24 thoughts on “McCain’s Middle East Madness

  1. Andrew W

    The reason the “rebels” of eastern Libya hated America so much had nothing to do with their totalitarian, incorrigibly anti-Western ideology.

    Can anyone tell me what “ideology” McCarthy is talking about?

      1. Andrew W

        So McCarthy is claiming that only Islamist’s fought to topple Qaddafi? That the non-Islamist population opposed to Qaddafi’s rule didn’t join the Free Libyan Army?

          1. Andrew W

            But McCain didn’t say “Libyan jihadists are my heroes” he said “Libyan rebels” are “my heroes”, clearly if “Libyan rebels” and “Libyan jihadists” are synonymous terms, McCarthy is claiming the rebels were all jihadists, after all him saying “I wonder if the jihadists of eastern Libya are still “heroes” to John McCain” doesn’t allow for the existence of non-jihadist rebels.

          2. Andrew W

            I’d have thought it unnecessary, as only an idiot would seriously believe that McCain supports Islamists, maybe I was Wrong, and McCarthy wasn’t being “deliberately deceitful”, maybe he’s just an idiot.

        1. wodun

          The entire rebel movement was rife with Islamists. McCain was incredibly dense not to see it. Support of the rebels looked like a bad choice during the arab spring, after 9/11 and even worse now after the events in Mali and Algeria.

          As a country, we did support Islamists in Egypt, Libya, and Syria. Which is a horrible foreign policy to fight Islamist radicals in some countries like Yemen but arm and train them like we did in Libya.

  2. Godzilla

    Well you know my opinion regarding the Libyan intervention. Or the one happening in Syria right now.

    I can sort of understand why the UK was interested in ousting Gaddafi but the French zealous support for Al-Qaeda toppling the aging dictator was not only stupid but senseless. Was it all to give Rafale more combat experience so they could make sales to India and possibly Brazil? Was it all just to show they could make their own little stupid war just like the US did in Iraq? These seem to me like post-modern shades of the interbellum.

    Algeria supplies natural gas to France, Italy, Portugal, Spain. Disrupting those natural gas supplies in the middle of the winter is particularly troublesome. This has been one of my fears regarding security of EU energy supply for the last 5 years. The obsessive reliance on wind power also led to an obsessive reliance on natural gas as peaking power to cover wind shortfalls. Mali also borders Nigeria which is another of the natural gas suppliers to Southern Europe. The alternative for the EU is Russian natural gas going to Northern Europe. Neither are particularly palatable alternatives at least not if the EU wants to remain politically independent and have a secure energy supply.

    Nuclear could be an alternative but has been politically stalled. So the alternative is to burn more coal. The Germans will burn ever more of their crummy brown coal and Southern Europe will import coal from Australia, Canada, or whatever.

    The European energy supply is highly vulnerable to shipping lane interdiction and pipeline sabotage in unstable countries. At the same time the US Navy is shifting their forces to the Pacific Ocean for understandable reasons, the UK leadership has been putting the Royal Navy under the knife. That leaves us relying on the French Navy for securing the sea lanes which is, to say the least, quite pathetic.

    1. wodun

      Nigeria is experiencing their own problems with Boko Haram. Hardly a week goes by without news of them killing a bunch of people.

  3. Robin Goodfellow

    In the next 10 years the following things are likely to happen.

    Fundamental Islamists, al qaeda and fellow travelers, will operate freely in several countries, retaining sovereign authority over significant parts of many countries (Mali, Nigeria, Egypt, Libya, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Syria, perhaps others).

    They will obtain control over lucrative natural resources such as oil (Libya, Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Iran) and significant industrial infrastructure.

    They will obtain control over tanks, fighter jets, and naval warships some of them state of the art (Syria, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan).

    They will obtain control over chemical weapons (when Syria falls).

    They will obtain control over nuclear weapons (depending on how Pakistan develops).

    Back when al qaeda was dicking around in the ass ends of the Earth in Afghanistan and the Sudan they were so desperate for military victories that they hijacked civilian aircraft and crash them into civilian targets. Today the forces of radical Islam are making a resurgence in some areas and working their ways into the governments of countries that have a hell of a lot more resources available than Afghanistan.

    And instead of making opportunistic terrorist attacks on soft targets or fighting insurgent battles these forces will control conventional armies and will be capable of waging conventional wars. Wars of regional conquest. Wars of interdiction and blockade against others (such as the west). And with control over chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons they will be able to deter western intervention in such exploits until things rise to threat levels high enough for the western world to engage in a worldwide Cold War (or perhaps hot war) equally as serious as the one during the 20th century.

    We are in a crucial time in history, and if we fuck things up it could have an incalculable negative impact on the global geopolitical landscape of the entire 21st century.

    Meanwhile, our country is populating the highest ranks of government with the clueless and the incompetent.

    This is not a good combination.

    1. Godzilla

      Iran and Egypt are probably not going to fit into Al-Qaeda’s global caliphate scenario. Iran is run by Shia and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt will most likely not acquiesce to what they see as a bunch of upstarts. Egypt may cooperate or pay lip service to them yes but they will not go to Al-Qaeda’s side unless they manage to topple the Muslim Brotherhood somehow.

      The major issue in that global caliphate scenario is most of these countries are quite distant from each other making cooperation difficult. The big disaster is if a nation like Pakistan falls entirely into their sphere given their population resources and economic and industrial ties to China. Libya would be another possibility if it was not for its poor geographic position which is vulnerable to NATO aerial bombardment.

