Imagine you’re a bad guy looking out on the geo-political landscape, what do you see?
Secretary Gates tells Europe to get their military act together. Eleven weeks into the Libyan conflict and NATO partners are running out of bullets; “unsustainable” is a frequent characterization by our “allies”. Libya has not been cowered, Gaddafi is still there. If NATO ran out of bullets in Libya their ability to project power elsewhere is essentially nil, meaning the bad guys can dance around singing “don’t worry, be happy”. NATO is tapped out after 11 weeks with the U.S. reluctant to engage beyond the current commitment. The long decline of European military capabilities has hit the red line concurrent with the need for the U.S. to reduce military spending. Oops, bad guys like that.
Financial pressures in the U.S. will result in a diminished commitment to NATO, a reduction in the standing troop commitments in Europe and the concomitant reduction in overall NATO capabilities. The Russians are not going to drive tanks through the Fulda Gap; they can, however, turn off European natural gas and oil supplies. Who needs tanks when you can strangle Europe with energy policy?
Three conflicts evolve into four as we engage a bombing campaign against threats in Yemen while the drumbeat to withdraw from Afghanistan grows louder.
Iraqi’s remain nebulous about American presence beyond the Status of Forces Agreement deadlines executed under President Bush. Iraq has the option to request an extension; that has not and likely will not happen. If the regional pattern holds true Islam will come to dominate democratic process. Democratic process is disregarded under Islam in favor of Sharia where mainstream interpretations of Islam prevail. The next most influential force in Iraq beyond the U.S. is …. Wait for it…; Iran.
Syrian President Assad’s “uprising” is addressed with tanks and helicopter gunships. The West can’t do a thing about it; they ran out of bullets in Libya. Video from Syria demonstrates the uncontrolled violence unleashed on Syrians. The State Department and by extension the President insist on economic and diplomatic “pressure”. Pressure, what pressure? Our disapproval results in, well, nothing; unless you consider things getting geometrically more violent a “something”.
Springtime in Egypt has resulted in 7,000 new political prisoners, unrelenting attacks on Egyptian Christian communities, an al Qaeda enclave in the Sinai and a resurgent Muslim Brotherhood positioned to control the political process, which will end participative democratic processes should they take control. The Brotherhood may however be smart enough to delay the attempt at control as Egypt’s economy is about to fall into a black hole, The Brotherhood may decide to skip over that hole and just wait for the collapse.
Iran hurls toward nuclear weapons with the assistance of Russia, China and Chinese surrogate North Korea. Seven years of diplomatic and economic pressure has been nothing short of magical; wouldn’t you say? Just today President Ahmadinejad launched yet another tirade against the “slavers and colonizers” of the West with a call to create a new alliance in opposition to the West . Iran is having lots of meetings with Russia and China on the sidelines of the SCO conference. (Asia’s NATO) By the way, which religion of peace actually authorizes slavery; “anyone….. anyone….., Bueller?
Turkey continues to slide away from secularism. Recent elections saw stealth Islamist parties’ gain 60% of Parliament. How about that? A country potentially controlled by Islamist ideology as a NATO partner. There’s some food for thought. Turkey will not run out of bullets.
The Obama Administration has, since taking office, castigated Israel with little to say about violence perpetrated by Hamas, Fatah or Hiz’bAllah. They have parroted a variety of Hamas and Fatah positions related to negotiations with Israel. There will be no negotiations with Israel, no need. The U.S. has and is carrying water for Hamas and Fatah.
The Arab League is silent on Egypt, Syria and Libya. Search Arab League statements and, no surprise: it’s about support for Palestine, the old news regarding a request for a Libyan no fly zone and criticism of the bombing campaign. No recent Arab League statements related to Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain or Libya. One has to assume that they’re fine with the way things are progressing or tied in knots politically, which results in the same thing.
The calculus is simple; the West will not, cannot do much of anything to influence happenings in the Middle East at the moment. Egypt needs 10’s of billions, don’t have it; Europe doesn’t have it. Stretched too thin to do anything in Syria even if it made sense, which it does not. Iran has not backed off even a little bit and rumors of secret facilities that are fully operational and approaching weapons grade materials are out there but unconfirmed. Iranian smoke usually means Iranian fire. One more thing, Saudi is fed up with us according to the powerful Prince Turki bin Talal. Of course if threatened by Iran who gets the 911 call?
The Arab world is silent because the West is extinguishing their capabilities. There are lots of bad guys in the Arab World and crisis debilitates the West. Oil is another way. Sea passage is another as are terrorism and the threat of nuclear weapons. An attack on Israel would get the ball rolling as would provocation forcing Israel to respond in force. Two generations of martyr brainwashing are firmly in place in Israel’s neighborhood.
The Arab World, at the moment, need not make progress. All they have to do is fuel a little fire here and there in hopes the West will continue to “not get it”! Or, to run out of bullets!