Obama’s GCC “Summit” and the Deepening Incoherence of America’s Middle East Strategy

The Wire, a new and extremely promising Indian media venture edited by our colleague Siddharth Varadarajan (former editor of The Hindu), has just published our latest article, “Strategic Confusion and Obama’s Hapless Persian Gulf Diplomacy,” see here; we’ve also appended the text below.

Strategic Confusion and Obama’s Hapless Persian Gulf Diplomacy

Defying escalating rhetoric that Iran is “gobbling up the Middle East,” President Obama told the New York Times recently that “the biggest threat” to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states may not come from Iran, but “from dissatisfaction inside their own countries.”  Yet, displaying how deeply mired in Washington hype his administration remains, Obama has called on GCC leaders to parade with him at Camp David this week as if Iran is their biggest threat.

Saudi King Salman has refused to join in this spectacle, underscoring that, in foreign policy, friendship and interest should not be conflated.  Obama, by contrast, studiously overlooks this reality that, today, U.S. and Saudi interests on a number of key issues not only diverge, but conflict.  By refusing to deal with GCC states on the basis of interest, rather than friendship, Obama actually helps some of them continue pursuing policies deeply damaging to U.S. interests.

However much GCC elites evoke specters of Iranian “aggressiveness”—framed either in essentialist caricatures of “Persian expansionism” or depictions of the Islamic Republic’s allegedly radical Shi’a sectarianism—Iran is not the source of their insecurity.  In reality, GCC leaders have felt existentially threatened since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq upended a regional order based on Sunni Arab autocracies linked, in various ways, to Washington.

Saudis and the IS

With U.S. encouragement, Saudi Arabia and other GCC states had supported Iraq’s Saddam Hussein financially in the 1980s, as he pursued aggressive war (including extensive chemical weapons use) against Iran.  While Saddam eventually threatened GCC states, his overthrow in 2003 created major challenges for some of them, especially Saudi Arabia.  Riyadh could not endorse a more representative post-Saddam Iraqi polity that would, by definition, empower Shi’a, make Sunnis a permanent minority, and boost Iran’s influence.  So, the Saudis urged militant Sunni jihadis—of a sort they had long supported, some of whom had created and remained involved with al-Qa’idato go to Iraq and help Sunni tribal militias and remnants of Saddam’s army destabilize the new Iraqi state, including by attacking U.S. occupation forces.

This trifecta of former members of Saddam’s military, Iraqi Sunni fighters, and foreign jihadis would eventually give rise to the political/military/religious phenomenon now known as the Islamic State.  In the meantime, GCC anxiety over the erosion of a regional order based on pro-U.S. Sunni autocracies grew more acute as, from 2011, demands mounted in overwhelmingly Sunni Arab societies for expanded political participation and protection from—not collusion with—a U.S. “war on terror” that has killed hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslims.  In this context, the “threat” to the GCC from today’s Iran is not that it is “Persian” or Shi’a, but that it is simultaneously Islamic and republican—that it seeks to integrate principles and institutions of Islamic governance with participatory politics and elections while maintaining a strong commitment to foreign policy independence.

Paving the way for jihadis

GCC leaders are relatively unconcerned about reform calls from secular liberals, judging (rightly) that this agenda elicits limited support in Arab societies.  But they worry deeply about Sunni movements, like the Muslim Brotherhood, willing to compete for power in elections.  For GCC rulers, these groups are profoundly threatening, for if Muslim-majority Arab publics can elect Islamic governments, the historically most potent argument for monarchy in Arabia—that it is essential to propagating true Islam—goes out the window.  To forestall this, Riyadh and its partners have declared the Brothers “terrorists” in GCC jurisdictions, and have worked to quash them around the region—as with Saudi and Emirati backing for the July 2013 coup against Egypt’s elected Brotherhood government.

By undermining the Brothers as a vehicle for expanding Sunni political engagement, Saudi Arabia and its allies leave jihadi groups like al-Qa’ida and the Islamic State as the only options for Sunni Arabs dissatisfied with the status quo.  They make things worse by building up violent jihadis as alternatives to the Brothers—in Libya, Syria, and, now, Yemen—with Washington’s collaboration, and with disastrous humanitarian and political consequences.

What has unfolded in Libya since 2011—the state’s destruction, civil war, a U.S. ambassador’s murder, and incubation of a major jihadi hub that had not existed before—is hardly due to Iranian perfidy.  It is the result of a military campaign, led by America and Saudi Arabia, to bring down the Qadhafi government—and, in the process, show that it wasn’t only pro-Western autocrats who were vulnerable to overthrow.  Many of this campaign’s devastating effects flow from Riyadh’s use of the Libya war to revive jihadi cadres worn down by years of fighting U.S. forces in Iraq—cadres the Saudis then deployed in Syria.

Saudi intervention ensured that jihadis—many non-Syrian—would dominate Syrian opposition ranks, undercutting any potential role for the Brotherhood in leading anti-Assad forces.  It also turned what began in Syria as indigenously generated protests over particular grievances into a heavily militarized (and illegal) campaign against the recognized government of a UN member state—but with a popular base too small either to bring down that government or to negotiate a settlement with it.  It is Saudi policy—not Iran’s support for Syria’s government against an externally-fueled insurgency that, as Syrian oppositionists themselves admitcouldn’t defeat him at the ballot box—that is responsible for Syria’s agony.

Cost of reckless strategy

The most glaringly negative consequence of Riyadh’s posture toward both post-Saddam Iraq and the Arab Awakening has been the Islamic State’s explosive ascendance, marked by impressive territorial gains in both Iraq and Syria.  The Islamic State’s proclamation of a religiously legitimate caliphate represents a much bigger problem for Saudi Arabia than for the United States.  Yet, while Riyadh has ostensibly joined Washington’s anti-Islamic State “coalition,” it is doubling down on its jihadi proxy strategy.  After using the al-Qa’ida-affiliated Jabhat an-Nusra to destroy non-jihadi opposition forces in Syria, Riyadh has persuaded Qatar and Turkey—previously the Syrian Brotherhood’s biggest backers— to help it promote a new, Jabhat an-Nusra-led jihadi alliance that recently captured a major Syrian city.  In Yemen, Saudi airstrikes have helped al-Qa’ida make territorial gains—and to eclipse even further the Brotherhood’s Yemeni affiliates.

Saudi Arabia pursues these policies—however risky (even reckless) they seem to outsiders—because decision-makers in Riyadh judge that they maximize the ruling family’s chances of holding onto power.  The United States, for its part, should continue cooperating with Saudi Arabia where U.S. and Saudi interests overlap.  But U.S. interests also require that Washington undertake strategically-grounded diplomacy with all major regional players—including, above all, a rising Iran.  And Washington certainly should be able to confront the Saudis and others in the GCC when they pursue policies contrary to U.S. interests.  Like too many of his predecessors, Obama has yet to learn how to do this.

–Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett

 

108 Responses to “Obama’s GCC “Summit” and the Deepening Incoherence of America’s Middle East Strategy”

  1. Castellio says:

    Important new developments – important new synthesis to incorporate them in a now very rapidly evolving situation.

    Miss the presence of Egypt in the analysis.

  2. fyi says:

    All:

    From the Atlantic Council:

    No War, No Peace—But Always a Place at the Table for Russia – that is how successful Russian diplomacy has been

    In Armenia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Iran, North Korea…

    http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/no-war-no-peace-but-always-a-place-at-the-table-for-russia

  3. fyi says:

    All:

    http://www.mepc.org/articles-commentary/commentary/saudi-snub-obama-protest-iranian-influence

    Seems that certain Arab writers are living in a Fantasy Land in which Iranian are 10-feet tall; led by the likes of the late Cardinal Richelieu or the late Bismarck.

  4. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Financial Times today, David Gardner notes how Wahhabi extremism in the Middle East, promoted by Saudi Arabia, causes a great deal of damage.

  5. Karl.. says:

    James

    If you think a comment by David Cameron, that Israel has a right to defend itself, means Cameron approves of Israel’s insane smashing of Gaza in 2008-09 and more recently, you simply are mistaken.

    Who cares what you think about Cameron? Who need your voice when Cameron himself is on record for his support for Israel?

