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07 April 2013

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JohnH

Kerry's obliviousness makes you wonder what he was doing all that time when he chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Perhaps he was visiting his coiffeur to assure the perfection of those bouffant-style hairdos he has--perfect for the buffoon he is.

William R. Cumming

Not being an expert is has been a lifetime interest in how the elites govern themselves and others globally. Perhaps reading the "Lanny Budd" series of Upton Sinclair as a teenager was one reason. Sinclair of course was considered to be a MUCKRAKER of sort and his book "Dragon's Teeth" won a Pulitizer Prize.
Even though many in the USA hate them the USA has founded and dominates probably more Mulilateral Organizations than any other nation-state or at least in my opinion. And the USA has supported Globalization. Whether that means political globalization or just economic, but perhaps culture also, is not exactly clear to anyone.

I would argue that the biggest problem in the world today is that almost all the world understands that there is almost no reasoned way to predict what the USA will do in either its politics, economics or culture and lacking thta predictability we are not just not the indispensable nation
but a problem child.

Every nation-state with the money to do so has formal financial ties to a lobbying effort in Washington. Is this often radical and unpredictable pressure part of the problem? After all foreign nationals are often even Congressional staff members and often reps of lobbying organizations with guarantees for paid positions when they leave the HILL. What is going on here? I label it corruption but some might have different labels.

Comments?

turcopolier

WRC

You still do not understand that most of our failures are caused by naivete, ignorance and PC ideology. pl

David Habakkuk

Apparently there was a Soviet joke which ran:

‘Q: What's the difference between a capitalist fairy tale and a Marxist fairy tale?

‘A: The capitalist fairy tale starts out; "once upon a time there was....", The Marxist fairy tale starts out; "some day there will be...."’

The two-state solution has long since become a kind of ‘Marxist fairy tale’.

mbrenner

We are again reminded that the Obama administration has no strategic conception of what it wants to accomplish in the region (or, indeed, as to any one of the salient issues)and not the barest outline of a plan of action. These unceasing trips and visits by high officials have become so ludicrous that laughter is the only sane response. Whatever sense there is to this motion masquerading as action, it is to be understand in terms of a pure celebrity logic. That logic applies as well to celebrity politics. Look how Hillary has turned years of abject failure and embarrassing stunts into an engine propelling her to the Democratic presidential nomination.

The dynmaic of this process is little understood by applying ideas drawn from diplomacy and policy-making theory. Better to think in terms of cultural anthropolgy or(abnormal) group psychology. Want a real world referrent? Try the antics, a brilliantly executed celebrity strategy, of the Kardashian clan. All of the above is meant seriously.

As for Obama himself, he is not to be taken seriously because he remains an immature narcissist who is committed to never growing up.

robt willmann

pl,

Who is the man in the business suit in the picture of the heavily decorated room included with this posting? Is that you?

turcopolier

r. willman

That is Robert Gates. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I think US is waging a war against Syria by proxy.

I think US is waging an economic war against Iran.

I think US is waging an intelligence war against assorted Sunni Muslim extremists that are targeting US.

I think US is helping Saudi Arabia to make Wahabi Islam as the dominant form of Islam in the world.

I think US is forcing Israel and Turkey to bury the hatchet, as it were.

I think US is managing the rise of Ikhwan in Egypt well, and is payingoff the Hashemite King for the great service he is rendering in wounding Syria.

The strategy thus seems to be this:

- Wound Iran
- Rent Arabs
- Keep Israel safe at any and all cost.

r whitman

Perhaps Kerry is smarter than we think. He may figure that if he adopts this "plan" it will go nowhere and then he and the USA can duck the whole issue.

Will Reks

My own take on this is that results don't really matter. Kerry, as most politicians here, is probably quite convinced of his own self-importance and ability.

When his term is done Kerry will run the speaking circuit and pontificate about why this or that didn't work and how it would have worked if only this or that had happened. Just like all the others.

turcopolier

r. whitman

you give him far too much credit. He;s a puffed up expensive. gigolo. I notice that he is dragging his wife around with him. pl

William R. Cumming

So PL are the Saudis driven by religion, money, or whatever? Could you not argue Saudi foreign policy is largely a failure since WWII?

And I would argue other countries rely on the US being naive, ignorant, and PC!

turcopolier

WRC

We are generally laughed at and mocked by foreign governments if they can get away with it.

No. The Saudis are quite successful. This is a country with minimal manpower assets surviving while sitting on a lake of oil with a sand scab over it and surviving by manipulating a country (us) who could crush them like a bug. Sounds like the Israelis, doesn't it. The Saudis are motivated by their desire to dominate in the name of their version of Islam. pl

MartinJ

The Saudis are motivated to dominate. The Royal family is moved to dominate in the name of Islam, Wahhabi Islam at that, in order to maintain their hegemony inside Saudi Arabia. This veneer of respectability enables them to party in the fleshpots of Beirut, London, Paris and Cairo etc. While it is a hollow veneer for the Royals it is fully subscribed to by hundreds of thousands in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Iraq etc.

