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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Thomas Friedman, "Contain and Amplify": While Allowing Iran to Build Atomic Bombs?

And I thought the Times editorial entitled "Iran’s Secret Trial of a Journalist" was naive . . .

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Contain and Amplify," Thomas Friedman writes of the mounting muddle in the Muslim Middle East. Claiming that he has "never seen it this bad," Friedman tells us:

"For now, I see only two ways coherent self-government can re-emerge in Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Syria: If an outside power totally occupies them, snuffs out their sectarian wars, suppresses the extremists and spends the next 50 years trying to get Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis and Libyans to share power as equal citizens. Even that might not work. Anyway, it’s not going to happen. The other is just wait for the fires to burn themselves out. The Lebanese civil war ended after 14 years by reconciliation-through-exhaustion. All sides accepted the principle of “no victor/no vanquished,” and everyone got a piece of the pie."

Unbeknownst to would-be Middle East expert Friedman, the fighting in Lebanon never ended, and it is only a matter of time until the Sunni/Shiite conflict in Syria spills across the border into Lebanon. Hezbollah chieftain Hassan Nasrallah is obviously concerned by this inevitability, which he now admits poses an "existential threat" to his terrorist organization.

Friedman's solution:

"U.S. policy now should be 'containment, plus amplification.' Let’s help those who manifest the will to contain ISIS, like Jordan, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and the Kurds in Iraq, and amplify any constructive things that groups in Yemen, Iraq, Libya, or Syria are ready to do with their power, but we must not substitute our power for theirs. This has to be their fight for their future. If the fight against ISIS is not worth it to them, it surely can’t be for us."

Or in other words, let's not do anything.

Unfortunately, however, Obama is doing something: In furtherance of his pursuit of a presidential legacy, he is determined to grant Iran the right to build a nuclear arsenal within a decade, which, as we have heard from the Saudis, is destined to trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Should the US watch from the sidelines as the mullahs mount their new toys on ICBMs capable of reaching America's shores? Should the US stand idly by as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and the UAE build their own bombs?

Yes, ISIS is a problem, but it is a Sunni response to Obama's unwillingness to stand in the way of aggressive Iranian efforts to achieve suzerainty over the region -  by way of Assad in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and the Houthis in Yemen.

Obama stuck his foot deep in the muck, and it won't be easy extricating it. More to the point, mindless declarations by Friedman that it is "their fight" are of no value whatsoever, given the threat of a future nuclear war which will likely span continents.

1 comment:

  1. 'send in all the lawyers' is Obama's view.
    He really does not think in terms of 'war with bullets'. His military has to fight climate change, not medeival religious zealots...

    Maybe Tom thinks the Saudis and Egyptians will build enough border moats to 'contain' ISIS.