  6. Jay says:

    Let’s be clear — the American strategy is incoherent so long as we believe that the strategy is not to intentionally create chaos, otherwise it is completely coherent. Our hosts need to incorporate this assumption in their views.

    On a related point, about the “creepy” democracy that is being sold to public as “protecting values”, here is the British government and Mr. Cameron’s incredibly 1984-sh view of free speech:
    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/05/13/greatest-threat-free-speech-comes-terrorism-claiming-fight/

    This comes shortly on the heels of similar statements regarding speech by Canada!!

  7. Nasser says:

    I think it is a good article by Dr. Friedman showcasing the strategic culture of Russia and US. Also provides insight in my opinion as to why no friendship with Russia is ever possible for Iran.

    https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/world-war-ii-and-origins-american-unease

  8. Nasser says:

    fyi says: May 13, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Thanks for the post.

  9. Kooshy says:

    Jay says:
    May 13, 2015 at 2:58 pm
    “Let’s be clear — the American strategy is incoherent so long as we believe that the strategy is not to intentionally create chaos, otherwise it is completely coherent.”

    Jay Jaan

    If you believe in a conspiracy theory of creating an intentional chaos by Americans ( you may mean in management of a wider world affairs like in UNSC level? ) I would wonder if you can explain what would be their long term policy benefit by doing this?.

    To me the chaos left and created by the Americans is not intentional, I see it as a lack of coherent management due to numeracy of events wide spread around the globe and specially by uninformed case mangers like who are the senior policy makers in past several U.S. Administrations, who mostly were trained to make policy, countering USSR and managing communist feared client states, and not Khomeini’ political participatory Islam or like our host correctly say a combination of participatory republicanism with religious nationalism. Simply the American system is not made or has ever made policy countering this except imposing a military coup. That is what is making the chaos and they are fast going down with it, if it wasn’t for the fast fan they created which is speeding the shit back on their face they wouldn’t have come to negotiate with a third world country with all their tip allies. IMO you are correct to say they created chaos, but i can’t think it was intentional.

  10. kooshy says:

    Jay

    Many years ago when I was young in business and I tried to cut corners and buy an inexpensive equipment to produce, high value high quality products an old timer equipment sales person gave me a valuable advice, he told me “you can’t make chicken soup with chicken shit” I believe that’s the problem American foreign policy currently is facing, they have too many shit bags of old policies they want and have to keep and on top of that many more shity unknowledgeable incompetent policy makers. In other words, they still think they can rule the word on cheap and not willing or accepting to adopt to new world reality.

  11. Rehmat says:

    One can excuse Obama for not having the ‘balls’ to tell the truth to the western puppets who their subjects think the real threat to the Arab states – it’s not Iran but the Zionist entity.

    Iran has not attacked any of its neighbors for the last 150 years. Israel, on the other hand, has attacked and occupied part of all its Arab neighbors since 1948.

    The so-called “IS” was created by the US and Israel. Saudi Arabia just played the part of a surrogate mother.

    Both Ayatullah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir have claimed that ISIS, Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda were created by the US and Israel to demonize Islam and Muslims.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/03/10/rafsanjani-isis-al-qaeda-and-boko-haram-created-by-israel/

  12. Nasser says:

    “Iran’s middle class, about 45% of the population, meets all the criteria defined by its international counterpart except one — productivity. All over the world the value of a country’s currency has close relation to its citizen’s productivity. Not in Iran. Instead it depends on productivity in other countries, who buy Iran’s oil.”

    http://djavadsalehi.com/2015/04/16/irans-economy-after-the-lausanne-accord/

  13. Jay says:

    Kooshy says:
    May 13, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Kooshy,

    I do not believe in “conspiracy theories” – a simplistic construct that is often used to disparage the coherence of collective events. Confluence of interest in the outcome of events can present itself as a conspiracy – the results is nonetheless the same wherein otherwise independent groups work in unison to achieve an end.

    For the past (almost) 15 years, wherever the US has gone, chaos has followed.

    Coincidence? Possibly. But, considering the trajectory of these events, time after time, in the past 15 years, the probability of such “coincidence” is vanishingly small.

    Mismanagement? Possibly. However, to believe in “the mismanagement theory” would be closer to believing in conspiracy theories. It would require us to believe that a highly efficient (as measured on a relative scale by results in the previous 3 decades) bureaucracy (the US) was turned, overnight, to a group of buffoons! This, coincidentally after a four year period where several highly influential groups (both political as well as economic) drafted (under different names) plans for “the new American Century”. And, their standard bearers flooded the Bush White House.

    Chaos is an emergent property of a system. People who study systems (political, social, economic, biological, etc.) will tell you that using the i interactions and parameters of the system – the probability of chaos is often predictable. Whether or not chaos is “bad” depends on what the “goals” of a system are. US plutocracy has progressively promoted chaos for the past 14 years! With forethought that the confluence of policies leads to such chaos – that people die, that jihadis follow, that economic collapse ensues, …

    To believe that time after time this is simply the result of naive policymaking is not what I am willing to accept as an alternative.

  14. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    May 14, 2015 at 12:17 am

    Like Australia or Brazil – 2 other natural-resource-based economies.

    The late Mr. Lee – the first PM of Singapore – once told the Australian PM that they (the Australians) were on their way to become the “White Trash” of Asia.

  15. kooshy says:

    Jay says:
    May 14, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Jay thank you for your reply, basically because of number of the chaotic vents going around the world you (lightly) dismiss possibility of miss management and blowbacks, IMO this not new and for most obvious parts it’s not managed chaos, this didn’t start 10-14 years ago this started with VN going to Peking and kissing Mao’ ass was due to miss calculation and miss management US made her biggest concession to china, creating AQ was a big miss calculation and had a huge blowback on American soil, I don’t know how many I can count just for last 50 years. IMO, which I agree with the host the US system and policy architecture was set to counter USSR communism that was due to pre and post WWII US’ need for economic ties to western Europe since they were the only other industrialized developed part of globe, the mentality of countering USSR, in VN in Afghanistan and even in socialist Arab dictatorship of 50s and 60s was the policy US was good at, again after the collapse of USSR, US did not know and was not planed how to manage and balance her foreign policy around globe besides they got too much and thought of too much of themselves unfortunately they viewed and treated the entire world and the international system as defeated in cold war not just USSR. I think the chaos and ashes we see are not deliberate but rather the flames coming from getting to drunken from short joy. Again I am not claiming all events are not managed but for most parts the big ones might have been created base on some perceptive plans but due to wrong perception , planning and management have gone chaotic which for some people was obvious from get go.

  16. Rehmat says:

    @Nasser

    Forget about Iran’s “productivity”. Why don’t you tell us – Why every third Jewish child in Israel lives in poverty – considering Israel receives $6-14 billion aid from the US taxpayers alone. If like, you may add billions of dollars the Zionist entity receives from Germany.

  17. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Of course David Cameron “supports” Israel. And in doing so, Cameron has deplored Israel’s insane smashing of Gaza in 2008-09 and more recently.

  18. Karl.. says:

    James

    I take it that you agree with Cameron when he do just that, defend Israel war crimes.

  19. Smith says:

    Nasser says:
    May 14, 2015 at 12:17 am

    Your link say:

    “Everyone expects a huge inflow of foreign exchange as a result of the release of Iran’s frozen funds abroad — some $100 billion according to reports, though none with a reliable source. This is about the highest Iran has earned in oil revenues in any one year. Adding oil exports of about $50 billion, we are talking major stimulus.”

    Well, then this stimulus should be kept away from mafias in the country. Every single penny of it should go into developing critical industrial infrastructure. From microelectronics to auto-mechanics to bio-industries. Already trillions have been wasted on useless consumer imports. Just the other day, there was a news about Volvo having started its montage assembly of trucks using imported CKD.

    It is a shame for a country that has one of the largest hydrocarbon reserves on planet, still does not have the capacity to design, develop and mass produce internal combustion engines and gearboxes.

    It is a shame that a country of 80 million people does not have even a single small laboratory scale microprocessor manufacturing facility, importing every single microelectronic component.

    It is a shame when trillions are wasted by gardan-koloft mafia and there is not even a single company or organization in Iran, dedicated to developing new medicines.

    Alas, as always the mafia will start a game of smoke and mirrors and get away with the loot. As it has been doing for decades now.

