Wednesday, August 23, 2006

War on terror vs. Realpolitik in the Middle East

The Chatham House has published an excellent report on Iran, entitled “Iran, its neighbours and the regional crises” have a look at it here. Moreover, on the secret background to the Israel’s was on Lebanon and the US foreign policy have a look at the new article of famous US journalist Seymour Hersh, “Watching Lebanon” published at the Newyorker. Hersh writes that the White House, esspecially Cheney and his team supported the Israeli plan to attack Hizbollah. The problem for the future is as one of Hersh’s sources puts it, “There is no way that Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about this…When the smoke clears, they’ll say it was a success, and they’ll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran.” For an interesting position on the geopolitics of the US relationship with Shias and Sunis read the very interesting Vali Nasr’s article in the Foreign Affairs magazine “When the Shiites Rise” .

Reading these articles one can get a strong sense of the dangerous path ideological neo-conservative foreign policy is leading America into. Moreover, it seems that US foreign policy is currently not only a hostage of the abovementioned ideology but also of powerful private economic interests that often have absolutely nothing to do with the national interest of the US and the security of its citizens home and abroad. Israel’s military campaign in Lebanon demonstrated what could be the outcome of a US military campaign if it decides to attack a 70 million people strong giant like Iran. Interesting point from the Chatham House report is that post-9/11 US policy actually reinforced Iran’s position by eliminating its hostile neighbours the Taliban and Sadam Hussein. US is not powerful enough to lead the war against all in the broader middle east, which is often how some US policy makers interpret the war on terror, possibly a return to realist foreign policy is needed?

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