Lion of the Blogosphere

The world needs a cop

There have been comments along the line of “why does the U.S. have to get involved in this Syria mess?”

The compelling reason is that just as bad neighborhoods in New York City need police to keep law and order, the Middle East is a bad neighborhood that needs a cop to keep order.

So then the obvious next question is why does the cop have to be the United States? The answer is that we are the only country capable of doing the job. You also don’t want multiple countries playing cop. Just as we don’t want gangs of armed vigilantes wandering around the bad neighborhoods of New York City.

Maybe after another few decades of immigration from third-world countries and other left-wing policies, the United States will no longer be the world’s richest country, and China will take over the job of being the world’s cop. I can’t say that this is a future we should look forward to. (On the other hand, I suspect that China will be a better cop because they will take less crap than we do.)

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 28, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Posted in International

75 Responses

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  1. We can’t really afford to be the world cop any more. I work for the army in accounting and just got furloughed because they don’t even have money to pay us. We have probably a two year work backlog and no money to hire anyone else. They are even talking about reductions in force from where we are now. The federal government as a whole is running trillion dollar a year deficits. Future liabilities for things like social security, medicare, civilian government and military pensions are at least fifty trillion and you would have to raise future tax rates to astronomical levels to actually pay them. And, like you said, immigration is leading to a less educated and productive future workforce so there will be less overall to tax.

    Mark

    August 28, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    • Send no aid or munitions to anyone ever, only send contraception.

      not too late

      August 28, 2013 at 8:59 PM

  2. China knows it doesn’t need to play world cop to get whet it needs. Outside of the Chinese version of the Greater East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere, China wouldn’t waste a renminbi exercising military muscle. The world would probably become a much more stable place.

    Comrade

    August 28, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    • That was true of us, too, at one time. Alas, the ability to act created an irresistible temptation to act.

      Tarl

      August 28, 2013 at 1:28 PM

  3. If we are going to be world cop, then I want some old-fashioned tributes running back to the US.

    The problem, of course, is that nations that become world cops end up broke and populated by their enemies. Nations that avoid becoming world cops get to remain real, integral nations.

    The Anti-Gnostic

    August 28, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    • That third-world people are working for slave-labor like wages so we can have cheap iphones is a form of tribute.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 28, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      • Labor costs are a very small part of these products. The real reason companies put factories in China is to avoid all kinds of regulations, labor, city planning, and environmental. On top of this there is a romantic idea of fortunes to be made in China, that seems to go back a long way. If you haven’t read “Poorly Made in China” it’s very interesting, and seeing these poor saps get fleeced by the Chinese is almost funny.

        thrasymachus33308

        August 28, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      • thrasymachus33308 makes an interesting point. What exactly is the benefit to an American company from sending manufacturing to China? Why is it so much cheaper there? I would like to see an accounting estimate of the various factors thrasymachus33308 mentions. Because he is right, you seldom hear about anything other than wages.

        steve@steve.com

        August 28, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      • How does firing cruise missiles into the Levant give us cheap gewgaws from China?

        You keep repeating this cheap oil argument. Have you netted out the cost of a zillion-dollar military in it? Have you considered what is not seen–the failure to develop alternatives to oil from the Saudi peninsula?

        The Anti-Gnostic

        August 28, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      • There’s no good alternative to oil

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2013 at 10:24 PM

      • Hardly. They’re not doing it as a favor to us. They were slaving long before we got there and they actually see their current form of “slave labor” as preferable to the old version. Everything is relative.

        Allerious

        September 1, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    • In “Debt: The First Five Thousand Years”, David Graeber makes a fascinating argument that the purchase of US Treasury bonds functions as de facto tribute. It’s just disguised as (a series of rolling) loans.

      l33tminion

      August 28, 2013 at 4:54 PM

  4. In “bad neighborhoods” the citizens PAY the police to keep order, and (theoretically anyway) the police are accountable to the people via the local government the people elected.

    Is the Middle East going to pay us to keep order? We need to send them a bill for Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Is the US government accountable to the people of the Middle East? Last I heard the US government was accountable only to the American people – and therefore should only protect the interests of the American people, not the Middle Eastern people. Arguably the interests of the Middle Eastern people would be better protected if we left the place alone, since so many of them die whenever we “keep order”.

    “You also don’t want multiple countries playing cop.” — Who is “you”? As an American I couldn’t care less if “multiple countries” policed the Middle East. If I were a Middle Easterner, I wouldn’t want “one cop” who was a foreigner. I’d want my own people to protect me, and other people’s cops to protect them.

    “Just as we don’t want gangs of armed vigilantes wandering around the bad neighborhoods of New York City.” — after a period of instability, the gangs would reach a state of equilibrium, and things would be fine. Just like if we let the Middle East sort itself out. Since a lot of them hate us anyway, there is nothing to be lost when they fight each other.

    “China will take over the job of being the world’s cop.” — Fine with me! Let them knock heads together in the Middle East and Africa and reap the hate and expense that this role entails.

    Tarl

    August 28, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    • People in poor neighborhoods pay far less in taxes than they get in government aid. The cops to patrol the poor neighborhoods are paid by the taxes of people in rich neighborhoods.

      And if your hands-off policy results in gulf oil fields being bombed, then you’d be sorry you were too cheap to pay for preventive actions to maintain regional stability that could have prevented that from happening.

      Remember what happened in LA when the police were hands off after the Rodney King verdict and there were massive riots? LA would have been better off paying for extra police overtime. Wealthy taxpayers wound up paying for the damage.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 28, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      • And if your hands-off policy results in gulf oil fields being bombed, then you’d be sorry you were too cheap to pay for preventive actions to maintain regional stability that could have prevented that from happening.

        There are certainly actions the US can take where the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. One problem is that it is very difficult to predict beforehand whether something will actually be in our long term interest. Another problem is that in policing the world we pay a hugely disproportionate share of the costs (money spent, lives lost, and blowback) relative to the share of the benefits we receive. Why should we pay all of the costs of of a police action meant to ensure the supply of oil for the whole world?

        reynald

        August 28, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      • As the richest country in the world, and the biggest oil consumer in the world, the safety of Middle East oil supplies benefits us more than it benefits anyone else.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      • People in poor neighborhoods pay far less in taxes than they get in government aid. The cops to patrol the poor neighborhoods are paid by the taxes of people in rich neighborhoods.

        I don’t pay taxes in northern VA to police Anacostia in DC. I don’t see why Americans should pay taxes to police the Middle East. If the Middle Easterners want to pay us, then we’ll talk.

        if your hands-off policy results in gulf oil fields being bombed, then you’d be sorry you were too cheap to pay for preventive actions to maintain regional stability that could have prevented that from happening.

        I am fine with buying oil from whatever regional strongman winds up in charge of the fields – and let him pay to protect his own investment. If he overcharges us, that will still cost less than it costs to provide “regional stability”.

        Remember what happened in LA when the police were hands off after the Rodney King verdict and there were massive riots? LA would have been better off paying for extra police overtime. Wealthy taxpayers wound up paying for the damage.

        If the Middle Easterners destroy their own neighborhood, we won’t have any obligation to rebuild it. Nor should we! Even the idea that we should rebuild countries we attack is absurd. “Go Roman and Go Home” works for me.

        We shouldn’t have rebuilt LA, either. If the animals go on a rampage and destroy their own nest, nobody else should pay for a new nest.

        Tarl

        August 28, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      • “I don’t pay taxes in northern VA to police Anacostia in DC.”

        Actually you do. DC gets a huge amount of federal aid which comes from taxpayers all over.

        “I am fine with buying oil from whatever regional strongman winds up in charge of the fields”

        If the infrastructure is blown up, then there won’t be oil for anyone to sell.

        “If the Middle Easterners destroy their own neighborhood, we won’t have any obligation to rebuild it.”

        I didn’t write about any obligation to rebuild the Middle East. But we don’t want oil fields destroyed, it would be bad for the U.S. and bad for the entire world.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      • U.S. interventions in the Middle East could just as easily decrease stability as increase it. It would be the Obama administration deciding when to intervene and do they really have the wisdom and knowledge of that area of the world to know which interventions would be helpful and which wouldn’t?