  20. Amir says:

    IF any money enters Iran (after sanction-relief/ waiver/ etc) and if the mafia can get their hands on it (part or all of it) and they could get away with it, standing aside or trying to white-wash it is similar to agreeing to it; if one agrees with something, it is as if one has committed it.

    چیزی که بنده رو پنچر کرد و نمیتونم درست بیانش کنم حرف یکی از اعضاء اتاق بازرگانی تهران هست که گفته بود تولیدکنندگان احتیاج به فناوری خارجی دارند و بعد از رفع تحریمها باید خط تولید را به چین منتقل کرد

    After some auto-part manufacturers outsourcing their business to China, I’ve heard one of the most prominent companies in food industry has outsources its tomato paste production to China.
    And not actually outsourcing, but actually leasing their logo, where Chinese produce the tomato, Chinese make the paste and put it into cans and just printing in Farsi on the can, and exporting it to Iran.

    Now this should be investigated (that’s why I didn’t say the name of the company), but if it’s true, when you put it next to what that Tehran’s chamber of commerce, industries, mines and agriculture, one gets a better picture of how the entrepreneurs function.

  21. Nasser says:

    Smith says: May 14, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    “It is a shame that a country of 80 million people does not have even a single small laboratory scale microprocessor manufacturing facility, importing every single microelectronic component.”

    – By their own admission they would rather import iphone covers.

    “Just the other day, there was a news about Volvo having started its montage assembly of trucks using imported CKD.”

    – Yeah I saw that too. Reading some of the media in recent days have been quite depressing. So many seem so eager to turn Iran into a gaspump for the EU. It is as if they didn’t learn anything; as if these people weren’t just trying to starve Iranians! They got them hooked on those consumer goods you see. I guess we are seeing the modern day version of the opuium wars.

  22. Rehmat says:

    Last month, both former US Congressman, Dr. David Duke and professor Kevin MacDonald (California State University) stated that the nuclear deal between the so-called P5+1 and Iran is ‘onerous’, and is meant to keep the Zionist entity the only nuclear power in the Middle East.

    Both agreed that the deal reached with Iran whereby that country has agreed to long-term restrictions on its nuclear power program that no other country in the world is subject to. Dr. Duke indicated that this will put Iran into a position of vulnerability, although both men voiced understanding for why Iran would being willing to make such a major concession in order to avoid a massive war. They also assessed the motives of President Obama as well as the different voices in the organized Jewish community. They agreed that while there is a massive push for war with Iran from “crazy Zionists,” more cunning Zionists realize that war would not be in the best interests of Jews.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/05/15/dr-duke-on-iran-israel-and-zionism/

  23. Smith says:

    Nasser says:
    May 14, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Yes, opium wars. A truly apt description.

    The cargo cult is strong. A whole nation of unthinking cargo cult who arrogate themselves the right to consume what West has discovered and invented without any shame whatsoever. Of course West is going to charge the price deserving of this slumbering addict nation.

    It is really depressing. After years of arguing for domestic industrial capability and building a socioeconomic system based on scientific innovation and rational thinking, we are witnessing nothing more than the opposite. If you remember except me, you and Mr Fyi, every one else chastised us, attacked us and threatened us. While 800 billion dollars were wasted in previous administration and now with upcoming trade off of a national security tool for cargo, we always stood by the right choice. Others stood by the mafia. Every single one of them. We preached for rational thinking. They preached for ignorant unthinking. The only luck they have been endowed with is the geological accident of oil and gas reserves incidence in Iran. They shall sell every drop and every remaining molecule of methane until they run out and start selling themselves, offering prostitutes for visiting tourists and even exporting their own blood literally.

    Otherwise, their conditions would not be any better than these people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmlYe2KS0-Y

    “You build your plane too, says the cargo cult doctrine, and wait with faith; sooner or later your ancestors will discover the white man’s trap and will guide the planes on your landing strip, THEN YOU WILL BE RICH AND HAPPY”. Such is their mantra.

    I believe everything that could have been said, has already been said here. Arguments have been made. We have fulfilled our moral mission and our divine duty. As more often than not, the Prophets were just oral warners and oracles not having any physical power to change anything. We did in their footsteps, while the ignorant masses ridiculed us.

    Now the same masses will have to suffer. By their own hands. This was the only chance this nation had, since the demography of Iran is fast changing with falling birth rates. As population pyramid gets upside down, while no attempt has been made at creating a wealthy scientific society protected by a nuclear shield, the coming catastrophe will be tragic and of gigantic proportions.

    It is time to rest the case. As an end note, I would like to tell a story. A true story.

    There are these medicines which are produced from human blood. They are highly specialized medicines used in people with conditions so grave that they live on the border of death and life. For example hemophiliacs. Medicines such as factor VIII or IX. Others like immunoglobulins are used for providing passive immunity to gravely ill patients for infections. Some of these nowadays are produced by recombinant technology, but this is beyond the scope of our story. We are going to focus on traditional method of production for these medicines that is by fractionation of human blood plasma which for some of these medicines still remains the only method of producing them.

    The procedure is something like this in short, a country with large enough population develops an advanced blood collection system in tandem with a blood donating culture. The collected bloods are then processed in a very hightech fractionation facility in effect functioning like a human blood refinery which separates different bio-molecules from this blood and packages them as medicines.

    Iran being too dumb to ever discover or invent anything of value, let alone of the worth of saving human lives, has always been importing these critical medicines. But an incident happened in 1980’s which is basis of this story. At the time, Iran used to import factor VIII from Germany and France, paid by oil money. This German/French factor VIII was being produced in European facilities from the blood of European donors.

    At the time, with unprotected sexual promiscuity and the drug scene of Europe, HIV was fast spreading while the screening methods for and the virus itself had not been well understood. Therefore these medicines became tainted with HIV, and eventually ended up in Iran. The first HIV infection case in Iran happened in a six year old hemophiliac child in 1987. That is how the story of AIDS started in Iran. In following years, many Iranians who were dependent on these imported medicines died of AIDS most of them children.

    As is always the case, the cargo cult nation of Iran blamed Iran’s government organizations for this, despite the fact that the detection tools for HIV and blood screening had not yet been fully developed and deployed. The incident was unavoidable. But nonetheless because of public pressure, the government specially Sazman Enteghal Khoon in order to wash itself off the blame and absolve itself in public eyes, vowed to produce these medicines in Iran and making Iran self sufficient.

    Since Iran had a low general incidence rate of HIV infections and hepatitis (atleast in those year) and with modern detection tools, it was possible to produce these medicines in Iran more safely with higher margin of quality assurance and cheaper than the extremely expensive imports of dubious origin and safety. It was predicted that with proper cultural training and persuasion, there would be no shortage of blood/plasma donors.

    But there was one small problem. Iran did not have the technology. So Iranian government representatives went to France and Germany and cried like a yellow dog puppy licking at the German and French feet sobbing and wetting the floor of German and French royal courts. Now the Germans and French hated the guts of this yellow puppy but still were conscious of their guilt over sending tainted medicines to Iran without proper warning or council. They also did not want to blamed in history or worse in a fair court of law for the suffering caused by these tainted medicines.

    At any rate French and Germans themselves were powerless in this regard since the science had not yet caught up with events and therefore they could not do anything different even if they wanted. So they were themselves much in a moral bend. Finally they asked the puppy what it wanted? So the puppy finally spoke, saying it wished to have a human blood fractionation plant technology. The German kicked the puppy and the French spit on it. “How dare you dirty puppy even dreaming of having such technology?” Said the French. “How dare you to dream of being able to run such a sophisticated plant?” Said the German. The puppy, again leaped to the French and German feet and started sobbing, crying, weeping and wailing, telling the stories of kids that had suffered and died. Telling of sufferings of mothers. Begged. Licked. For weeks and months the puppy wept till it went blind.

    Finally, the French and Germans got abit soft-hearted feeling abit responsible about all that had happened so they told the puppy that they are going to give the technology and sell the plant to Iran if Iran is ready to pay top dollars for it cash. The deal was done. Equipment were bought from Europe and European engineers and scientists designed Iran’s national human blood fractionation plant. That was all in 1990’s. The tests showed that Iranian population had an excellent quality of human plasma with a very low incidence of infectious disease load such as HIV and Hepatitis B,C while the plasma itself being extremely rich in immunoglobulins since general hygiene in Iran was not as good as the West, causing the body to produce a very rich and healthy mixture of immunoglobulins against common diseases.

