights and democracy.” No one is claiming the goal was to spread Democracy or human rights to Iraq. But was the goal to hand half the country to Iran? That’s nonsensical. As I said (and you chose not to quote): ” I imagine they imagined handing power to an ‘elected’ leader in the mold of Mubarak – but the American military proved unable to pull it off.” (scare quotes in the original).
As to Ukraine, I’m not going to try to convince you of anything. I’m not taking reports from either side as evidence – I know what I’ve seen there, and I’ve taken my opinion from my personal interractions with Ukrainians. Your preferred news sources and worldview will never conform with mine – and that’s fine.
your worldview is of a bumbling America trying it’s darn hardest to be a good global cop, but like keystone cops, they keep screwing it up. whoops, destroyed Iraq. whoops, destroyed Libya. whoops, provoked a civil war in Ukraine. whoops, funded jihadists across the ME.
meanwhile, my “preferred news sources” have a much better track record than you do in assessing what’s going on, and predicting the likely blowback, so I think I’ll keep reading them.
So you think that we intentionally sent hundreds of thousands of soldiers to Iraq to…not control the situation? Also, how is invading a country and installing a Mubarak-like dictator ‘being the good cop’? Trust me, you’ll not find me ever arguing that George Bush had good intentions in invading Iraq. As to Ukraine – you’ll continue to rely on your great sources that insisted Russia had not invaded Crimea – right up until Putin admitted to invading Crimea?
Apologies if this is a repeat comment, the original seems lost in the ether.
I would repeat Pete’s question: is there anything in the original post you disagree with from a policy perspective? And then I would add a question: given our real, honest to God disagreements, why lean on a strawman? I say : “a prosperous and democratic Iraq (as advertised) was not the likely goal of the planners of the Iraq war”, and you respond “American foreign policy never concerns itself with human rights and democracy.”, as though I had just said the opposite of what I in fact said! Indeed, if you looked a bit further down in the comments, you would see: ” I imagine they imagined handing power to an ‘elected’ leader in the mold of Mubarak – but the American military proved unable to pull it off.” – scare quotes in the original. So our disagreement is not about whether America sought to bring Democracy to Iraq – that’s just the strawman you’ve so gleefully attacked.
But what then is our disagreement about? Whether the invasion of Iraq had the desired effect. If the desired effect was chaos and more Iranian influence, do our actions line up to such a goal? Not in the least! Why send in a hundred thousand soldiers and station them there for years if all you want to do is create chaos? Why not just bombard the country from the air until the government collapses? All of our actions during the war suggest a goal of taking effective control of the territory and installing a friendly government, not the creation of mere chaos.
As to Ukraine, I’m done responding. You continue to cite counterpunch, which continues to claim that Russia is standing up for an end to neoliberalism (despite having a higher gini than the US and having a greater gap between income and human development than any other country) and openly claimed that Ukraine before Poroshenko was better off than those poor neo-liberal EU-colonized Bulgarians (even though Bulgaria, starting from a much lower baseline, has already passed Ukraine in HDI and doubled them in per capita GDP). If that’s still your source, it’s never going to align with my experience in Ukraine and with Ukrainians – so there’s no sense in disputing your claims.
American Foreign Policy=Controlled Chaos.
All right Liz, was it you or JC who put Hunter Biden on the Ashley Madison e-mail list?
“Someone using the name of Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden had a profile on the Ashley Madison dating website for extramarital affairs, Breitbart News has learned.
Hunter Biden tells Breitbart News that the account is not his, but rather was created by one of America’s enemies to discredit him. He thinks it could have been due to his sitting on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, which outraged supporters of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime.”-Breitbart.
Stop and think – someone with that high a profile would be a fool to use his real name. He’s probably telling the truth.