      1. Robin Goodfellow

        Al qaeda and a global caliphate proper are not necessarily relevant. Whenthe forces of fundamentalist Islam were “in the wilderness” al qaeda became something of a standard bearer because they were willing to be bold, daring, take risks, and fight against super powers. As Islamists gain legitimate powers in sovereign nations that sort of wildcat enthusiasm and zeal is no longer necessary or desirable. However, while that is good in some regard (since al qaeda are brutal thugs) it doesn’t make the problem go away. Fighter jets in the hands of al qaeda would be extra super bad, but in the hands of an arabic nationalist and Islamic fundamentalist political power with widespread popular support they are almost as bad.

        The prospect of the creation of a new greater caliphate with a bin laden figure at its head is extremely unlikely. However, regressive Islamist forces are gaining traction throughout Africa, the middle East, and Asia. Lately they have earned a reputation as fighters against corrupt and repressive regimes. Energized by a resurgent Islamic fundamentalism and a kind of ethno-cultural supranationalism and fanaticism the likelihood of stronger pseudo-secular multi-national cooperation amongst these nations (see, for example, OPEC) becomes much higher. And this can fuel jingoism and ethnocentrism which can lead to regional wars of conquest and more formal opposition to the western powers.

        Such a “milder” form of Islamic fundamentalism is significantly more dangerous though. Because it means that instead of expending their efforts blowing themselves up (which is a very self-limiting tactic, obviously) they will be playing the long game. Building factories, and tanks, and long range rockets, and nuclear reactors.

        This is a world that is easy to predict by looking through the lens of current trends. It’s a world that bin laden would not have planned, but it’s a world that would bring a smile to his face nonetheless.

        1. Martijn Meijering (@mmeijeri)

          You are not distinguishing between Sunni and Shia Islam. That distinction is far more important than that between moderates and extremists. Sunnis tend to prefer to ally themselves with Sunni extremists over Shia moderates and vice versa.

          1. Rob Crawford

            And they will both set aside their differences if it means a chance to slaughter enough infidels.

    2. ken anthony

      clueless and the incompetent is being way too generous.

      Meaning to or not, Obama’s selection of Hagel is a signal to our enemies that they can relax, and it is a signal to our allies that they are on their own. as Jonathan says below.

      We have been at war internally for over a hundred years with the ‘progressives’ and we lost. We will never be able to deal with external threats until we deal with the internal.

      Defend and protect our founding principles from all threats (right now domestic is the greatest threat since it’s out in the open now.) We need to become the guerrillas. This is war where intelligence and ideology matter.

  4. Paul Milenkovic

    Iran had the latest in U.S. military jets — I remember Mr. Pahlavi (a.k.a. “the Shaw of Eye-ran”) as if it were yesterday, explaining to 60 Minutes why he wanted F-14’s which were Navy aircraft for his land-based air force (For the “Phoenix system” he explained — to him, it was all about the long-range air-launched missiles, the computers, and the radar, and the launch platform was incidental. Maybe this was a wrong-headed no-turning-furball misunderstanding of modern aerial warfare, but the man knew what he wanted).

    After the Revolution, I don’t think those F-14’s were much of a concern to anyone, although I read stories (in the Time and Newsweek of the day) that the Iranians were using them with their long-range radars as a kind of AWACS during the Iran-Iraq War.

    Modern jets and other state-of-the-art “not weapons but weapons systems” are pretty maintenance intensive and they don’t seem to weather interruption in support from your superpower patron. The Shah of Iran seemed to know much of this.

  5. Jonathan

    Krauthammer was right about Hagel. The point is that Hagel’s qualifications are unimportant since he will not be making decisions. Rather, Obama’s selection of Hagel is a signal to our enemies that they can relax, and it is a signal to our allies that they are on their own. It is also a big middle finger extended to Israel and to all of the foolish American Jews who supported Obama.

    1. Der Schtumpy

      Ding, Ding, Ding, DING….No more callers PLEASE, we HAVE a winner!!!

      Selecting Hagel is exactly the kind of move Obumble told Putin he’d make. Here’s the start of BHO style ‘flexibility’. I’m guessing Hagel would ASK for cuts in Defense spending because the world is getting safer everyday.

      My suggestion, buy guns. That way when the Islamists march down your street to bring on the Caliphate, you can arrange their 72 Virgins allotment, because you sure as h3ll won’t be defended by a military run by this boob.

      (then again, this might be the kind of idiot, last straw appointment that has the Pentagon making plans that would make Burt Lancaster blush! at some point they’ve gotta get tired of being used as cannon fodder AND being shat on.)

  6. Karl Hallowell

    My view on this is simply that it’s good hygiene to dispose of dictators on a regular and frequent basis, even if occasionally someone somewhat worse steps in to replace them. Maybe Libya will get in the habit of getting rid of their would-be strongmen. It seemed to work for Europe and they were for a time just as hard off.

    1. Der Schtumpy

      It may be non-PC to say so, but I think it would be better for the world and certainly cheaper for us in the long run, for us to use a small team of highly trained people to ‘feed’ these power mad, murdering dictators, like Morsi is becoming right now, a small does of lead. THEN we support the groups in the country that are interested in a free society that is willing to be inclusive of all the people who live there.

      Dictators, religious or otherwise, wind up trashing us every time.

      And if the new guy ‘says’ he wants a democratic republic, but starts strong arming people, we send him a photo of his predecessor, with splatter diagram of how far his brains spread out, and we ask if wants to help us set a new splatter record!

      Here’s my reasoning, if we’re going to be accused of being Imperialistic, megalomaniacal thugs who are only concerned with our own interests, for some period of time we should ACT like it too! Of course, we no longer have elected officials willing to take the heat for doing things right.

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