    It was destined to be a success story, processing over a million liters of human blood plasma each year, producing high quality medicines both for consumption of local population as well as for exports. After all technology was there, the willing healthy donors were available and all that was needed was to start the work.

    After twenty something years, still that plant has not become fully functional. Still the medicines are being imported. The cargo cult and the import mafia pulled every string and used every threat even to the point of threatening to kidnap and kill the family of scientists in order for local production never to go online. They used every political means at their disposal to sabotage the plant. Blocked funds, blocked importation of certain critical components and equipment of plant, caused wrong machinery to be imported rendering plant operation sabotaged, forced “privatization of the plant” under the pretext that government should not waste its funds for a project that can be run privately and when it was privatized it became obvious that without large funding the plant can not be operationalized and the private sector did not have such funding available.

    So an uproar was created by import mafia that the government should not fund private entities since this is baitul-mal and baitul-mal should not be spent on such a private business. You see they had the answer for everything. When the objection was raised that despite spending billions on this avenue, still the medicines were being imported, the mafia answered by offering to send Iranian blood and plasma abroad to be processed in Europe or China and the medicine produced from this export of Iranian blood to be imported again back into Iran for a hefty price and an even fatter commission payable to the import mafia and its cousin, the newly formed mafia of exporters of Iranian blood. They started to export Iran’s blood literally and importing European/Chinese medicines at hefty prices.

    You see, they have put CIA and MOSSAD to shame with their sabotage of facilities that manufacture medicines for very very sick kids. What can you expect of such rascals and their apologists?

    It is not only thinking, rationality, talent, intelligence, innovation, culture, sense of responsibility, honor and morality that this cargo cult lacks, but also shame. Yes, shame. Not even a shred of it, you can see in their bones.

    Now you are going to see the apologists of the mafia storming here with their foul mouths and blackened hearts. But the truth shall stand on its own. Despite the barking and hissing of feeble minded dogs and cats of peu-fuse variety.

  24. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    May 14, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    In Korea, only the very poor buy and consume Chinese processed foods; no one trusts the quality of China’s food exports.

  25. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    May 15, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Yes, it is frustrating.

    And since the press are not free, people can get away with all of this.

    Another case was near my old house several decades ago – a few young people bought a portable bakery which was quite successful.

    Some one set it on fire one night; too much competition for other bakeries.

    [In US, during the hay day of labor unions, if you hired non-union workers, at night, the union members would come and set fire to your building…]

  26. Jay says:

    kooshy says:
    May 14, 2015 at 11:48 am

    In brief, I am suggesting two things:
    a) using fear, uncertainty, and doubt as a method of management is nothing new. It has been used in the industry and politics. Therefore, it should be part of the portfolio of possibilities.

    b) Once one eliminates the “less likely”, one is left with the more likely.

    I am not suggesting that this is a new strategy, nor am I suggesting that it has not been used before. What I am suggesting is that at the present time chaos is the predominant strategy – without making value judgement, or evaluating the efficacy of the outcome. Your suggestion that these may be miscalculation or misjudgments may be accurate. However, such value judgements does not lead to the conclusion that it is not a management strategy in use.

    From the Korean conflict, to VN, south and central American, and even the first gulf war, the predominant goal of war making was to defeat the “enemy” and “install” a “friendly” – then stabilize the environment and allocate the resources for gain. No longer! The new goal is to optimize the cost to resource extraction ratio for a short period of time – fear, uncertainty and doubt is simply perfect!

  27. fyi says:

    Jay says:

    May 15, 2015 at 10:47 am

    I think the simpler explanation is that the Americans lost control of the dynamics of the situation; in Palestine, in Syria, and in their confrontation with Iran.

    They had applied similar techniques in Afghanistan, in Nicaragua, in Mozambique and had been relatively successful.

    Now they have to rationalize their interactions with Iran and get out of the Near East – where they cannot accomplish anything positive.

  28. nico says:

    kooshy says:
    May 14, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Conspiracy or not… Is that that much important ?
    That is exactly the same kind of Canning’s logic/rational about what Blair, Cameron or other leaders were thinking privately but are/were not implementing
    At the end of the day who cares about such private thinking or “hidden” dynamic.
    Everyone has a narrative, a rational or a dialectic…
    Fundamental of politiking is to hold political class and elite accountable on results and to have alternate political choices offered.
    In truth who cares about conspiracy theory whereas the results are in the open air for everyone to see.
    Besides is there any bankable alternative in the US political landscape ?

    IMO conspiracy is the excuse of the weak who does not have the political power to bend reality or gvt actions to one liking, is unable to hold the elite accountable, does not feel represented, has no political alternative offered… But is still engrossed by some kind of exceptionalism and fed by illusion that the system should not work that way.
    Well… The system is working that Way. That is that simple
    simple.
    One Should first challenge the system, actions and their results.
    Then you may get interested in “dynamic”.
    The other way round is only “academic”… If you know what I mean.

  29. Jay says:

    fyi says:
    May 15, 2015 at 11:06 am

    “Simpler” in what sense? The possibility that Americans lost control of the “dynamics” exists, but, again, it does not negate the conjecture that the original strategy was to create fear, uncertainty and doubt in the region. It simply means that they executed poorly. I think it is more likely the case that Americans partially lost control – but the broad outlines of the “plan” is still work in progress.

    They applied similar, but not the same, techniques in Mozambique and Nicaragua – and to some extent in El Salvador and Guatemala – Not in Afghanistan.

  30. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    David Cameron PUBLICLY made clear he did not approve of Israel’s insane smashing of Gaza in 2008-09. Cameron, and William Hague, PUBLICLY made clear they sought better relations between the UK and Syria, and Iran, and Hezbollah.

  31. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    The US made a deal with the USSR to end the war in Korea leaving the North Korean government in power.

  32. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    The purpose of the Gulf War was to eject Iraqi troops from Kuwait and end Iraq’s WMD programmes.

  33. James Canning says:

    Rehamt,

    David Duke is simply mistaken if he thinks an Iranian deal with the P5+1 would put Iran “into a position of vulnerability”. As you contend.

  34. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Surely you have noticed my numerous denunciations of Israel’s insane smashing of Gaza, in 2008-09 and more recently.

  35. Karl.. says:

    James

    Cameron is a close friend of netanyahu

    “Officials in both the British and Israeli governments also attested to the close personal relationship between Mr Cameron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

    http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/136283/israel%E2%80%99s-best-friend

  36. Karl.. says:

    James
    May 15, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Would a UK renouncement of their own nukes put uk “into a position of vulnerability”?

  37. Kooshy says:

    Nico / Jay

    I am not claiming any conspiracy theories actually I am arguing against it , I don’t believe in conspiracies, but I do understand misjudgment, lack of knowledge and human failures these happens more often than conspiracies.

    Everything can be thought as they are and can be done as an slam down or cake walk if is too optimistic, misinformed and believes he is the only one with the best and right tools ( one can add all these together and think of him delve as an exceptional) , we all have done that, so do empires “as simple as that”.

    Creating chaos as an instrument of sound strategic policy making can’t be a good sound policy, since one can’t predict the outcome and a possible blowback from any chaotic situation. It is very rear to think and see if any major power has or will implement such a tool for a long term strategic policy. On the contrary on tactical level this is done all the time. Attacking Vietnam losing south east Asia and making UNSC seat concessions to Mao is not and can’t be a pre formed policy, same goes with backing a mad man like Saddam against Iran and ending up defending Kuwait against him.
    Or encouraging OBL to fight USSR and ending losing couple of towers in NYC.
    Maybe only exceptionalist are capable of making horror policies like these.

    I read and respect your opinions all the time

  38. nico says:

    Kooshy says:
    May 15, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    “I am not claiming any conspiracy theories actually I am arguing against it , I don’t believe in conspiracies”

    That was well understood.

    “but I do understand misjudgment, lack of knowledge and human failures these happens more often than conspiracies.”