        Mark

        August 28, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      • Saudi Arabia wants us to intervene, and the Saudi Arabians know the Middle East well and reliably favor their own interests, which in this case coincide with our own.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      • Oil Fields destroyed? Then American oil gets more expensive and foreigners give back some of the money they earned in America. Good for America, isn’t it?

        Besides Syria has very little oil.

        Colmainen

        August 28, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      • Actually you do. DC gets a huge amount of federal aid which comes from taxpayers all over.

        You know what I mean. And it doesn’t help your argument at all. The entire world does not pay a “world federal tax” to pay for the US military to be the world police.

        If the infrastructure is blown up, then there won’t be oil for anyone to sell.

        Why would it be blown up?

        U.S. interventions in the Middle East could just as easily decrease stability as increase it.

        U.S. interventions in the Middle East actually have decreased stability. No doubt about it. Does anyone really want to look at Middle Eastern politics from 2003 to 2013 and argue we have increased stability?

        Tarl

        August 28, 2013 at 8:00 PM

  5. It is past the time for US to play world cop.

    Woodrow Wilson should have kept America out of the war. He spent a year to soften the American people by enlisting the help of Walter Lippman, the Walter Cronkite of the day.

    What did the Kaiser do against America, besides the Lusitania? Wilson’s folly opened a series of cans of worms which are still with us.

    America should just focus on the Western Hemisphere and stop the invasion from down there. It is ridiculous to boast America is the world’s policeman when it cannot police its own borders!

    Colmainen

    August 28, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    • Thinking of America as strictly a Western Hemisphere nation is thinking from a century ago. Today we have to worry about oil supply shocks from the Middle East, the global Internet, intercontinental ballistic missiles, etc.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 28, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      • Stop invading the world, stop inviting the world, and so many of those “global problems” go away.

        Why do people want intercontinental ballistic missiles? To stop the self-appointed global cop from messing with them. Stop messing with them and they’ll have little incentive to acquire intercontinental ballistic missiles.

        Tarl

        August 28, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      • I never said that we need to “invite the world.” Sure, that’s liberal policy, but I’m not a liberal and I’m not talking about immigration in this blog post.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      • There is the giant shale oil boom over there, and the middle eastern oil goes mostly to Asia anyways.

        If America looked at its back door there would be no Castro, no Venezuela and its oil needs would have been satisfied.

        With MAD a worry about intercontinental missiles can be put to rest since the other side will also go back to the stone age. Global Internet? Just a minor sector of society which can be given up.

        America’s bigwigs just can’t imagine it is no longer able to police the world since it is not getting enough rewards for that.

        Colmainen

        August 28, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      • Oil is a global market. Higher oil prices in Europe means higher oil prices in Texas.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      • The two (actually three: invade the world, invite the world, in debt to the world) cannot be compartmentalized. I can sketch out the premises if you want, but TL; DR version: empires gotta empire; they are cancerous organisms.

        The British and French took turns being world cop and are now disappearing under a flood of immigration and net tax consumption. We are headed in the same direction. Time for Americans to stop wandering and prepare to defend their homeland. My language seems dramatic now but it won’t be in a few decades.

        The Anti-Gnostic

        August 29, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    • Agree completely.

      Tarl

      August 28, 2013 at 2:53 PM

  6. Keeping order in the Middle East is impossible. Most of the region is beyond all hope.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    August 28, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    • Israel should be allowed to have a mandate for Middle East. It is the only really functioning country in that entire region. The Palestinians pretend to hate the Israelis, but the fact is quite a few percent of the Palestinian national income come from people who work menial jobs in Israeli-held territories.

