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22 March 2011


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Robinson is a knee-jerk anti-American leftist, or in other words, the usual shallow, self-absorbed media hack.

William R. Cumming

Well a timely post. The problem of course is that many of the great and famous have also argued oil, oil,oil as the basis for American Foreign policy and relations in the last two or three decades. Before we drained them of course the US was once the largest producer of oil in the entire world. And John D. Rockerfeller built his fortune on kerosine not gasoline even before the automobile was on the scene. James Baker also argued oil, oil, oil as the basis for ME foreign relations. So did President James Earl Carter in designating formerly the defense of the oil resources of the ME a high national security priority for the USA.
so PL plenty of blame to go around. But underneath all that blame you have a valid point. Most think there is almost nothing of value culturally or economically or dipolomatically in the ME and Africa except oil with perharps Israel as a major exception. In other words but for oil would the USA have any reason to concern itself with the ME and Africa. Well there is always the WMD and GWOT fallback I guess but I actually believe your point is more sophisticated. Our (USA) almost total ignorance of the ME and Africa reveals that while the rest of the world sees the importance of those areas--China and its drive for resources--natural and otherwise--the USA really does not have the smarts to figure out that there is in fact "Something of Value" in the ME and Africa. Hoping the post and comments document some of that value. Of course I would argue just overcoming our (US) ignorance would be something of value.


Another blog, wrote that we did not intervene in Libya until MQ stated that the West will never get another oil contract.

Since we can not explain our intervention in Libya versus our non-intervention in Bahrain, people are looking for the easiest answers.

Sadly, people like to route for underdogs, even murderous ones.

Phil Giraldi

You don't have to know anything to write for the Wash Post. Today's WP editorial on Libya said Obama was within his rights to start the military action because a no-fly zone is something short of war. Bobby Gates would disagree with that assessment and did so two weeks ago. Even if one supports the mission, the constitution still requires that congress declare war, not the president. It is amazing the extent to which the constitution of the United States is ignored by our so-called leaders. We might as well be a banana republic.


I suspect there are dozens of threads that form our ME policy, some complementary, some contradictory: Israel, oil, the imposition of democratic values, fear of terrorism, military contracts, competition for resources, a military that seeks to justify its size and expense, domestic politics, American exceptionalism, and ignorance, etc.


Imperial overreach engenders more of itself until it can't. That's it, that's all.

Mark Gaughan

What evidence do you have that Eugene Robinson is anti-American?


Are there motivations other than economics?

Probably not. I cannot think of any conflict that did not ultimately relate to economic issues.

That extends from tribal battles over hunting grounds, through the wars of dynastic succession, through Hitlers pursuit of Lebensraum, and ultimately Israels suppression of the Palestinians.

The only one I'm not sure about is the Franco Prussian war which started over what the The Hohenzollern Candidacy.

Patrick Lang


OK. Tell me how the first world war was about economics. Explain to me how the english civil war was about economics. pl


"....a knee-jerk anti-American leftist, or in other words, the usual shallow, self-absorbed media hack."

Fox News, home of media hacks? Say it ain't so, Joe!


Read some of his columns.

JT Davis

In response to Mr. Giraldi@22 March 2011 at 10:55 AM:

Unfortunately I don't have access to the link to the specific document, a legal scholarly publication she authored, but this link to Greenwald should suffice. As far as the unitary exec goes, she is John Yoo Lite.

The link to the publication may even be there. It is as rare as a black swan, more so, for the executive branch to step back from the boundaries of executive power reached by any previous admins. Anyone on the "knee-jerk anti-American left" who thought Obama would step back from the brink of the unitary exec should have seen it coming when he nominated Kagan.

Sorry, graywolf, but "read some of his columns" isn't an answer. I wish I could figure out the conundrum myself, but oil isn't the answer on the one hand, and "anti-Americanism" isn't the answer on the other. I can show you anti-American ideologies on the right and far right. That much I do know, and I'm not that smart.

Hello again, Colonel. Hope you are well.


JT Davis

Above comment unclear, poorly written, and for that I apologize. I am referring to Obama's selection of Elena Kagan for the SCOTUS.


Graywolf's post just raised a question: how does one distinguish between the FFS (fragrans flatorum suorum) fallacy and confirmation bias?


For whatever it's worth. In my history classes I really hated that we were kept busy with Bismarck for ages it felt. And my instinct was quite correct, we never moved on. The Nazi reign was only introduced to the curricula two years later.

through the wars of dynastic succession

versus this:
The only one I'm not sure about is the Franco Prussian war which started over what the The Hohenzollern Candidacy.

If by wars about dynastic succession you include dynastic rivalries, like the War of the Roses, the war you don't get into your system fits quite well.

Napoleon III tried to exploit the rivalry between Austria (Habsburg) and Prussia and failed. He believed what Bismarck told him in secret meetings, and ultimately stepped into this trap. The last of Bismarck's tricks in the above context.

In German history this is the last of a series of wars that are usually termed: Deutsche Einigungskriege, or Reichseinigungskriege (wars that ultimately led to the unification of Germany, Einigung=unification, Kriege=wars). Bismarck might have failed nevertheless hadn't he gotten the support of North German Federation and the German south. I disliked him for the above and several other reason, when young, but he surely was a sly fox. I noticed the some neocons adore him.

The central intial aspect of these wars are usually called by historians the "dualism", or the fight for domination between Prussia and Habsburg.

WWI shows you that they were pretty close after all.

Medicine Man


Surely my lack of classic education speaking, but what the heck does fragrans flatorum suorum mean?


-orum = the possessive plural ending. examples: bicyclorum suorum should mean "of one's own bicycles" or hattorum suorum, "of one's own hats."

I may be wrong; it's been a while.

Mark Gaughan

Iraq was invaded so that Big Oil could get a piece of the very lucrative oil business in Iraq. They're getting a percentage of every barrel sold. They're charging fees for their services.



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