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Reader comment on item: White House Nonchalance toward the Middle East

Submitted by John R (United States), Mar 22, 2006 at 01:21

===Expect the Bush administration to continue to make the Middle East the center of American foreign policy.===

As should be.

==Also expect its strategies to remain basically unchanged – despite their mixed record so far.===

How do you know that it will remain basically unchanged? You cannot know that. I bet that is not at all their stance.

===That's the message in a major foreign policy document issued last week by the White House, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America. Mandated by law to appear every four years, the NSS, 49 pages long, was written by the national security advisor, Stephen Hadley and his team.===

Dan, how do you know that is their message? That is your message, not them. That is just your interpretation.

===The Middle East's outsized role comes across in various ways. In a cover letter, President Bush opens the report by stating "America is at war" and describing the enemy as "terrorism fueled by an aggressive ideology of hatred and murder, fully revealed to the American people on September 11, 2001." ===

Nothing wrong with that.

===The report singles out the Middle East as the region that "continues to command the world's attention"===

Of course. As it should be.

=== because for too long, many of its countries "have suffered from a freedom deficit. Repression has fostered corruption, imbalanced or stagnant economies, political resentments, regional conflicts, and religious extremism."===

I 100% agree. I just would put "religious extremism" as the major reason. In fact, you can say all these repressions, imbalance stagnant economies, political resentments, regional conflicts as result of religious extrimism. Instead of the above statement you can say ----

"because for too long, many of it's countries have suffered from a freedom deficit due to religious extremism. Religious extremism has fostered repression, corruption, imbalances or stagnant economies, political resentments, and regional conflicts"

===Other indications point to the centrality of the Middle East. and Gulf states. Iraq is mentioned by name 57 times,

Yes as it should be. I would put Iran on top too.

===while China is named just 28 times and Russia 17 The most dangerous state?

==="We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," asserts the report. And the Syrian regime, which "has chosen to be an enemy of freedom, justice, and peace," will be held to account.

100% agree.

===This focus on the Middle East makes sense, given the region's many urgent threats to America=======

100 % agree.

==Unfortunately, the NSS then insists on a rosy-tinted outlook, either understating the region's problems or approaching them too optimistically.===

Rosy tinted outlook? That is good. A good sign. I do not want to hear that there's nothing we can do about it.

===Circumstances in Iraq are presented as a mere challenge to be overcome.

Mere challenge? That is your interpretation Dan. I am sure if the White House hears that you said this, they'd say your wrong. I am sure they are taking this seriously.

==="We will work with the freely elected, democratic government of Iraq – our new partner in the War on Terror – to consolidate and expand freedom, and to build security and lasting stability" – as though the specter of civil war were not looming.

This I agree with you. "as though the specter of civil war were not looming" That is a good one.

===The report minimizes the threat of radical Islam via the fiction that a "proud religion" has been "twisted and made to serve an evil." ===

On this I 100% agree with you.

===Not so: Islamism is a deeply grounded and widely popular version of Islam, as shown by election results from Afghanistan to Algeria. Reliable opinion polls are lacking from majority-Muslim countries but repeated surveys in Britain give some idea of the harrowingly extremist attitudes of its Muslim population: 5 % of them support the July 7, 2005, terrorist attacks in London and say more such attacks are justified; 20% have sympathy with the feelings and motives of the July 7 attackers and believe that suicide attacks against the military in Britain can be justified. These results are probably typical of Muslim populations globally, as recent polls of Indonesians and Palestinian Arabs confirms.===

OK I agree.

===The NSS omits any mention of Turkey and Bangladesh and it refers to Saudi Arabia only in passing, suggesting that the Islamist leadership in these states poses no particular concern. ===

Turkey and Bangladesh. OK fine. Saudi Arabia. This is obvious to everybody. Quite clear. Despite everything that Saudi Arabia has done wrong, including especially financing terrorism. Actually it is even worse than that if we mention civil rights.... but hey Dan, don't you get it, we need the oil!! We cannot afford to get into trouble with that country. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, it is not wise to get into trouble with the Saudis. They are not hostile to us now and we should keep it that way for the sake of oil. It's like work, people suck up to those in power, their bosses, the clients.

===Thus does the NSS accurately reflect the yin and yang of the Bush administration's Middle East policy: a much-needed, relentless focus on the region's sick political culture and the threats it poses to Americans, mixed with an insouciance that current policies are just fine, thank you, everything is on track, and problems – Iraq, terrorism, and the Arab-Israeli conflict in particular – will soon enough be resolved.===

I like this approach. It sounds good for us. It reflects confidence too. Soon enough to be resolved? I'd say if they said that, then that is good. I do not want to hear there's nothing we can do to solve our problems.

===Significantly, only the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons does not inspire that glow of confidence. Here, the administration is frankly worried ( "if confrontation is to be avoided," states the NSS, diplomatic efforts must succeed in convincing Tehran to restrict its nuclear program to peaceful purposes). This observer wishes that comparable doubts accompanied other American policies in the region.===

I agree 100% with them. Iran is huge concern. And it certainly is wise Diplomatic efforts must be undertaken first. Confrontation must be avoided.... actually what am I saying.... oh yeah we must undertake diplomatic efforts, and if that fails, we go to war and take out the president who is a lunatic that can send nuclear weapons flying all over the world.

I can imagine if we do not do something about this, this president of Iran will launch these nuclear weapons at Israel with reason being Israel oppressing the Palestinians. I mean, Isreal does not even need to provoke this ruler to send nuclear weapons at them. Actually, if there is another incident of conflict against Palestinians, he'd get those nuclear missiles flying at Israel. And this is just Israel. Considering the lunacy, anger, extreme faith, he'd target us too, USA.

John R.

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