      Colmainen

      August 28, 2013 at 3:50 PM

  7. The analogy with New York is false. Bad neighborhoods in New York (or Philadelphia, Baltimore, Newark, LA, Chicago, etc) are indeed dangerous, but, for better or worse, they are US territory. The US, like almost every other country, has a duty to “insure domestic tranquility,” as the Constitution puts it. The US has no duty to promote order in other parts of the world, especially ones in which we have no vital interest. The US has tolerated or actively promoted the overthrow of various nasty Middle Eastern dictators, and what follows them is almost always worse. Democracy doesn’t work in this part of the world. In Syria, the Assad regime is one of the most brutal on the planet and has murdered thousands of its own citizens. It has close ties with Iran and Hezbollah. But the Assads, for all their nastiness, have protected religious minorities (Alawites, Shiites, Druze, Christians, etc.). The rebel groups have strong ties to Al-Qaeda. What a happy choice! If the rebels win, we can confidently anticipate the murder or exile of the religious minorities.

    It is just possible that Obama and his flunkies are playing a subtle game here, in that they fear that the Assad forces may be getting the upper hand and wish to strike them just hard enough to prevent them from winning but not enough to allow the rebels to triumph. This would cause the civil war to go on for as long as possible, which is the best possible outcome for the US and the West. I don’t know if they’re that smart, but, if that’s what’s going on, it may be the right thing to do.

    Black Death

    August 28, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    • As the only nation capable of maintaining world order, we have an ethical obligation to do so.

      Regarding democracy: I never said anything about installing democracies anywhere.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 28, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      • “As the only nation capable of maintaining world order, we have an ethical obligation to do so.”

        ….

        Really? An ethical obligation based on what, exactly? Woodrow Wilson said we had an ethical obligation to “make the world safe for democracy.” We ended up spending billions of dollars and thousands of American lives making it safe for the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. Right now we have tremendous problems at home, including a skyrocketing deficit, a rotten economy and a looming immigration/demographic disaster. Why should we bankrupt our country and waste our scarce resources playing policeman to the world? We can’t afford it, and, as the old saying goes, nobody likes a policeman. The countries that we try to “police” generally despise us and never seem any better for our efforts. A century ago, the European Great Powers went broke trying to maintain their empires. Ditto for the USSR. We should not repeat their mistakes.

        Black Death

        August 28, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      • We’re not going to bankrupt our country by shooting a billion dollars of cruise missiles once every few years.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    • “We’re not going to bankrupt our country by shooting a billion dollars of cruise missiles once every few years.”

      ….

      True enough. But that’s evading the point, which is not a few cruise missiles fired against ill-defined targets in Syria. If that were all, no one would care. But it’s not. The issue is symbolic of a poisonous attitude to “make the world safe for democracy (or whatever).” The amount of money we’ve squandered on these useless efforts in in the last twenty years or so is measured in the trillions, not billions. And here we go again. Remember Colin Powell’s bogus presentation to the UN about the WMD in Iraq? Now we have chemical weapons in Syria. Well. here’s at least one expert, Carla del Ponte, former prosecutor for the war crimes tribunal in Yugoslavia, who thinks the chemical weapons were used by the rebels, not the Assad regime. Is she right? Who knows? But why should we care? They’re all a bunch of thugs who hate us. The issue isn’t the cost of a few cruise missiles, which won’t make much of a difference anyway. The issue is trillions of dollars squandered on useless wars and interventions in areas where we have no vital interest.

      Black Death

      August 28, 2013 at 7:56 PM

  8. The United States needs to conquer some territories and establish colonies. Some people in the world are simply incapable of managing their own affairs and need to be ruled by outsiders.

    Blog Raju

    August 28, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    • Well, let them mess up their own countries. Just don’t let them in.

      Colmainen

      August 28, 2013 at 7:57 PM

  9. My general rule of thumb is that when Obama, John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Chuck Schumer all agree on something, whether it’s Syria or immigration, then I’m opposed to it.

    Sgt. Joe Friday

    August 28, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    • While that makes a mildly humorous sound bite, sometimes Republicans and Democrats agreeing just means they are all acting like adults.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 28, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      • I did not say there could not be exceptions. But generally when you have putative political adversaries singing from the same hymnal, it should raise suspicions. Same goes for any legislation that is described as “comprehensive.”

        Sgt. Joe Friday

        August 28, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      • sometimes Republicans and Democrats agreeing just means they are all acting like adults.

        It also means Joe Prole is going to take it in the ass. Or at least, that’s the way to bet.

