Monday, March 16, 2009

Mideast Friends

The U.S. needs friends in the Mideast. There, have I succeeded in making a statement that all Americans, regardless of political perspective, can accept?

Now that we are all on the same page, what kind of friends does the U.S. need in the Mideast?

  • Does the U.S. need dictators with efficient secret police organizations to keep down the rabble and do our torturing for us?
  • Does the U.S. need a land aircraft carrier to attack all who dare to oppose our will?

At worst, the U.S. is an ignorant savage on steroids who keeps tripping over his own shoelaces. (That’s what happens when you give shoes to a savage.) At best, the U.S. just can’t understand why everyone doesn’t just “eat cake” (two kids, nice lawn, SUV in the garage). Ah, in Palestine (for example), the roads are for Israelis; Palestinians are restricted to back alleys, and as for the garage, the Israeli Army just demolished it (along with the century-old olive grove) to build a new high-rise for illegal settlers (BYO AK-47).

What the U.S. needs is: friends who will help it mix at a party where it is the stranger. Turkey has started to play this role; indeed, Hillary is just now begging it to do more. That’s a start, and I am absolutely grateful for any help Turkey can provide, but after all, Turkey’s not necessarily so easy for Americans to understand either, and there’s a lot of issues between the U.S. and the Mideast for just one friend to resolve. It sure would be nice if the U.S. had an additional friend over there.

Imagine how American national security would be enhanced if there were, say, a small democratic country in the Mideast highly respected for its good neighbor policy and willing to explain to us out-of-touch Western Hemisphere types how things work back there in the old world. Imagine how many expensive missteps we could avoid if we had such a friend who could wink at shocked Mideasterners when we goofed up and pull us to the side when we were about to step in dirt.

But I’m dreaming. In the real world, the U.S. does not have such friends nor would it have the ability to distinguish such a friend from smooth-talking lackeys and exploitative manipulators. Too bad.

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