Friday, April 13, 2007

American Threats - Barnett

"The future," Thomas P.M. Barnett has written, is "not about dealing with the biggest threat in the environment, but dealing with the environment of threats."

- The Pentagon's New Map, p. 69

This environment of threats includes radical Islamic terrorists in Iraq. They pose a threat to Iraq's stability, to the region's stability, and to world energy stability. These mass murderers use a variety of terror tactics, and they are not above leveraging innocent children:

Here is the latest example of this new form of evil as reported by the Associated Press: "Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations on the Joint Staff, said . . . the vehicle used in the attack [on Iraqi civilians] was waved through a U.S. military checkpoint because two children were visible in the back seat. He said this was the first reported use of children in a car bombing in Baghdad. 'Children in the back seat lowered suspicion, (so) we let it move through, they parked the vehicle, the adults run out and detonate it with the children in the back,' Barbero told reporters in Washington."

This environment of threats includes a rouge Iranian regime bent on developing and sharing nuclear technology [Iran offers to share nuclear expertise with GCC states], controlling the region [Bush: We won't let Iran control the region], working to destroy democratic Israel [Israel should be wiped off map, says Iran's president], and funding sectarian strife in Iraq [U.S. Suspects That Iran Aids Both Sunni and Shiite Militias].

This environment of threats includes an Iranian regime that is already well on its way to developing nuclear weapons:

Suppose that upon entering Iraq, our troops had uncovered a nuclear facility in which Saddam had 1,000 working centrifuges, another 2,000 about to come on line, and manufacturing capacity to produce yet more centrifuges? Would anyone have argued at that point that the invasion had been unnecessary? Do any Democrats deny that Iran does in fact have all of this capacity right now?

In the debate to come over Iran’s nuclear capacity, there will be constant references to our intelligence failure in Iraq. The dispute will be about exactly how close Iran is to a bomb. But let no one forget that Iran is already at a point that would easily have justified the overthrow of Saddam. This fact, by itself, does not decide the issue of what to do about Iran. An attack on Iran would be militarily tougher than the invasion of Iraq. Occupation of Iran seems out of the question. There are also questions about how far an attack would actually set back Iran’s nuclear program. Yet all of these difficulties and considerations notwithstanding, the fact is, we are under a threat of exactly the sort that everyone agreed would justify action in Iraq.

This environment of threats includes Syria, a country that collaborates with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas to foment civil strife and encourage terror. Syria, the same country recently visited by the benevolent U.S. Secretary of S- er, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:

The result of the Pelosi trip on Middle Eastern reformists is having quite a chilling effect. Five years of investment by the US State Department and the Bush administration in organizations and people who have committed their lives to helping their oppressed countries is being flushed away by the Democrats in Congress who, with the visit of Pelosi to Syria, have shown that they favor the stability of dictatorships to freedom even if they had a direct hand in killing American troops in Iraq.

For Nancy Pelosi to cajole with Assad who has facilitated the killing of American soldiers is a travesty. RPS wants to remind all the Democrats in Congress what Assad has been up to in building terrorist bases in Syria. Many of the Democrats already know it because they get the same good intelligence as the National Security Council or the DIA. The US public has not been informed of these training terrorist bases because the media is disinterested in highlighting any reason that would prompt Bush to take action. Without public support, the US can never achieve success in the hard and long struggle to subdue extremism and to spread freedom.

There is much more to Mideast policy than cherry-picking allies, especially for domestic political reasons. Relationships between the United States and regional powers in the Middle East (such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) have been carefully developed for decades with great care and diligence by successive administrations. A week-long "fact-finding" mission, simultaneously botching a message from Israel and seemingly handing a degree of legitimacy to a pariah state (Syria), does not serve the long-term strategic interest of the United States.

It should also be seen as an embarrassment that the Top Iran MP wants talks with US House speaker Pelosi:

A top MP said on Friday the Tehran parliament would favour talks with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after her controversial visit to Iran's ally Syria, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

"We are ready for talks with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi," said Mohammad Nabi Rudaki, deputy head of the influential national security commission in Iran's conservative-dominated parliament.

It is a shocking and worrisome shift that an Iranian official would solicit dialogue to the Speaker of the House, entirely bypassing all traditional, customary and appropriate norms in relation to diplomatic protocol. Imagine if Tony Blair's foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, was upstaged and circumvented by a Tory Minister. Imagine that all established, codified and practiced rules of government were nullified through a series of irresponsible politicking.

That is what's going on right now.


Blue skies from now on said...

You did a great job of fully describing Ms. Pelosi's indiscretion... I knew we were in for it when she became Speaker but didn't know it could go to this extent! What's next?

Nick Brunetti-Lihach said...

I fear a further downward spiral in domestic politics is on the horizon. It's only to be expected, though. A controversial two-term president is nearing the twilight of his second term.

A changing of the guard in the Presidency is needed for more reasons than one. If Pelosi and Co. are still in charge of Congress after the 2008 elections, they should theoretically have a fresh start with the new President (assuming it is a Republican, if a Democrat... there certainly won't be any problems.)

It shouldn't shock me that the situation has deteriorated so quickly, but it has.