        Tarl

        August 28, 2013 at 8:04 PM

  10. Vacuums of power will be filled.
    If not the U.S. , then which country or group?

    jz

    August 28, 2013 at 4:02 PM

  11. We probably don’t need to be the world’s cop with our own borders so porous.

    Camlost

    August 28, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    • We could easily prevent illegal immigration if there was the political will to do so.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 28, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    • Just as the Vietnam War could have been won were there the will to do so. (Not being sarcastic)

      Hugh Lygon

      August 28, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      • We never attacked North Vietnam except for a few bombings which they didn’t care about.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      • Yes, we should have occupied them like the French did from 1945-54. That would have completely crushed their resistance.

        Tarl

        August 28, 2013 at 8:02 PM

      • Half of Korea was won, but it’s a peninsula. Patraeus crushed the Iraqi insurgency, but no jungles.

        Go all the way to the equivalent of the Yalu. If the Chinese didn’t do as in Korea, the war would have been won eventually.

        Hugh Lygon

        September 2, 2013 at 6:18 AM

  12. “Saudi Arabia wants us to intervene, and the Saudi Arabians know the Middle East well and reliably favor their own interests, which in this case coincide with our own.”

    Is the Saudi foreign policy driven by rational self-interest or is it just a group of religious fanatics wanting to start a Middle East wide war against a rival group of religious fanatics? U.S. foreign policy shouldn’t be based on the premise that Moslems on either side over there are highly rational and intelligent people.

    Mark

    August 28, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    • The Saudi royal family just wants to be left alone so they can enjoy their billion-dollar fortunes. War, revolution, etc, would ruin that for them.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 28, 2013 at 5:52 PM

  13. quote
    “As the richest country in the world, and the biggest oil consumer in the world, the safety of Middle East oil supplies benefits us more than it benefits anyone else.”

    If Americans switched over to hybrid cars it might be cheaper than paying the cost to maintain a police / military presence in the Middle East. Actually using fancy high tech hybrid technology is not even necessary, simply just driving smaller cars would drastically reduce our oil usage. For example the honda civic from the 1990’s could achieve a freeway efficiency of 50mpg. The technology that is necessary to solve our problems has already been around for 20 years, we just didn’t want to do it.

    Ode

    August 28, 2013 at 7:00 PM

  14. The moral imperative for the US to be world cop still escapes me.

    However, I do note that one of the benefits of the British Imperial structure was that it provided a graduated distance between the heart of empire and the peripheries. There was a hierarchy and a path for possessions to move through to move towards independence (if that’s what they wanted). It was more of a pain in the ass for the Brits than it was worth from a financial perspective, but it was a decent operating system for keeping a 1/4 of the world relatively happy. The USG/Cathedral’s universalism provides a premise that every Paki w/internet access through a smartphone considers themselves a half-assed member in good standing. The proposition nation nonsense has effectively extended the franchise to anyone anywhere who watches “Real Housewives” re-runs, the latest Hollywood blow ’em up or the NBA finals.

    If we could do world cop like the Brits did (based on real culture and order), I might be up for walking a beat. But not when the authority to be world cop is derived from… Miley Cyrus and Jay Z.

    Ex-pat in Oz

    August 28, 2013 at 7:07 PM

  15. quote
    “We probably don’t need to be the world’s cop with our own borders so porous.”

    I predict in the future nobody will care that the border is so porous.
    People will think of themselves not in nationalistic terms but instead as “global citizens”.
    Of course this is not going to happen overnight, but it will be the ultimate outcome of the 21st century.

    The idea that just because you are an American citizen means you should be more entitled to a job produced in America than a foreigner will be associated with 20th century type thinking, basically outdated.

    Ode

    August 28, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    • Uh, what part of human nature is it that makes people want to be global citizens? I mean, most people on this planet are not people you would want in your neighborhood, nor are their places of residence the sort of place you would want to live. Of course, they will want to move in right next to you, and of course you won’t want them to. You must be terribly naive.

      not too late

      August 28, 2013 at 9:05 PM

      • You missed the point. I never said we’re all going to hold hands and sing “We are the world”. Society will still be highly stratified, but instead on national lines it will break along social economic lines.
        The working class will live in working class neighborhoods.
        The middle class will live in middle class neighborhoods.
        The upper class will live in upper class neighborhoods.

        Think of LA today. There are people from 200 different nations living in the same city. But You don’t see people holding hands singing, “We are the world”. People live in their own neighborhood based on their social economic level. It is easier to cross the Mexican / Californian border than it is to cross into an upper class neighborhood in LA, just look at the housing prices.

        Ode

        August 29, 2013 at 8:52 AM

  16. Although not a neo-con, as the term is commonly used now, I do recognize that the US has a distinct role to play in the world, at least for this period of our history, in helping maintain a stable world order. With Syria, there is a principle at stake and the Obama administration is preparing to attack Syria based on it; you can’t use chemical weapons; particularly on civilians. There are not many taboos in warfare, but using chemical weapons would certainly be on that short list.

    So, if we are going to enforce as a norm, the idea that using chemical weapons against civilian populations is verboten, then we have to react. Although I can’t believe that was actually Obama’s plan. The reason we are attacking Syria is so Obama can feel butch. He made up that “red line” statement about chemical weapons thinking he would never have to pay up since at the time, all of the experts were saying that Assad had only weeks left.

    So which is more important? Leaving secular Baathists and Islamic fundamentalist to fight it out, or interfering and possibility helping the Islamic fundamentalists by inflicting damage to the Syrian Military?
    Although I’m as opposed to the use of chemical weapons against civilians as the next Westerner, we let the Iraqi’s go at it against the Iranians for years and didn’t lose any sleep over it, and in this case, my inclination is to just get a good nights sleep. Eventually, the conflict in Syria will be over, and an enemy of the United States will be in charge. I don’t see much advantage in hastening that day.

    Mike

    August 28, 2013 at 9:10 PM

  17. The current Middle East is the result of failed European meddling during and in the aftermath of the WW I.

    The Middle East was nominally part of the Ottoman Empire before WW I, expect the Ottoman Empire looked the other way while Western powers occupied and detached portions of it, like British occupation of Egypt. The Ottoman Empire entered WW I on the side of Germany, and at the end of the war collapsed. The British, with help of some Arabs (Lawrence of Arabia, but Lawrence’s account is not historically accurate about the capture of Damascus) occupied what today is Iraq, Iran, Jordon, Israel, Palestine and Syria as well as Egypt.

    England and France tried to occupy the Middle East, establish governments and restore order to the region following WW I. England and France are responsible for the current division of much of the middle east into countries. Saudi Arabia was given its independence immediately. Most of the other countries were at least semi-independent by the mid 1930s. Although both England and France continue to intervene.

    In the middle of WW I, the English government became convinced that Germany was about to endorse Jewish Zionism to make sure the Communists that had just taken over in Russia would get out and say out of WW I. There is no real evidence the Germans were actually considering this, but England produced the Balfour Declaration in 1917 proclaiming that there should be a Jewish homeland in Palestine. As a result, between WW I and II, many Jews began to migrate to Palestine, which was under British control, and bought up land. At the end of WW II thousands of surviving European Jews wanted to migrate to Palestine. England tried to back track on the Balfour Declaration, but ended fighting both the Arabs and Jews for control of Palestine and eventually gave up. A UN mandate divided Palestine between Arabs and Jews, but the Arabs would not accept that and declared war. The Arabs lost that war and by the end the state of Israel was considerably larger than UN mandate.

    You probably know the more recent history. The whole region has never recovered from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Various western powers have tried to establish stable governments, but the situation has just gotten worse. The recent US invasion of Iraq destabilized the region. Now there are rebellions all over the region with people trying to overthrow the strong man governments that have dominated the region. Most of the countries are now very unstable with weak governments at best and lots of unrest, if not worse.