I can't for the life of me figure out why this obvious disconnect doesn't 'click' with Wahhabis across the world.

turcopolier

MartinJ

It sounds as though you have lived in SA. There are also a lot of Saudis who are quite devout. pl

JMH

But this won't keep Israel safe, hence, a fools errand.

Babak Makkinejad

Saudi Arabia is a very religiously heterogeneous country with a diversity of Muslim Sects (Legal Schools).

And there is little social trust between different regions of Saudi Arabia - you can see this by noting the amount of travel inside that country, for example.

An analogy could be made with the rise of Safavid Iran 500 years ago and the role of the Shia Turkic tribes in the formation of the Safavid state (which went on to become modern Iran).

That is: the Saudis have had a symbiotic relationship with the Wahabis elders for over 200 years and are trying to convert the rest of Arabia into Wahabis and make Wahabi Islam the state religion.

By proselyting outside of Arabia, they are trying to buy themselves both security and influence and to lessen religious danger to themselves.

After all, if the 4-Schools call anathema on Saudis and Wahabis, their political control in Arabia can be jeopardy.

Continuing with the Safavids, the analogous process took decades during which the Safavaids were engaged in multiple war against Sunni kingdoms in the West and in the East; reinforcing newly converted Shia.

But even then Safavids realized that Shia Islam by itself was not sufficient to make a durable state and thus revived the idea of "Iran".

Saudis have no such thing to use.

And even then the state that Safavids established went through 2 major civil wars and the predominantly Sunni parts departed Iran to become what is now Afghanistan (Place of Lamentations).

I am also doubtful how much Wahabis will be able to accomplish outside of Arabia - among the Arabs and in Turkey they are in competition with Ikhwan and in Pakistan they are still a very very small minority (ignoring Deobandis are others of that ilk).

William R. Cumming

Thanks PL! And certainly one of the most fateful laughs at the USA was Hitler's declaration of war against US in 1941!

While I agree that many laugh and joke at US expense on occasion all worry at what the US will decide to actually do! That is why the lobbying effort in Washington is so committed and in particular by the probably 100 nation-states that could be considered protectorates.

Neil Richardson

WRC:

"And certainly one of the most fateful laughs at the USA was Hitler's declaration of war against US in 1941!"

"No enemy bomber can reach the Ruhr. If one reaches the Ruhr, my name is not Goering. You may call me Meyer." (1939)

"The Americans cannot build aeroplanes. They are very good at refrigerators and razor blades." (1940)

Herman Goering

Abu Sinan

My ex-wife's father was a life long military attache for the Saudi government. He was posted in DC from the early 1980s until he retired in the late 1990s.

He was especially bitter towards the Saudi establishment because his career advancement was halted because he refused to do what it took for advancement. In the USA under Prince Bandar what it took was being willing and able to provide women, drug and drink to whatever Saudi Prince or businessman happened to be in DC at that time.

As for run of the mill Saudis, you can always find a bunch of the richest and well establised Saudis at the Four Seasons in Georgetown trolling for blonde American women.

Of course there are devout Saudis, take my ex-wife's mothers family who comes from one of the best known religious families in Mecca. One of the uncles currently calls adhan at the Grand Mosque.

In this very well known religious family you have one uncle who ran off with the Asian made. You have another uncle who was caught in a compromising position with another man, so his wife now uses this fact to run that household. Another uncle was accused of sexual molestation of female family members. So even the "devout" amoungst them are guilty of what otherwise they would attribute to societies like the "great Satan".

Tyler

Tangentially related: Why is it so important when a State Department employee dies while the five soldiers killed with her barely rate a mention?

David

Apologies for being off-topic, but there is a report that the Syrian government is redeploying its troops on the Golan Heights.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/07/syria-golan-heights-security

Eliot

I grew up in Kerry's world; I went to the same small private school as his daughter (Dare to Be True!) and my father worked for that same small echelon in DC. One of my first memories is meeting Pamela Harriman at a Clinton fundraiser.

Kerry may be playing the game but I think most of those guys are are true believers. They believe in the immutable truth of a more perfect world, that shining city on a hill. They believe in the march of progress and secular truth. They can't understand their domestic rivals, let alone foreign peoples. Why don't they want to be like us? Why don't they like us? These questions confuse, and lead to discomfort - so they ignore them. It's easier that way.

They like easy.

Amir

Diplomatic cover?

Clifford Kiracofe

Two state solution was dead over a decade ago, and a fantasy at that.

The US still covers up the Saudi role in 911...as former US Senator Graham (D-FL), among others, continues to maintain. He wants the suppressed 28 pages of the official report made public so the public can draw its own conclusions about the Wahhabi state and its rulers.

No "change" in Obama foreign policy with Senator Kerry: protect Israel and work with the Wahhabis and the Muslim Brotherhood as per the former British Empire.

Same old, same old...

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