ISIS, ISIL, IS, Khorosan, and so on. It’s time for bombing again. Time for just a few boots on the ground again. Time for aid to doubtful “allies” again. Time for completely mishandling the situation, yet again. It’s time to get played again, by the propaganda masters in the deserts of the Middle East and offices in Washington, D.C., for they are symbiotic. Both need a legitimate enemy, the more hateful and frightening the better.
The timing of our about-face on Saddam Hussein (remember him?) was not random. We lost our legitimate enemy, the Soviets, and needed a new one. Hence our message to him, through Ambassador Glaspie, that “..your Arab vs. Arab conflicts are of no interest to us. We view them as an internal matter.” This, when he was massing troops on the Kuwaiti border, a week before invading.
This is why we never pressed our agreement with the Taliban government of Afghanistan to cooperate on the killing of Osama bin Laden back in 2000. The military industrial complex and its servants needed bin Laden. He was so much more valuable out there somewhere.
Well, Hussein was hanged and bin Laden was shot, so what is the military-security-fear industry to do? 12,000 Sunni rebels have flowed into the vacuum created by our Shia-ization of the Iraqi state (de-Baathification, meaning purging Sunnis from the Iraqi military) and the near destruction of the Syrian state. They face 195,000 Kurdish fighters and a similar number of Iraqi soldiers, plus the Syrian military. And they are, somehow, an existential threat to us. So we are told. Billions of dollars surge into the accounts of bomb, missile, and aircraft manufacturers. Security firms get their share of the take. Looks as if the war on whoever is next in line will go on forever.
How to predict the future of U.S. foreign policy: It will be done in the most expensive way possible. Effectiveness is irrelevant. Capital intensiveness is the predictor. This includes intelligence, military operations, humanitarian foreign aid, the works. Most of this money will be stuffed into the accounts of large corporations.
Bombs are the ultimate in planned obsolescence; make it (in secrecy), transport it, drop it, buy another. Political negotiations are labor intensive and capital light, and therefore undesirable to the military industrial complex.
This ties into the whole concept of supply side versus demand side solutions. The corporate conglomerate that runs this country prefers supply side solutions. Drugs? Spend billions trying to interdict the supply and imprison users and dealers. Oil? Spend billions protecting international supplies and developing domestic sources (even though we only have 3% of world reserves). Terrorism? Spend billions on weapons and surveillance. Fail, fail, fail. If we spent a tenth of the money on demand side management, meaning drug treatment, energy efficiency, humanitarian aid, plus some effort at political reconciliation, we’d get better results. The problem, in the eyes of the CEOs, is that we’d spend a tenth of the money.
So, we get played again. The debate in the corporate media isn’t about a range of responses to ISIS, it’s about the range of *military* responses.
Here are a couple of ideas, thrown into the public debate like a pine tree air freshener into a sewage treatment plant.
Tell the Iraqi government to get some Sunnis into real positions of power and to rein in the Shiite militias or we’re out of there. No money, no weapons, the Green Zone empty. Reconciliation, REAL reconciliation, or they are on their own. If they don’t reconcile their factions the whole place will implode no matter what we do.
Tell the auto makers that they will double their fleet mileage in five years or we’ll nationalize them (in the case of U.S. manufacturers) or ban them. When they scream, point out that we are having a serious crisis and refer them to the companies that converted from typewriters to rifles in 1942. That would eventually lower worldwide oil demand by about 5%, which in turn would temporarily collapse the price of oil, leaving the Russians and the Middle Eastern monarchies extremely short of cash. Work out the knock-on effects for yourself.
Ban speculation in energy commodities. If you buy the futures, you have to take physical delivery from the tanker. That would knock 20-40% off the price of oil all by itself. See Russians and M.E. royalty, above.
Defund a few gold plated weapons systems and sink the money into nationwide energy efficiency programs. Aim for a 20% reduction in oil use. See R’s and M.E.R., above.
But this won’t happen. Go back to the link under, “Billions of dollars surge into the accounts of bomb, missile, and aircraft manufacturers.” Look at the timing of stock price increases of all the major players in the military supply chain. Middle East chaos isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.
Everything I write on policy comes back to corporate power and money in politics.