    It is really hard for me to see how Western intervention in the Middle East can possibly make anything better. The West has been trying for almost 100 years, and things are just getting worse.

    mikeca

    August 28, 2013 at 9:19 PM

  18. Saying the world needs a cop, is like saying we need to close the achievement gap. Beyond keeping weapons of mass destruction (i.e. nuclear and large scale chemical) out of the worst hands, we should leave hopelessly dysfunctional societies alone, other than humanitarian efforts.

    islandmommy

    August 28, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    • isn’t protecting civilian populations from chemical warfare considered a humanitarian effort? this is the reasoning the government is using to gain the support of the American people for this involvement.

      logik

      August 29, 2013 at 8:22 PM

  19. A million kalpas from now after this universe has collapsed on itself or rarefied to nothing there may be a boondoggle as bad as the US military, but I doubt it.

    Hugh Lygon

    August 28, 2013 at 10:23 PM

  20. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    Hugh Lygon

    August 28, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    • Neither the military nor the defense industry is pushing for war in Syria.

      Tarl

      August 29, 2013 at 8:10 AM

    • And I am so sick of that quote. If it was relevant in 1961, it is not relevant now. The MIC is way, way down on the list of powerful lobbies in Washington. But we never seem to hear about how the public sector employees have unwarranted influence and misplaced power that endanger liberty and democracy.

      Tarl

      August 29, 2013 at 8:42 AM

      • It’s so way down the list that the US military is still 100 times bigger than any use-value would justify.

        Hugh Lygon

        August 30, 2013 at 1:01 AM

  21. Tarl:
    “I am fine with buying oil from whatever regional strongman winds up in charge of the fields – and let him pay to protect his own investment. If he overcharges us, that will still cost less than it costs to provide “regional stability”.

    Colmainen:

    “If America looked at its back door there would be no Castro, no Venezuela and its oil needs would have been satisfied.”

    Latin America is not fundamentally a serious part of the world. Whoever rules Venezuela, Chavez or a right-winger has nothing to offer but oil and has to sell it to us. Why get upset about the rhetoric that politicians in that region use.

    Herb Dregs

    August 29, 2013 at 2:46 AM

  22. I agree that the Middle East is a “bad neighborhood.” That does not instill in me as an individual, or the US as a country, an obligation to police it, any more than the US should police Detroit or South Central LA or parts of Chicago. (And when did “police” become a euphemism for “send armed troops”? Korean War, I suspect.)

    I write this as a neo-con who enthusiastically supported Bush’s war in Iraq and reluctantly supported the war in Afghanistan. I would like to believe that I have learned from my mistakes.

    art.the.nerd

    August 29, 2013 at 11:10 AM

  23. The US has been as likely as not to support the wrong side, invade the wrong country, or just totally fuck up any military intervention, for the last few decades. The US is the problem, not the solution.

    aisaac

    August 29, 2013 at 11:23 AM

  24. “China will take over the job of being the world’s cop.”

    Never in a million years. The Chinese are isolationists, beta cowards who avoid conflict as much as possible.

    JS

    August 29, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    • To even imagine China as the world’s cop, is as bad as seeing the typical introverted, yet control obsessive Asian guy take charge as a CEO in Corporate America. There is a reason as to why the bamboo ceiling exists.

      JS

      August 30, 2013 at 7:50 AM

      • What’s the analogy between the Asian CEO in Corporate America and China as the world’s cop?

        What does bamboo ceiling mean?

        Zach

        August 31, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    • The Chinese intervened during the Korean War:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_war#China_intervenes_.28October_.E2.80.93_December_1950.29

      The Chinese intervention was critical in beating back the Americans, saving North Korea, and reaching a stalemate that divided the country into 2 and preserved North Korea. Before China intervened, the Americans had taken over the entire peninsula.

      Zach

      August 30, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      • The beta effeminate Chinese do not have the chutzpah to intervened in the Middle East dealing with the machismo alpha Muslims. A tiny country like Israel has more muscle than a big softie like China when it comes to dealing with the Middle East.

        JS

        August 31, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      • They don’t really have an interest in intervening in the Middle East though.

        They did have the chutzpah to intervene in the Korean War to beat back the Americans. Would it take more chutzpah to fight Muslims? Are Muslims more machismo alpha than Americans?

        Is China weaker now than they were in the 50s? Do you think Israel or the Muslims could beat China in a war?

        Zach

        August 31, 2013 at 5:29 PM


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