Belatedly, the Bush administration has embraced a Cold War paradigm in the Middle East, with the good guys -- Egypt, the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia -- being paid off to contain the bad guys -- al-Qaida, Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah.
The Bush administration's proposed $60 billion to $70 billion Mideast arms deal takes us back to the cynical realpolitik of traditional great power politics, with puppet-master America jerking around half-willing strongmen with billion-dollar strings. Washington is offering to sell $20 billion of high-tech weaponry to Saudi Arabia, and also sell arms to the Gulf States of Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. To ensure that Israel maintains its military superiority over its neighbors, the U.S. will increase the already vast amount of annual military aid it gives the Jewish state by 30 percent, offering $30 billion over 10 years. And Egypt will also wet its beak, with a $14 billion 10-year arms deal.
By paying off the "moderate" Sunni states to confront hard-line states and militant groups, Bush is hoping to reverse the changes he brought about in Iraq -- the most pernicious, in the eyes of the U.S., being that the war greatly empowered Iran. By demonizing Iran and inciting U.S. allies to take a hard line against it, Bush hopes both to stabilize Iraq and to roll back Iran's and Syria's influence. In a larger sense, he aims to place the entire region back under American strategic control -- just as it was before his Iraq war threw everything into chaos. It's the time-honored American solution for every problem: When in doubt, buy more guns. It worked in the Wild West, why not in the Middle East?
Saturday, September 15, 2007
This happens to be the current part of Bush's plan to prevent Iran from exploiting the opportunity we have given them in Iraq. Gary Kamiya at Salon.com: