Monday, September 11, 2006

"Waiting For Yamamoto" Watch

The explanation for this post's header is here. Here's Daniel Pipes today, apparently all Raptured-up in contemplation of the next big "wake-up call":
Looking ahead, nothing but an atrocity of terrible proportions will wake liberals and make "united we stand" once again a meaningful slogan.
Pipes hasn't always catered to the lowest common denominator. Compare today's "analysis" to the following, which he wrote for the WSJ on April 11, 1991:
...there are worse prospects than Saddam Husayn staying in power. Here are two: an American occupation of Iraq or the dissolution of that country. U.S. government assistance to the anti-Saddam forces could over-commit Americans in Iraq. What begins with humanitarian and military aid might end up as something much larger. Provisioning blankets leads to repairing electricity grids and roads; shooting down aircraft ends up with the guaranteeing of international borders. The inexorable logic of power would eventually induce Americans to topple Saddam. Before anyone realizes what happened, U.S. forces would be occupying Iraq, with Schwartzkopf Pasha ruling from Baghdad.

It sounds romantic, but watch out. Like the Israelis in southern Lebanon nine years ago, American troops would find themselves quickly hated, with Shi'is taking up suicide bombing, Kurds resuming their rebellion, and the Syrian and Iranian governments plotting new ways to sabotage American rule. Staying in place would become too painful, leaving too humiliating. Saddam in power may well be less dreadful than American occupation.

Alternatively, there is the danger of Iraq being dismembered. As Turkish president Turgut Ozal rightly observed, this would lead to "incalculable turmoil." The world economy needs a reasonably strong Iraq to balance Iran and assure the free flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. Were Iraqi power to disappear, Iran would likely become the regional hegemon, rationing oil according to its whims. Iraq's dissolution also raises the prospect of the Iranians imposing a fundamentalist Islamic regime on southern Iraq. Not only would this new state want to take Baghdad and reconstitute Iraq as a Shi'i-dominated country, but it might well revitalize the Islamic revolution in Tehran, leading to fresh outbreaks of Khomeini-style aggression.
Citing "the terrible viciousness of the Middle East" as "the final reason not to get involved within Iraq," Pipes continues:
More to the point, were the Shi'is or Kurds winning against Saddam, we would by now surely have witnessed scenes of Sunni Arabs being massacred. Do Americans wish to be party to such barbarism? There are many ghastly events in the Middle East and the United States lacks both the means and the will to fix them. The Middle East is politically a sick place; outsiders would do well to keep a prudent moral distance.

At the same time, Americans need to feel some humility. Other than direct military force, our means (financial, diplomatic) are modest; and our will is even more limited. Iraq is a sick country with desperate problems, very few of them of our making. Given the realities of Iraq-its predominantly Muslim culture in particular-we cannot remake or unmake Iraq. There is an inhumanity to Middle East politics that we can neither contain nor stop.
Prescient to say the least, particularly for something written over fifteen years ago. But at this point, it does little more than relegate Pipes to that sad subsection of the commentariat whose insight and reputation peaked sometime in the previous millennium.

26 Comments:

Blogger FRx said...

Ever stumble upon something you wrote in high school or college that is totally foreign to your current way of thinking? THAT's your handwriting all right. and it's in your notebook. with all your other stuff. Yet, you sit there and laugh, thinking, I can't believe I said that!

Some day a lot of these folks squeezing out 9/11 rememberences, trying to find something unique clattering around in their brain, are going to look back at this stuff and think: WTF?!

9/11/2006 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch.

9/11/2006 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

Apparently, the formula for 'KoolAid' changed sometime in the last quarter of 2000.

9/12/2006 1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmm...things turning for november...

http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_17671.shtml

9/12/2006 2:50 AM  
Blogger jj said...

Pipes' insight never peaked, he just got a new master.

9/12/2006 3:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

enter 'birth pangs' condi making herself useful...

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/4179374.html

9/12/2006 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with jj -- an alternative explanation is that Pipes is one who worships power. At the time these views were congruent with supporting Bush I, who was in power. These days, a different view is required to toady to Bush II in power. No problem.

9/12/2006 10:46 AM  
Anonymous wendy said...

These armchair warriors who crow about "winning" the cold war against the Soviets may want to reflect on the USSR's over-reaching occupation of Afghanistan, which was among the reason we "won."

It seems to me China, with a big fat trade surplus, is waiting in the wings to don the mantle of the remaining "superpower."

9/12/2006 11:02 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

More, it calls his sanity into question.

But we have that splintered mess now. We have radicalized the Islamic world to a frightening level (even if it is just .02 percent who are willing to wage violent "jihad). So, is the president right when he says Iraq cannot be lost? Is Colonel Devlin right when he says we need 16,000 more troops in al Anbar? Do we need more in Baghdad? Do we need more in Afghanistan?

9/12/2006 12:06 PM  
Anonymous wendy said...

I don't think a war on "terror" can be won. How can you win over the hearts and minds of an entire generation of people in the middle-east who (increasingly) think of the US as the Great Satan? What is our actual goal there? Is our policy to simply wear them down? That is an effort the US will be unable to sustain--either financially or militarily.

I heard someone on the Talk of the Nation yesterday who referred back to a saying about Vietnam that seems apt now: "Rather than fight a war, we sent an army."

The American people (other than the families of servicemen and women) have made no sacrifice for this "war" nor would they have gone along with this folly had they known it would be required. Instead, Bush gives the rich tax cuts and is plundering the economic future of our country so as to "save face."

Again, looking back on the acceleration of the USSR's decline after they stupidly tried to occupy Afghanistan (a time we were, ironically, allied with the Taliban), it seems those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This thing is going to bankrupt our country.

9/12/2006 4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HI13Ak01.html

9/12/2006 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pipes' insight never peaked, he just got a new master.

Great stuff there.

I think CR will agree with this sentiment...

The NeoCons steal all the money, put it somewhere safe, and then crash the economy. Then they can buy whatever they want since they control it all. They screw China like Japan took it in the 80's. In the end, the rich move up a notch...which they couldn't do otherwise.

You can see my short comedy about the Republican scare tactics. It's called 'Night of the Dying Living'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVrAv2D1H0I

I get the most AMAZING hate mail from right wingers about the movie. All good stuff.

9/12/2006 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

awww...what a bummer

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1868445,00.html

9/12/2006 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone with his email address sould send that to him. He has likely made himself forget all that. After all, if he did remember it he would likely feel the need to twist himself like a pretzel to make himself look less like an idiot - forgetting something written in 1991 is easier.

9/13/2006 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0%2C%2C2087-2350795%2C00.html

9/14/2006 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5347876.stm

9/15/2006 12:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=1214

9/26/2006 11:07 PM  
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