Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dummies for American Foreign Policy

The Council on Foreign Relations explains ISIS

Assad is bad. It's not a hard concept. And bonus, it rhymes; easy to remember. Assad is bad because...well, we can't actually remember but he's definitely not on the side of liberal democracy, as we are not. Not only that, Assad is connected to the Iranians and Hizbollah, who are very, very bad. Although, sometimes it's useful to send people to Assad who will torture them for us.  Just like we did with the Egyptians and Libyans.

Anyway, Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, which is bad. Well, we're not sure it was Assad, because he agreed to have Syria's chemical weapons destroyed, but only because the Russians made him. So it was obvious Assad had to be bombed, because he didn't understand it wasn't about the chemical weapons - we didn't actually care if he used chemical weapons against his own people, like we didn't care Saddam used chemical weapons against his own people, until it was obvious Saddam was a Bad Guy so we had to invade Iraq because.... well, we're still a little confused about that - but it wasn't a serious bombing, only bombing to Send A Message.  We're not sure what the message was, except we had bombs and weren't afraid to use them, and we wanted everybody to know that.

Many of our NATO allies were also prepared to bomb Assad because we were going to anyway, but then Obama demonstrated Lack of Moral Fibre in not bombing because he wasn't sure who or what to bomb. Also, there was crazy talk about international law, like you had to have a legal basis for bombing people.  So Obama choked and didn't bomb somebody, which made America look weak, as if it was subject to laws that weren't American.

So Obama and our democratic American allies in the Gulf did the next best thing, which was to arm the Syrian "rebels" (known in Iraq and Afghanistan as "militants", "insurgents", "extremists", "jihadists", or "Extremist Jihadist Insurgent Terrorists") so as to make Assad completely miserable, and he'd say "You're right, I'm wrong, I quit."

Unfortunately, the people we and our Gulf allies were arming turned out to be a well-organized previously unknown outfit called ISIS who were more interested in establishing a puritanical Sunni territory from the Mediterranean to the Gulf, and as an afterthought, telling Americans to fuck themselves.  This well-organized, fearless, technically savvy organization we'd never heard of (despite spending a grillion dollars a year on 19 different and feuding intelligence agencies) was able to capture American weapons donated to the Shia government in Baghdad, an ally of Iran who is bad.

So in a determined American attempt to prevent a Shia crescent between the Gulf and the Mediterranean, which would be horrible beyond words although we can't remember why, we are now threatened by a well-armed, well-organized Sunni crescent between the the Gulf and the Mediterranean, which would be good because it would restrain the bad Iranians, except that it's bad because it isn't interested in Americans at all, except as an excellent source of weapons and somebody to tell to fuck themselves. Thus the millions spent arming America's allies turns out to have been spent on its enemies, although it's not clear whether America has any friends or enemies in the Middle East anyway.

We hope this explainer explains things.  It's why we're called a "think tank."