Sunday, August 06, 2006

Juan Cole on the US, Neocons and Israel

I'm not exactly buying into it but Juan Cole of Informed Comment has a post on a tentative theory about what Israel and the Bush Administration may be doing. Go have a read but first here's an excerpt:
The wholesale destruction of all of Lebanon by Israel and the US Pentagon does not make any sense. Why bomb roads, roads, bridges, ports, fuel depots in Sunni and Christian areas that have nothing to do with Shiite Hizbullah in the deep south? And, why was Hizbullah's rocket capability so crucial that it provoked Israel to this orgy of destruction? Most of the rockets were small katyushas with limited range and were highly inaccurate. They were an annoyance in the Occupied Golan Heights, especially the Lebanese-owned Shebaa Farms area. Hizbullah had killed 6 Israeli civilians since 2000. For this you would destroy a whole country?

It doesn't make any sense.

Moreover, the Lebanese government elected last year was pro-American! Why risk causing it to fall by hitting the whole country so hard?

And, why was Condi Rice's reaction to the capture of two Israeli soldiers and Israel's wholesale destruction of little Lebanon that these were the "birth pangs" of the "New Middle East"? How did she know so early on that this war would be so wideranging?

I've been stymied in the last week. How does one analyze a right wing president who isn't rational and a right wing ally in Israel who also isn't particularly rational and expect them to deal with Nasrallah and Hezbollah who aren't being particularly rational either?

Let me offer just one quirky insight and the reader can fill in the rest. If Bush doesn't get his act together quickly, fully expect a large number of motels across the nation to start becoming low income housing in the next year or two.


Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

That certainly is intriguing. I'm not so sure about what's being hypothesized for the Lebanon incursion.

However, I note the crux in this:

"The regime in Iran has not gone away despite decades of hostility toward it by Washington, and despite the latter's policy of 'containment.' As a result, US petroleum corporations are denied significant opportunities for investment in the Iranian petroleum sector. Worse, Iran has made a big energy deal with China and is negotiating with India. As those two countries emerge as the superpowers of the 21st century, they will attempt to lock up Gulf petroleum and gas in proprietary contracts."

. . . and this:

"In a worst case scenario, Washington would like to retain the option of military action against Iran, so as to gain access to its resources and deny them to rivals. If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, however, that option will be foreclosed."

I think the ball to keep one's eye on here is China forming very close ties, economic and military, with Iran and India (whose leaders China's president met with this spring.) The idea of such an alliance being, for China, to ensure access and favorable terms for its oil and gas needs; and for Iran, to fend off any U.S. regime-changing adventure.

I suggest that aside from China's obvious ability to help Iran get nuclear weapons, just the fact China considers Iran a vital ally and trading partner will be enough to keep the U.S. at bay.

No Iranian nukes or fusillades of Chinese missiles will likely be necessary, if push comes to shove. China would just have to demand prompt repayment of outstanding U.S. debts.

If some such grandiose strategy as the one suggested in Cole's post is being entertained or, God forbid, pursued by Bush & Co., look for a really big buildup of the U.S. Navy and for Republicans to start laying the groundwork for reinstituting the military draft.

3:40 PM  

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