Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Friday, October 2, 2015

This Saudi Arabia Thing--I Might not be Off, Here.

When I talked about the crackdown that seems to be happening regarding Saudi Arabia and dissidents, like the treatment of Raif Badawi and Ali al-Nimr, I suggested their crackdown on dissidents wasn't without a potential threat to their existence--after all, there are signs, They are pumping oil like mad even if that's like beating a horse you know has a tumor. So reading this prediction of a collapse in Saudia Arabia of the current government is pretty interesting. My basic belief is that, because so many Middle Eastern people today being young and having access to internet through phones and such, they want more access to liberty. And they will find a way.

I felt the same way regarding the idea of a "Green Revolution" for Iran though. I'm very romantic about the idea of a positive democratic wave happening in the Middle East. We aren't so separated in our needs or our likes, once the voice of radicalism is bypassed. I don't think Saudis are so generally fond of their repression than Iranians or any other culture held back by religion.

I know this too, means a destabilization, but the fall of a regime that won't even let ladies drive or be out of the house without male escorts is hard to prop for.


mikey said...

First principles: The House of Saud WILL fall. They've built the framework of their own downfall by partnering with the Wahabist clerics. Those clerics aren't invested in the Kingdom, just in the harsh expression of Islam.

So now we're talking about time frames. Did we see the fall of the Soviet Union coming? Did we really expect the utter collapse of the Ghadaffi or Mubarak regimes? When these things get legs, they run far ahead of anybody's understanding of what they are.

But we've also learned something else: Democracy, no matter how much the revolutionaries desire it, will not take root. It is antithetical to the expression of unilateral power that is the tradition in the region. The people don't win, because the people hold no stake in the process.

It's interesting, because it's a clear example of what we're becoming here in the US. The wealthy and the corporations find democracy to be messy, unpredictable and usually counterproductive to their agenda. So we're drifting away from democracy, for the very same reasons that the Arab Spring democracy movements universally failed...

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Did we really expect the utter collapse of the Ghadaffi regime?"

Point of order, Chairman Mikey...We engineered the collapse of the Ghadaffi regime (as with the Saddam Hussein regime, and as we're attempting with the Assad regime).

And for that matter, Iran's democracy back in 1953. We've never stopped our cynical and short-sighted war crimes in the Middle East, save for when Jimmy Carter stopped supporting the Shah.

Which brings us to the last 24 hours:

Russia Is Using Old, Dumb Bombs, Making Syria Air War Even More Brutal

Those damn commies, how dare they attack our Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists, err freedom fighters in Syria!

JALALABAD, Afghanistan — Twelve Doctors Without Borders staff along with seven patients, including three children, were killed after an apparent U.S. airstrike hit the international charity's hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz.

Afghanistan? Shirley that is one of the two wars ended by Saint Barry Bamz?

mikey said...

Not so, Mr. Thunder. The Libyan revolution was an organic 'Arab Spring' uprising that turned into a civil war. What 'we' did was use air power to suppress the deployment of loyalist and mercenary armor and artillery forces against cities full of civilians. It's utterly unrealistic to believe that some airstrikes MONTHS after the revolution somehow 'engineered the collapse of the...regime".

As much as you seem to want every event to be the result of the evil machinations of the United States, other people have been known to have agency too...

Vixen Strangely said...

Thunder has a valid point regarding the extent to which US support is lended, and the extent to which Russia is giving "support" as well. I want to be enthusiastic about the revolutionary power of popular movements, but I dislike the potential of external control/command overthrows of governments, because the results won't be to anyone's satisfaction ultimately.

The Arab Spring success of the Libyan uprising probably had not a little to do with the insertion of something like 17 UN affiliated nations offering various kinds of support to the pinned-down Benghazi rebels at that time. That was a situation more along the lines of "Here comes everybody!" than strictly US fuckery. But the urging of Clinton, Powers, and Rice certainly advanced the level of engagement.

The sort-of Obama Doctrine of "First, do nothing stupid" was sort of broken here. What would have happened to Benghazi isn't strictly known, but any participation in a regime change makes us at least partially responsible for the government that results. This is also how I feel about our relationship with Syria--there are no good guys with whom to partner, so our only humanitarian mission should be taking on the mission of the refugee crisis (probably the direct opposite opinion of all neocons). Snuffing ISIL is a thing I love like a drug because the ideology of these guys is everything I hate, but I'm sort of beginning to wonder if war is a thing that makes these guys get off. Maybe they carry within them the seeds of their own self-snuffing, in being so repressive populations might just have to ultimately rebel against them, without our help. Our presence might needlessly give them fuel.

The fail of the US strike against the hospital in Afghanistan and the possible (I won't swear to it) fail of the Russian strike against our so-called good guys in Syria, remind me that the hazard of war is always uncertainty about everything but death.

The US isn't a good puppetmaster anymore, if we ever were. Russia won't be any better at it. At the very best, I'd like local populations to have the opportunity to become self-determining. My only argument regarding external meddling is that the tables are everywhere so stacked in favor of hierarchies. If meddling gave people power, that would be great. But people power and revolutionary groups are also so split.

I sort of lean towards Sanders because I don't think Clinton has ever absorbed this reality. She thinks external power can earn legitimacy. It never does. It actually delegitimizes. The losers always resent. They can't not. By branding himself a Socialist, I suspect Sanders gets the idea of revolution, or at least talks about political revolution as a very real thing. Realizing that so much of the world also needs revolution, and knowing when to intervene and not?

Sigh. The best thing Obama ever did was keep out of the Green Revolution. I don't know how any of our contestants for the Democratic nod 2016 would deal with these things.

But I have acquiesced to the notion that "World Power" doesn't mean quite what it used to. Neocons can pretend this is a loss of leadership. It isn't. It's just political entropy, and the same thing that happened to the British Empire, and happens to any. The center does not hold. Putin can try to hold on with both hands, and so could the US. The response of history is hands with rope burn.

If the US has any interest to defend, it should be our home issues, wages, health care, jobs, and energy-independence. Our foreign policy should just be managing fires.

mikey said...

1.) The 25,000 or so non-dead civilians - women, children, elderly - in Misrata in the spring of 2011 would likely disagree with the characterization of the air operation that saved them from massacre.

2.) I'm pretty sure we're saying the same thing. The US has no national interest in events in Iraq or Syria. I'll even go farther than you - I don't care a whit about ISIS. Yeah, they're horrible, but I really don't want my nation to be in the business of going around killing people they decide are 'horrible'. That's not a sustainable path.

3.) Contrariwise, the Russians DO have extensive national interest in preventing the complete collapse of the al Assad regime. So their actions in Syria are completely predictable when you understand this is their primary goal, regardless of what they claim publicly...

Vixen Strangely said...

Agreed--what was about to befall Benghazi without the UN intervention would have been grim. What happens politically though, is that everyone but especially us shares in the post-regime change fall-out (like the embassy attack perpetrated by people who didn't quite agree with out best intentions? The first law of blowback is, there aren't any laws, you just get it.) But the intervention was necessary and unlike Trump, I don't think Libya was better for having Gaddafi or Hussein stay--I only think there might have been more elegant alternatives for extricating them.

The contretemps wherein we and Russia are at cross purposes in Syria sort of highlights the problems with us even being there. I'm anti-ISIS but am now a bit persuaded we got sucked in, and I'm anti-Assad because he is a damn tyrant, but my lack of belief that there is a viable 3rd option is now really highlighted by Russia waging war on--that third option.