    What and who’s misjudgment ?
    Nuland “f*** the UE” ? Clinton “bomb them to ash” ? Albright “that was worth it” ?
    Or maybe Bush “Irak is behind 9\11”
    Or maybe Obama “I will shut down Guantanamo”
    Why do not call a cat by its name ?
    Is anyone truly held accountable ?

    “Everything can be thought as they are and can be done as an slam down or cake walk if is too optimistic, misinformed and believes he is the only one with the best and right tools ( one can add all these together and think of him delve as an exceptional) , we all have done that, so do empires “as simple as that”.”

    Why do you think the elite or decision makers should care about backdrops and their long term consequence in the first place ?
    Is the US system built in a way to ensure that to happen ?

    “Creating chaos as an instrument of sound strategic policy making can’t be a good sound policy, since one can’t predict the outcome and a possible blowback from any chaotic situation. It is very rear to think and see if any major power has or will implement such a tool for a long term strategic policy. On the contrary on tactical level this is done all the time. Attacking Vietnam losing south east Asia and making UNSC seat concessions to Mao is not and can’t be a pre formed policy, same goes with backing a mad man like Saddam against Iran and ending up defending Kuwait against him.
    Or encouraging OBL to fight USSR and ending losing couple of towers in NYC.
    Maybe only exceptionalist are capable of making horror policies like these.”

    The US aims are perfectly clear.
    The core aim of the US is to maintain the status quo and expend its influence. Through war, proxy war, containment, direct and indirect influence such as support to putsch, NGO etc…
    Whatever the means. Moral or immoral.
    That is basically called the “world order”.
    Thus the US policies make perfect sense.
    I am sorry to say again that it is the way it works.
    Not the way you would likem it to be…

  39. Amir says:

    nico says:
    May 16, 2015 at 6:06 am

    Can I ask something? Does Obama belong to the “progressive” camp? Lefty liberals? How does he look at immoral acts to further a noble cause? Is that now an accepted part of being “progressive”? Or you think he is without conscience (politicians are supposed to be that way)?
    So, what is the meaning of life for Americans? Electing a thug to preside over all thugs? That’s so.. hollow!

  40. nico says:

    Amir says:
    May 16, 2015 at 6:39 am

    “So, what is the meaning of life for Americans? Electing a thug to preside over all thugs? That’s so.. hollow!”

    Thank you for the question. But let me answer with additional questions.
    Would it be better for the world to be rid of the Americans invasive power ?
    Does the world benefit from Pax Americana ?
    Would it be better or worse without it ?
    Do you think it would end conflicts ?
    Would you rather prefer Pax Sinica ?

    Anyway, that is the way it works.
    If one wanna multi polar order and gain respect. Then one needs to earn it.

  41. Rehmat says:

    @ Amir – I would let the pro-Israel individuals and lobby groups answer your question.

    “I think when it is all over, people are going to say that Barack Obama is the first Jewish president,” – Abner Mikvaner, former Chicago’s Zionist Congressman, a Federal Judge and White House counsel to former president Bill Clinton.

    http://rehmat1.com/2008/12/13/obama-the-first-jewish-president/

  42. Amir says:

    Rehmat says:
    May 16, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Thanks for your reply! Based on what others say, I could just say Obama is anything but what he professes to be; he’s a liar, or someone who hasn’t made up his mind.

  43. Amir says:

    nico says:
    May 16, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Honestly, I don’t know! I do care, but I’m not into geopolitics and I don’t take Pax Sinica seriously; what would be the difference? There were empires before and there would be empires later.

    What really surprises me is that, yes, we all say politicians in the West (and really everywhere) are “bought” with “silver bags” by special-interest groups, etc, etc, but if these politicians believe it and are okay with that, they are people without a morally charged goal; a man without a cause is a walking corpse.

    I confess my question is irrelevant to actual events on the ground, but I was wondering what would happen when everyone would just lose interest in politics, and people would sedate themselves with something (cinema, alcohol, sex, whatever) and politics is left to politicians? These politicians follow a nihilistic path, right? Isn’t that supposed to cause panic?

    My thoughts are very disorganized and I can’t focus, I’m sorry. If you don’t feel like it, don’t answer this.

  44. Nasser says:

    Smith says: May 15, 2015 at 9:51 am

    “I believe everything that could have been said, has already been said here. Arguments have been made. We have fulfilled our moral mission and our divine duty.”

    – You have more than done your part Mr. Smith and once again I thank you.

  45. Rehmat says:

    David Cameron lost Ireland to anti-Israel SNP.

    Scotland first minister Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) made a sweeping election 2015 victory by winning 56 out of 59 Scottish seats in the UK’s parliament. The three seats lost by SNP are shared by pro-Israel Cameron’s Conservatives, Ed Miliband’s Labours, Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats, and Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party (UKIP). All three opposition party leaders have step-down – a small victory for the Brits who want to see their country free of Israeli grip.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/05/16/scotland-the-jewish-lobby-got-defeated/

  46. nico says:

    Amir says:
    May 16, 2015 at 10:17 am

    “These politicians follow a nihilistic path, right? Isn’t that supposed to cause panic?”

    Well yes it is maybe cause of panic… Or it could make feel one psychologically unsecure or uncomfortable.
    Each country and civilization is at a specific\individual point in its own course of development and maturity.
    Obviously each has its own priority on the road to self fulfilment.
    It is thus difficult to provide one answer fit for all.

    IMO, the western civilization is specifically in a post modern period.
    The Pre modern period being the time of kings and gods before the industrial revolution.
    The modern period being the time of atheism and materialism. Self centered on Man and the time of seemingly unlimited growth and progress.
    The post modern period being the time of nihilism and material relative decline (at least reaching a ceiling due to environmental, resource and demographic constraints)

    Those periods overlap depending on the country, the social strata and other local specificity.
    However a clean break between modern and post modern period could be marked at the fall of the soviet union.
    Actually the competition between materialist modern political experiences (communism, liberalism, fascism) ended with Liberal Capitalism uncontested victory.
    Which was illustrated by Fukuyama’s End of History.
    (See here http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_of_history)

    At such point it is the philosophers arduous task to find the way forward.
    One offered way forward is the Globalization.

    At the fall of the Soviet Union, the US as the main if only victorious party had the difficult task (too big a task ?) to lead the way.

    It is for everyone to make his own opinion regarding the success of such leadership and civilizational achievement for about 20 years.

  47. nico says:

    As an addendum : one may be disappointed by the low vitality of intellectual discussions in the western countries regarding such concepts.
    And it does not give reasons for optimism.
    Or maybe I missed something ?

  48. Amir says:

    nico says:
    May 16, 2015 at 11:57 am

    I most certainly know less than you! But I have another question:
    Are, let’s say Americans, after “self fulfillment”?
    The way I see it, they (most of them anyway) think they have reached the end, and the rest should just catch up.
    What you suggested earlier (the strong would do what they could and the weak shall suffer what they must) doesn’t add up with an evolving path towards destiny or self fulfillment; more like previous empires I sense the US is trying to keep a lid on everything (probably till the counter-gravitational forces die out, in “our” case Islamic Revolutionary zeal, political Islamism or whatever that might be).

    The problem: the USSR ended but as Mr Fukuyama admitted liberal-democracy wasn’t the end of history after all; he’s been recently suggesting that upholding the democratic cause is a laborious task, indeed (not a predestined necessity).

    [I think] Even without a multi-polar world order the US would become wary in very near future, would retreat from some places (Africa, West Asia, Central America or even Central Asia) as ungovernable (politely) or undeserving of its benevolence (not-so-politely).

    I’m taking disintegration of Pax Americana for granted (forgive my naivete); I think “we” have something to fill in the gap (in West Asia), but I’m worried about others. What would become of them?

  49. nico says:

    Amir says:
    May 16, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Collective fullfiment depends on the collective goal of the dominant ideology and provide the civilizational momentum.
    Nihilism has no collective goal and only feed individual egostism.
    That is the issue.
    The US did not succeed to offer and adopt a political program to fulfill a collective higher ideal and impulse a new momentum.
    And given the lack of intellectual vitality regarding such subject that is not going to happen anytime soon.
    And the End of History is only the confession of this sad truth.
    Well yes Fukuyama amended his opinion few years later. Though it did not provide ideological renewal.
    Anyway that is too late.
    The US position at the fall of USSR was unique.
    Once the path is taken there is no way back.
    That is why I time and again said here that the Bill Clinton terms as president have been the worst of the last 40 years. He bears the major responsibility for what came after by iniating many US policies in the wrong track.
    And Ms Clinton is a contender for the next presidential term as well.
    And she is no worse than Republicans… Wowww… enough said.

    The US spent its resources uselessly to achieve nothing beneficial at collective level for Americans and the rest of the world.
    By pursuing unilateral foreign policies and disastrous economics the US is now bankrupt.
    20 years of dubious goals and strategies will still be felt in decades to come.

    One can only dream of what would have been if the US invested all that money and energy in positive tasks… But it would have required to share world management and to avoid military overstretch.

    And it would have required a program and go past nihilism in the first place. That is an intellectual revolution the US is not ripe to experiment even today.

    I remember Bush’s team slamming the “old Europe” for not supporting the Irak war unconditionally. Unfortunately that was rather the US elite implementing backward and counter-productive policies and goals.

    As for the world order and the consequences of US withdrawal.
    Well, help yourself…

  50. Karl.. says:

    Egyptian state shows again what a ridiculous state they have become

    Sentence MB leader Morsi and his jailed supporters to death
    http://rt.com/news/259237-morsi-death-sentence-secrets/

  51. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    US defence spending declined significantly during Bill Clinton’s presidency. The moron who followed him caused this achievement to be reversed.

  52. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I doubt it.

  53. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    My understanding is that David Cameron thinks Israel needs to end the occupation of the West Bank. And I understand Bibi Netanyahu wants to prevent that from taking place.

  54. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times noted today on its front page that the destruction of Libya’s navy, by the west, opened the floodgates for hundreds of thousands of people to attempt to get to Europe via Libya.

  55. fyi says:

    All:

    Mr. Morrel on the Middle East:

    http://www.voanews.com/content/former-cia-official-reflects-tangle-wars-syria/2773257.html

    The gem is the view that US should support Saudi Arabia to gain dominance in the Near East (against Iran).

  56. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The Financial Times in a leader recently argued that the US would be helping Saudi Arabia, if a reasonable deal on the nuclear dispute is achieved.

  57. Kooshy says:

    IMO, American foreign policy don’t look like any longer is made cohesively and for long term.
    Or at best, even if it is made and indented as an strategic longterm policy to benefit US’ longterm goals, the way it’s conducted, it is not amounting and producing any long term benefits for US’ global standing. This in no mean and way is only limited to ME and Iran’ region of influence, this policy set back for US, is global and in every region of the world perhaps except the Europe. There are too many and numerous theaters and personalities for one nations’ foreign policy and security organizations to be able to tackle, no matter how big and efficient they may be. IMO There is no god argument can be made to counter the realist like our hosts who argue american’ ascendency has picked and now is on an down trend trajectory.
    Those who claim that this down trend is just a mirage and is a deliberate chaos making by Americans for even a bigger benefit by making everybody else lose, can’t cohesively show how this is going to happen in light of considering the tremendous recent losses
    Due to similar claimed in lieu of events of last
    5 decades. At a the end of the day, how ever you add them up 2+2 is 4 and not 5

  58. BiBiJon says:

    Koosy,

    From James Risen piece about 1953′ Iran
    http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-cia-intro.html

    “Dr. Wilber asserted that the Iran coup was different from later C.I.A. efforts. Its American planners, he said, had stirred up considerable unrest in Iran, giving Iranians a clear choice between instability and supporting the shah.”

    ——

    ‘Considerable Unrest’ may ultimately convince enough folks to accept the primacy of the US and whomever vassal it anoints as acceptable for ruling the place. Unless and until this strategy/conspiracy/mismanagement fails and moreover backfires in a ‘considerable’ way, e.g. US’ geostrategic rivals benefit at US’ ‘considerable’ expense, then the strategy/conspiracy/mismanagement will continue to have its proponents.

  59. Jay says:

    It seems to me that in your statements there is a confounding of policy and product, goal and attainment, and so on. The US has used sanctions as an instrument of foreign policy on multiple occasions. The results have not been those predicted or intended at the beginning. Yet, these policies have been used and they will continue to be used in the future. One would have thought that such a blunt and error prone instrument would have been banished by now.

    If you read the writings of foreign policy wonks at the Woodrow Wilson institute you will find out that the US, as advocated by these wonks, has been going through a “democratization” of its foreign policy. The idea that foreign policy begins with an examination of national interests and flows down to policy is considered an unworkable myth in this paradigm. National interests are a cluster of many conflicting interests, for example, and cannot guide foreign policy. Even if a single goal can be determined, there are numerous competing interests that vie for its many alternative implementations. In a system like the US, it is difficult to shut out all these competing interests. Advocates of the Wilson paradigm suggest that social and economic “chaos”, ensuing from multiple competing forces, can be used to create fertile grounds for softening the environment; thereby easing the directing of event outcome. This much has been uttered in public during the bush administration – in terms of creating new realities on the ground.

    Understanding the wisdom, or the long term benefits, of such an approach remains a “theory” – to be developed. However, the US policy establishment has no alternatives. Full scale and long term occupation of a large number of even small adversaries is not feasible. Absent a robust and dominant on the ground strategy to keep players like China and Russia at bay, instability and uncertainty is a very viable option – even in the cases where the outcome is not as expected. At least that is how the theory goes – you may not win, but your opponent will not win either. Case and point, Libya!

    BibiJon provides another angle on the same issue.

  60. kooshy says:

    BiBiJon says:
    May 18, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Bibi / Jay

    From what I have learned from a lot of pepole who were around, studied were friend to the governing class and reaserched about the 1953 events, the most instrumental help was not the short choas of 25th-28th by the paid CIA thugs, what was the most instrumental reason for the success of cupe was the existing and inflamated fear of comunisim among religious leadership and the merchant class. As of 1989 US no longer can benfit that kind of free existing fear in any sociaty includng South America or Africa. Some argue without fear of comunisim the 53 cupe was not possible.

    In any event, as history shows the 1953 coup was a grotesque foreign policy short coming, mistake as was many that fallowed including VN, etc. we are arguing long term policy and not short term tactical(s).

  61. BiBiJon says:

    Yes Kooshy. Indeed, masquradind as communists, coup agents were blowing up Ayatollahs’ houses just to inflame such fears.

    Today, Islamic (Sunni) extremism has been given a cameo role in the same old script.

    Times have changed. People have better access to information and are not easily fooled. The strategy is a bad one, and the inept execution is clearly par for the coarse given its frequency.

    Jay also never disappoints in his well-written, well thought out comments.

  62. BiBiJon says:

    I meant masquerading

  63. kooshy says:

    Jay /Bibijan

    The argument is not that they don’t try to create chaos or inflame the religious and ethnic differences, my argument is that this techniques and tactics have not paid off, and history shows that have not worked in their long term benefit, is been costly not only for their adversaries but to themselves. As the old proverb goes, trying the same mistakes over and over is sheer stupidity, or just because of not knowing or willing to try another alternative. You may want to watch this very interesting Douc videos linked in yesterday’ MOA. I really don’t know, maybe as Jay suggest at the end of the day it may be it’s all intended chaos, but IMO if intended or not,it is pure stupidity’ and non-beneficial for their long term benefit and interests.

    A Movie Recommendation And Open Thread
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/05/a-movie-recommendation-and-open-thread.html#comments

  64. Jay says:

    BiBiJon,

    thank you for the complement.

    And, Kooshy, I appreciate the engagement.

    Let me reiterate, perhaps in a slightly more expanded form, some of the statements I made earlier. An institution engaging in a goal attainment activity will systematically evaluate a number of factors. One of the first exercises in such practices involves: a) the articulation of strategic objectives, b) the evaluation of current conditions, c) evaluation of assets and instruments, d) tactical options, e) methods of measuring progress, f) alternatives and course correction tools, …. These are codified practices, and involve a few more steps which I skip for the sake of clarity, but I note that each of these parameters has an impact on the “solution” – attaining the goal.

    I will focus on the c) assets and instruments. As part of the “equation” that one wishes to optimize, this parameter has resources and costs. All other elements enter the optimization process, but each has its own “weight” or “cost”. What tools are available and what are the costs? It is intuitive to see that if the cost of instruments (say military deployment) becomes the driving factor, then instruments and assets involving this option (say long term occupation) will be out of favor.

    When the cost of parameters change, from a “cold” and “calculated” approach emerges solutions that are neither humane, nor “the best” in an absolute sense – yet, the solutions satisfy the “cost”/”benefit” equation. In the abstract, the US can achieve more favorable solutions (favorable to the cause of the US) over a longer horizon and at greater cost – that may hold true. However, for the US, the goal is not to achieve “the best” in an absolute sense – it is simply to grind away slowly, and at a manageable cost, at the advantages of adversaries thereby prolonging her period of supremacy.

  65. kooshy says:

    “thereby prolonging her period of supremacy.”

    Jay yes we all agree on this point, that tools and instruments and planning are adopted to prolong the period of supremacy, which brings us back to adaptation of some chaotic policies due to desperation or lack of better options at an strategic level expenses. This is the point Hillary makes which I fully agree with. Doesn’t matter if these are adopted with or without intend and for what reason, if I understand you correctly, you think US planers see the US ship is sinking therefore they have adopted a policy of taking everyone else down with themselves, due to lack of better option. If so that is not a good policy and that’s what Hillary is arguing, it’s very similar to keep digging when in the hole.

  66. kooshy says:

    kooshy says:
    May 18, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Jay I also very much appreciate your well thought comments and engagements on this site.

  67. Rehmat says:

    Israeli newspaper has reported that Netanyahu would agree with the US-Iran nuclear deal if it involve good $$$$$$$.

    On the other hand, on Sunday, Netanyahu’s speech writer Dror Eydar, accused Pope Francis of attempting to nail the entire Jewish people to the cross.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/05/19/pope-francis-wants-to-nail-all-jews-to-the-cross/

  68. Jay says:

    kooshy says:
    May 18, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Thank you for your compliment Kooshy.

    Let me state what you had said slightly differently. The sinking ship analogy is incomplete in that it appears to decouple the intertwined relationships of nations. Consider the case of a multiplayer game in which collaboration between players is allowed. No rigorous strategy for “winning” exists in this case – rational or otherwise. Moreover, the very definition of what is considered a “win” is very complex. If as a player your goal is to thrive, then some strategies are better than others. If on the other hand your goal is to dominate, then the only strategies known to be advantageous are “opportunistic strategies” – fishing in murky waters with a sonar! Add to this the declining US situation, and you have the recipe. Muddy up the water so that others can’t fish, and use your superiority to increase your odds of fishing.

  69. fyi says:

    All:

    Useful presentation by Dr. Cordesman from CSIS:

    http://csis.org/files/publication/150518_Gulf_Presentation.pdf

  70. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Kooshy/Jay/BiBiJon

    Perhaps it’s called Americanism.
    https://consortiumnews.com/2015/05/09/america-as-dangerous-flailing-beast/

  71. Kooshy says:

    Sakineh thank you for the link, this is exactly what I am saying, it doesn’t matter for what intend or without one chaos is made, the point is creating chaos has not paid off or improved US’ standing even if it has cost the adversaries as much when before the chaos US was supposedly at advantage and they at disadvantage, the chaos technically has improved their position, like Houties in Yemen, chines in VN, etc.

    “America simply cannot accept its mistakes or that it was ever wrong, for Americanism much resembles a fundamentalist religion whose members are incapable of recognizing or admitting they ever followed anything but the divine plan.

    America has made a costly series of errors over the last half century, demonstrating to others that the America they may have been in awe of in, say, 1950, and may have considered almost godlike and incapable of mistakes, has now proved itself indisputably, in field after field, as often not even capable of governing itself. The irony of a people who are seen as often unable to govern themselves advising others how to govern themselves brings a distinct note of absurdity to American foreign policy.”

  72. kooshy says:

    Americans cannot just simply mess up the world and in doing so get shit on their face and act like this was intended from the beginning (Iranians call it “Lotie nabakhteh”), spinning and keeping the face red by continually slapping yourself is not a sound strategy or foreign policy as is well articulated in the article Sakineh linked. Shit has hit the fan and more spinning will make more mess but as Col. Lang says the neocon children in white house and state have no better idea than spreading the shit and hope it will not spread to the corner they are standing.

  73. Sammy says:

    Always a pleasure to read Engdahl :

    http://journal-neo.org/2015/05/20/russia-turkey-and-the-new-greek-sirtaki/

    …Unlike the failed US Nabucco gas project which lacked gas, the Persian Pipeline, were Iran to be foolish enough to let Washington control it, would have gas, lots of it to weaken Russia’s hold on EU gas markets that were previously supplied via Gazprom via older Ukraine pipelines.

    Putin calls EU bluff

    As we noted at the time last December, Russian President Vladimir Putin caught the EU by surprise when he announced cancellation of the South Stream Gazprom EU project during a visit in Turkey with President Erdogan. There Putin proposed instead an alternative that would pipe Russia’s gas through Turkey to the door of EU member Greece. There different EU states could “take it or leave it.” The advantage for Gazprom and Russia is that they would not be responsible for construction of the needed EU pipelines.

    When he announced the decision, he stated bluntly, “If Europe doesn’t want to realize this, then it means it won’t be realized. We will redirect the flow of our energy resources to other regions of the world. We couldn’t get necessary permissions from Bulgaria, so we cannot continue with the project. We can’t make all the investment just to be stopped at the Bulgarian border. Of course, this is the choice of our friends in Europe.” South Stream would have provided secure delivery to southern EU countries including Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Croatia and also Serbia. It would avoid the current transit pipelines running through Ukraine.

    Now less than six months later Russia and Turkey have completed the landmark deal to begin deliveries of Gazprom Russian gas via a new “Turkish Stream” pipeline into and across Turkey through a pipeline now in construction. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced on May 7 that, “An agreement has been made on the beginning of exploitation and deliveries of [Russian] gas along the Turkish Stream in December 2016.” The statement came following Miller’s meeting earlier in the day with Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız. The new pipeline will travel through Turkey to a gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border for further distribution to European customers.

    A geopolitical cherry on top

    And only minutes after the successful Russia-Turkish agreement, Putin, reported to be a master chess player, made a master geopolitical chess move into the European Union disaster that is called the Eurozone…

  74. pragmatic says:

    Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and now Yemen.

    Does the Iranian government understands that by having to do with the chaos in the aforementioned countries, they are paving the road for US and its partners strategy? Aren’t they?

    As you are saying the US wants disorder and chaos in the region, but who is helping them to achieve and sustain it (imagining they US has started it, if they have)?

    I guess Iran does not have any other choice than being part of the chaos!

    A reply to enlighten me would be appreciated. I am a savvy student!

  75. Karl.. says:

    Pragmatic
    May 20, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Perhaps if Iran didnt involve itself in the region, US would involve itself in Iran years ago.

  76. pragmatic says:

    Karl.. says:
    May 20, 2015 at 11:50 am

    So, we have different kinds of puppets, who in the end of the day are working for United States of America.

  77. hans says:

    Is there a split between Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the IRGC and the Rouhani government? is it being noticed in Iran?

  78. Ataune says:

    @pragmatic

    Before getting to the objective part of the answer let’s not forget one thing: foreign powers are pursuing colonial goals in South-West Asia while independent regional powers like Iran are acting legitimately in a context that has been geographically, historically and culturally theirs.

    US strategy is obviously not to bring chaos to the region, although the outcome of her actions lead exactly to this, particularly since 14 years ago. The Obama administration took command with the belief, shared -correctly in my opinion- with the majority of US policy makers, that Bush doctrine and the actions it triggered were a huge blunder setting back America’s position not only in the Middle-East but also in the whole world. They thought that America needed to circle the wagons for sometimes before getting back on the helm to confront new menaces in the horizon. Based on that they concocted an ill-conceived -as our hosts have continuously explained why in this blog- course of action meant for America to “lead from behind”, at least temporarily, while some of the first tier allies are playing the aggressive “hard ball” in front. What we are witnessing in the Middle-East right now, where the US is still looking desperately to get the political “tempo” back, is the outcome of this and the previous failed policies.

