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View Diary: What to do if Syria crosses the "red line" and uses biological weapons... (168 comments)

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    A series of hot wars and cold wars in West Asia functionally equivalent within West Asia to WW1 (the 1991 Kuwait war), WW2 (Iraq 2003+), and the Cold War (the current two alliance standoff pitting Jerusalem+Riyadh vs Damascus+Teheran, with Baghdad/Iraq sorta partitioned a la Berlin/Germany) in Europe.

    What WW1 did in Europe was demolish a couple of the most obsolete of the competing empires on the continent.  What WW2 did was demolish an alliance of one defeated but undestroyed empire project merged with several defeated ones, who in aggregate formed a disorder creating third alliance (aka Axis) trying to defeat two larger, older entities (aka Western Allies, and USSR) it was juxtaposed between.  This endeavor failed, and this third power in the continent was comprehensively destroyed and partitioned.  The Cold War was the standoff of the two remaining empires/alliances in, one of which folded after 40some years and obsolescence.  And the second of which has essentially peacefully disintegrated and its European portions have remerged as a federation.

    The ways the U.S. got into WW1, WW2, and the Cold War wasn't pretty either.  They were also formally ambiguous, with Anglophilia and Western Eurocentrism and a significantly distorted picture of Communism largely obscuring the difficulty of the rationale to them.  But as we see in Europe today, the result was the best that could be achieved.

    It's the same in the Middle East now and West Asia more generally.  The crushing of dictators, rolling back of empires and hegemonies, and fighting down of reactionary political forces- be they identified with Right or Left- ultimately works, allowing democracy (first the conservative variety, which is dysfunctional, but then increasingly healthy liberal forms) to to germinate and grow as the authoritarian generations in these countries slowly die off and settle their historical disputes more peaceably.  This is the historical pattern visible subsequent to American military engagement for a generation each in Western Europe, East Asia, Eastern Europe, and in small fashions already in West Asia.

    It is evident also, though with ambiguities, to the first generation of overseas American involvements, the 1890s to 1920s actions in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Pacific Oceans and destruction of the residual overseas empire of Spain.  The hard problem there is Cuba, but which wouldn't be the case if Cuba dictatorship weren't propped up by undemocratic and reactionary (albeit Left-identified) forces elsewhere.

    So: the overall pattern is that every generation the U.S. gets involved in a major region of the world that lies farther away from the northeastern U.S., fights objectionable or ambiguously justified wars there against dictators and rough equivalents in that part of the world for a generation, and then moves on.  Every region of the world so affected has been highly forgiving of this in the long run because people there perceive that the causes of justice and liberal democratization and resolution of their grievances were served, no matter the horrible realities of death, lies, misunderstandings, and destruction inflicted- which pass.

    Attacks against the U.S. that we see are not made because of the injustice of past wars.  No Germans, Russians, Vietnamese, Chinese, Spaniards, Italians, Iraqis, Afghanis, Japanese, Koreans, or Frenchmen have yet seen reason to retaliate violently in the U.S. due to wars their militaries lost, or even in significant scale overseas since the wars involving their peoples have ended.

    The attacks that we do see- notably 9/11 and the one here in Boston just two weeks ago- are due precisely to the U.S. holding out, to the U.S. not doing enough or not the right things in the perps' part of the world to achieve the end of empires, dictators, abusive monarchs, warlords, etc.  

    The morally sensible part of the world demands and expects that we do these things.  And if the U.S. employs objectionable people and politicians to do the violence, that's not a problem of primary significance.  (What if morally exemplary people were the only people willing and able to fight wars of liberation and forced to die in them- that would be to expend the best peoples' lives on achieving death of the worst, which is perverse.  Let the very horrible fight and die in defeating the most horrible, which is what they both desire.)  What your Moscow-funded reactionary Leftist propaganda outlets and shills, such as Pepe Escobar, who serve the downscale Capitalist and petrostate empires of Moscow and Beijing say is in service of these empires and their Old Orders.

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