Endless Curiosity

February 14, 2009

Acting Against their Interests: our Nation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alec @ 6:03 am

Well, the invasion of Iraq is an obvious example, but I don’t even want to go there. So let’s look at Afghanistan instead. Of what interest is Afghanistan to us? It has nothing we want. Sure, it harbored Bin Laden but that was 8 years ago and we weren’t paying attention. President Bush was told in his Daily Brief on August 6, 2001 that Bin Laden was determined to strike in the U.S. And the FBI was warned about Arabs who were learning to fly commercial jets but were not interested in learning how to land them. But that was then.

I’m sure we are paying much greater attention now, and about the only thing Afghanistan will do for us is bring us down. Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. Ask the British. Ask the Russians. Read Tom Englehard’s article if you want to know more about the Graveyard of Empires. All that is likely to happen in Afghanistan is more dead soldier and a lot of money spent. So it’s difficult to believe that we are acting in our national interests in Afghanistan.

Moving right along, let’s look at Israel. Just about every issue or problem in the Middle East eventually comes back to Israel and Palestine. Sure, hardly anyone out there really cares about the Palestinians, and the Israel/Palestine conflict is perhaps just an excuse for Middle Eastern countries to avoid the tough problems, but why give them that excuse? It’s not in our interests to do so.

What does Israel really do for us? We give them $2.55 billion in military aid in 2009, plus other aid and loan guarantees. And what do we get for that? Certainly not an Israel that is determined to solve the Israel – Palestinian problem. In fact, Israel has just elected a government that is seemingly determined to reject a two-state solution. (You can read Juan Cole‘s February 11 post and Tony Karon on this.) So for all the money we pour into Israel, they show their gratitude by vastly complicating things for the U.S. in the Middle East.

And how about our obsession with oil? We cozy up to nasty illiberal countries like Saudi Arabia, giving them more and more of our money. How do they spend the money? Well, one thing they do is heavily fund ultra-religious Wahhabi madrassas where young men are taught a brand of religious fundamentalism that considers the U.S. (and Israel) evil. One result of Wahhabi teachings is that 15 of the 9/11 skyjackers were from Saudi Arabia. It hardly seems that giving money to countries like Saudi Arabia is in our national interests.

So why do we act against our national interests, investing huge amounts of money, and allowing the needless deaths of many our young men, not to mention untold numbers of deaths of people in other countries?

Simple really. Politicians put their interests above the national interest. Politicians are interested in themselves above all. They want to be reelected. They need money. They don’t want to give other politicians anything with which to attack them.

Some politicians make money investing in oil. Most don’t want to be seen as soft on defense. Probably all are afraid of the Israeli lobby which is incredibly powerful and successful at attacking and smearing anyone who says anything against Israel.

It’s all about self-interest.

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