    Iran’s strategy in the region, at least from the end of the Iran-Iraq (1988) war, can easily be summarized as: pacific coexistence and brotherly relationship, in the economic sphere in particular, with all fellow regional state other than the one considered an illegitimate actor. This objective has an additional soft power attribute witch emphasizes on “one man one vote” and a call for disenfranchising the dispossessed whenever necessary. This strategy had the upper hand at the time when the US was pushing back with economic pressure, until when the US push culminated with direct military threat. And, even now, when overt aggression seems to have taken a back-seat, it still looks on prevailing side.

    Overall, the Bush admin, and before him Clinton, got the problem and the policy wrong; Obama admin got the problem right but the policy wrong; while the Iranian leadership had both the problems and the policies generally right. To establish stability and end the chaos the best path of action is to correct the wrongs, not make 2 wrongs by bending the right.

  79. Sammy says:

    This one for James Canning :

    http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/05/20/412039/UK-child-sex-abuse-politician-celebrity-police-

    UK police have investigated more than 14,000 individuals, including politicians and celebrities, over allegations of child abuse in the past.

    The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) revealed on Wednesday that the group, which coordinates separate abuse allegations across Britain, is looking into potential links between multiple British investigations into past child sex abuse.

    It classified 261 of the suspects as people of public prominence; 76 are politicians- both national and local figures, 43 are from the music industry, 135 from TV, film or radio and seven from the world of sport. It also said of the total, 216 are dead now.

    The report suggested most of the other suspects were offenders who operated inside schools, children’s homes and religious bodies…

  80. Jay says:

    Sakineh Bagom says:
    May 19, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Sakineh,

    thank you for the link.

    The historical observations by the author are useful, but the conclusions are not correct in my view.

    At the present moment, according to the plurality of evidence, US agencies are continuing their agitating activities in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Pakistan, …. and even in northwest and southeast Iran. Given the rise of ISIS, and the superficially intense interest in eradicating ISIS, one would have to ask, why would the US be engaged in undermining Iran – the only stable force in the region with the required ability and influence required to push ISIS back?

    One theory, expressed in comic terms, goes as follows. The massive US diplomatic and policy making apparatus has been hit by the “buffoon” virus! The virus has wiped their memory of Afghanistan and the Mujahideen, and the Taliban, and Nairobi, and Egypt, and Somalia, and Nigeria, and all the other blowbacks. Alternatively, they suffer from psychosis — they keep doing the same thing expecting different results.

    I do not think so! Let me remind everyone of one instance – of what Karl Rove said in a moment or “lapse” ..

    “That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We are an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And, while you are studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    Mr. Rove, is not an isolated phenomena of American leadership! Good students should stop studying these “created realities” and begin studying the mindset of reality-creators. What realities can an empire create?! And, to what end?!

  81. Sammy says:

    Makes perfect sense

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/05/obama-administration-dilly-dallying-on-islamic-state-action.html#comments

    @ dh | 21

    ”I’m just trying to understand the US position regarding ISIS.”

    Its quite simple – ISIS, AN and other “freedom fighters” are US and co proxy forces to achieve their geopolitical goals.

    1. Destruction of Syria, if this goal would have been achieved faster like it was in Libya, these Al Qaeda franchises would already be transferred to the new target – Iran, after that to Russia’s south or China’s volatile region.

    2. Iraq was getting too close with Iran and dared to kicked out US army, therefore ISIS and Kurds (both US puppets) coordinated attack on the state significantly weakened it, opened the doors for Kurds independence and returned Iraq to US sphere of influence. I bet permanent bases incoming soon.

    3. If Syria’s north is overtaken by Al Qaeda and kurds, the pipeline project would go ahead to the great satisfaction of the West and Gulf monarchies.

    4. If Al Qaeda would win in Syria, many goals would be achieved: puppet installed, ties with Iran and Hezbollah severed, nobody would raise Golan’s question anymore, also Israel already grabbed more territory in recent years, and would occupy even more if Al Qaeda wins, etc. If Hezbollah is weakened, Israel might try to occupy Lebanon again.

    These are just off the top of my head, I’m sure there are more plans for Al Qaeda (ISIS, AN, or whatever new re-branding they do). Therefore any illusion of ISIS as “West enemy” is just a PR campaign and for some reason some fell victim to this propaganda.

    Posted by: Harry | May 20, 2015 1:36:39 AM | 26

  82. Kooshy says:

    Ataune says:
    May 20, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Yes, well said, it’s what I argued here, not all wrongs and chaos are intentional, never the less
    They will never admit wrongs and mistakes in policy making, for not a more convening strategy they will spin in way that one will think they can’t be so stupid so they must have planed or meant for this chaos, weary much like ” we now make our own new realities on the ground and you will report it” which came from the last administration’ White House children.

  83. Rehmat says:

    @ masoud – Do you know who owns TodaysZaman? Ask Rita Katz!!!

  84. hans says:

    Rehmat says:
    May 20, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    the mere fact he has so strongly insisted, shows that the negotiators were quite willing to take inspection as part of the overall settlement there is a split growing everyday. I still believe there is a huge divide between the SL,IRGC and the current government. Time is running out. Don’t sleep walk into a disaster all for the sake of $$$$

  85. Karl.. says:

    Rehmat, hans

    Seems strange to me, by Iran to think that Parchin etc could be left out of the deal doesnt it? Also strange that they havent manage this issue during the p5+1 talks already.

  86. pragmatic says:

    Right after their long meetings in Switzerland, I said there won’t be a deal! This time the US wanted to buy time, for what reasons, to be seen.

  87. Karl.. says:

    Does the tragic news coming out that “isil” have taken Palmyra is the end of Syria? Is this the end for Assad rule?

    Just read this:

    7 civilians killed in terrorist shelling attacks in Damascus, Daraa and Aleppo
    http://www.sana.sy/en/?p=41759

    It really pains to see Syria being destroyed like this, humanely and as a land.

  88. kooshy says:

    Karl.. says:
    May 20, 2015 at 11:50 am

    “Perhaps if Iran didnt involve itself in the region, US would involve itself in Iran years ago.”

    Karl- really you mean involve? Couldn’t find a better word? Iran is part of the region the most influential for 3 millennia; unless you can move Iran to another continent you couldn’t dis-involve Iran from region.
    Can Germany stop involve herself in Europe? Better yet stop being a defeated client of US; kind of dis-involve herself from her American masters?

  89. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    I can’t believe that all the well read commenters here are still arguing that the “deal” is about nukes and the number of spinning centrifuges. Perhaps James 20% has had a profound affect on them.
    Well, as I’ve been mentioning, this has nothing to do with nukes and everything to do with containing Iran, as well as keeping Israel’s supremacy in ME.
    Think about it, Tuesday morning it is agreed by the negotiating team that, Iran can have 5328 centrifuges spinning. Wednesday morning, no we checked with our bosses and they say 5327. Now go back and check with your bosses and see that’s acceptable.
    Now, repeat that to, going back to 2013 when the negotiations started. See what I mean?

  90. fyi says:

    kooshy says:

    May 21, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Yes, truly deplorable.

    One would hope that the culture of clan and family and sect that gave rise to this war would, in time, be replaced by a more expansive and more inclusive culture.

  91. fyi says:

    Karl.. says:

    May 21, 2015 at 8:34 am

    The previous post was meant as a response to your post.

  92. fyi says:

    All:

    Amusing Arab propaganda (against Iran):

    http://www.mepc.org/articles-commentary/commentary/iranian-regime-nears-its-sell-date

    Truly laughable – especially towards the end….

  93. hans says:

    Looks like i was right regarding the split between the SL and the Government led by Rouhani and Rafasjani, who viewed the settlement as the licence to make money.

    TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined the government’s full obedience to the Supreme Leader’s policies, stressing that there won’t be any nuclear deal with the world powers in case they emphasize inspection of Iran’s military sites and access to scientific secrets

  94. Nasser says:

    fyi says: May 21, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks, I LOL’ed pretty hard.

    On a sadder note it seems MEPC has been increasingly going to hell in a handbasket, posting crap like that.

  95. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    Netanyahu would very much like to block any deal on the Iranian nuclear dispute. He warns that Iran will rapidly increase its economic strength if a deal is made.
    You apparently think a deal will result in an economic weakening of Iran?

  96. James Canning says:

    Sammy,

    You fixation on sex once again manifests itself.