Has the U.S. taken on a “generational commitment” in the Middle East, in the sense that we’re going to have substantial numbers of American troops fighting in, or occupying, one Middle Eastern country or another at all times for a decade or so to come?
Is there any way out of that? If so, is there any good reason not to take it?
If we do have to maintain our military presence in the ME for the long haul, where are we going to get the troops and the funding?
Is there some way we can withdraw all, or nearly all, American forces from the ME, and still guarantee the steady supply of cheap imported oil upon which our national economy, in its present physical form, depends?
I’m at the bottom of the totem pole in expertise but it sure looks more and more that way to me. If not Iraq then somewhere else. Those in the Middle East might claim we are de facto occupying Saudi Arabia right now.
If there is I can’t see it. If there is one we should grab it even if we have to leave most of GW’s face behind.
No problem as long as foreigners are willing to buy our trillions of dollars worth of bonds. The problem is paying the interest on the bonds while still maintaining some semblence of an societal infrastructure here in the US. Of course GW’s corporate cronys won’t care, they can move to Switzerland or Cannes or maybe Bangladesh or China where their employees are.
Again, I don’t see how. It seems to me that we, through GW’s acts, have pissed off so many in the ME they can’t wait for our big military force to be gone so they can go to work.
But, we don’t have any troops there. Any more. (Apparently the Defense Department has learned its lesson from the Gulf War – the presence of infidel troops on the soil of Mohammed’s homeland angered Muslims all over the world.)
And, by the way, wouldn’t this be a violation of the doctrine of GW and Rummy to stand tall in the face of opposition by terrorists? After all, if the terrorists actions can make us leave Saudi Arabia why shouldn’t the same tactics be useful elsewhere?
I’m just not seeing this, David. The PNAC isn’t so much about corporate cronyism as it is about advancing american interests and ‘freedom’ through the world. These people aren’t cynically manipulating the system…these are true believers. So if they ended up damaging the US and it’s ability to dominate the world and had to flee to Cannes they would have failed in their goals.
But we don’t need to station troops in SA. In the Gulf War, we were involved at SA’s invitation, because they were afraid that after Hussein was done digesting Kuwait, SA would be next; and it was necessary to use SA as a staging ground for the counter-invasion of Kuwait. But in the more recent Iraq War, we had Kuwait to use as a staging ground for the invasion of Iraq. It sufficed. So long as a U.S.-friendly government remains in power in SA, we won’t be sending in troops. And it’s easy to save face – to say, we’re not afraid of the terrorists but we’re not stationing troops in SA out of respect for the wishes of the kingdom’s sovereign government.
But since we still have uniformed troops (what, if they are trainers or radar techs, they don’t count?) in SA, the only folks that buy into the ‘we abandoned SA’ myth are the sort that believe the Tet offensives were NVA successes and whatnot.
To wit: I have no doubt that the leading neo-con thinkers (if anyone can truly be said to ‘lead’ the thinking of a diverse group) of strong minded people) believe that our presence in Iraq is a ‘generational commitment’ because they want it to be a permanent commitment. This would give the United States the ability to project force throughout the middle east for the forseeable future.
But I think it’s awfully shortsighted of them. I think both political and economic forces will end up limiting both our commitment to the region AND our ability to expand the military to serve those overarching ambitions.
If the military must claim a larger and larger share of the American tax base while killing social services we’ll find ourselves in the same position the Soviets did in the late 1980s…spending so much on military personnel and hardware that the very infrastructure of the nation collapses…leading to a political revolution that puts the neo-cons and their followers on the bench for a generation or more. If they can’t see this I don’t see a way to explain it to them.
American politics is a damn fine balancing act. The electorate will only go so far in any one direction before wanting to push back towards the center. Politicians and policy makers ignore that at their own peril.
Maybe they count, maybe they don’t, but with that kind of presence nobody can say we’re “de facto occupying” SA, as David Simmons suggested. In any case, I was under the impression – perhaps mistaken – that we had no troops there at all, other than Embassy guards (and Paul in Saudi, of course!). Do you have a cite?
Considering we have been “de facto occupying” SA for the last decade or so, I don’t see why we would remove our presence in the area for the next decade. We are at war with Islamic fundamentalism. And until it becomes the government’s policy to fight the terrorists by leaving them alone (or ceding to their demands), I don’t see how abandoning the ME would be even somewhat prudent.