Presidential Mideast Failures Didn’t Start with Biden

Pres. Joe Biden is an incompetent individual.  That is apparent.  And since the present endgame of our Afghan fiasco is on his watch, he gets to be and should be the whipping boy, who can be blamed for the humiliation of our country by the Taliban’s return, the cruelties and murders that certainly will increase in the days and weeks ahead, and the re-establishment of a fundamentalist sharia culture in that country.

Nevertheless, we must say many presidents have failed to deal properly with the Muslim world, going back to Pres. Jimmy Carter.  The Iranian hostage crisis on his watch was a humiliating and unnecessary debacle, which also was the result of a takeover by Islamic fundamentalists (led by Ayatollah Khomeini, who called the USA “the Great Satan”) who had ousted a U.S. puppet and despot (Shah Reza Pahlavi), as has just occurred with the precipitous departure of Afghan Pres. Ashraf Ghani.  

Later, George Bush’s handling of the attacks upon Afghanistan and Iraq were filled with lies and egregious errors.  Frankly, this writer considers the problems we are facing today as much his fault as Biden’s.  If Biden has screwed up getting us out, Bush messed up significantly when he went in.  When we invaded both countries, the nation-building use of the military was a complete mistake.  It also was a mistake to implement Western ideas of democracy within a modified sharia construct.  We are not like God, who can turn rivers into blood or water into wine.  We cannot turn tribal and authoritarian people into democratic nation-state entities populated by self-regulated, autonomous individuals who engage respectfully with others for the good of all.  It also was a mistake in Iraq to allow Shi’ites to gain so much power in the post-Saddam government (which automatically extended the influence of Iran), and it was a mistake to allow the Taliban to control the mountainous and rural areas of Afghanistan and to receive almost unlimited aid from Pakistan.

Long before George Bush, it was a mistake for the Reagan administration to have taken sides against Iran in the Iraq-Iran war.  While Saddam, a Sunni Muslim, was in charge of Iraq at the time, eventually, Bush would depose him, and the Shia Muslim majority in Iraq would come to power, and, because of their common religious beliefs with Iran, would have an affinity with Iran, our avowed enemy.  The net effect of the removal of Saddam was that the Shia Muslims in Iraq gained more influence which reduced tensions between Iran and Iraq since Iran is a Shia Muslim country.  While Reagan in siding with Iraq may have operated from the principle of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” (although still my enemy), he should have foreseen that no good can come from taking sides in the bloodthirsty, unstable Arab-Muslim world.

When will we realize that these Middle East countries are terrorist hellholes and that our involvement is helping no one, least of all ourselves?  Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia (I recall that a “little event” called 9/11 was carried out mostly by Saudis), Lebanon, Egypt, and Qatar have not advanced world peace and prosperity.  They are all leeching off the wealth created by the great multinational oil companies.  

The Pakistanis have aggressive terrorist sympathies, and the prime minister, Imran Khan, has expressed delight at the return of the Taliban.  He has a handsome, cosmopolitan face, but he still has that obsessive authoritarian and cruel mindset so typical of Muslim leaders.  Only the UAE seems to have embraced Western culture with its skyscrapers and Western clothing.  New York University has a branch in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The disaster we are watching with alarm is actually part of a bigger alarming picture.  Our soldiers were blown up in Lebanon at the Marine barracks in the 1980s.  The Khobar Towers filled with Americans were destroyed in Saudi Arabia in 1996.  The Syrian government used poison gas and crossed Pres. Obama’s “red line,” and instead of a violent response, it received a lollipop of forgiveness.  The Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was replaced under U.S. initiatives by the horrible Muslim Brotherhood menace Mohamed Morsi, who was rewarded with fighter jets by Pres. Obama for carrying out his Muslim Brotherhood takeover.  Only the third dictator, Gen. Abdul al-Sisi, who kicked out Morsi, saved America and the world from the plotting and colossal blunder of Obama, who this writer believes not only endorsed Morsi, but plotted with Morsi to overthrow Mubarak.  Why else would those expensive jets have been given to Egypt so soon after the Muslim Brotherhood takeover? 

Under al-Sisi, Egypt returned to a dictatorship with a measure of stability.  He knows how to live with the Islamic fundamentalist maniacs (they are throughout the Arab world) but at the same time to not allow them to gain political ascendancy.  For example, the rabid Sharia crowd destroyed 40 Coptic (Christian) churches without significant reprisals, but some efforts have been made by the Egyptian government to help in their rebuilding.  Thus, the al-Sisi government cannot be described as humanitarian, but it has not celebrated the burning of the churches, either.  That is the best anyone can do in a government in a Middle Eastern country! 

When in heaven’s name is the USA going to learn this lesson?  If one of those countries has a dictator who does not invade his neighbors, does not incentivize the terrorists, does not actively promote the drug trade, and does not persecute women (even if he is not an advocate for women’s equality), we should count our blessings and not try to force our ideas.  The pea-brains and morally limited people living in those countries with low literacy rates cannot do better than having dictators like al-Sisi.  Even Gaddafi in Libya finally saw the light and gave up allowing terrorist camps in his country after being bombed by Reagan, and later, in 2003, he relinquished his quest for nuclear weapons.  But the Obama administration was sure it could do better than Pres. George Bush and allowed (or perhaps instigated) the overthrow of Gaddafi.  Five murdered Americans in Benghazi are still causing our hearts to ache because of the utter stupidity and irresponsibility of American leadership.  Pres. Obama and Hillary Clinton initiated that debacle as part of enacting the “Arab Spring,” which name merely expressed their fantasy about what the Arab-Muslim world could or should be.  When will our politicians accept the reality that the Arab-Muslim world in the Middle East is backward and authoritarian and stop trying to re-create it in our own image?  Stop playing God!

Biden is destroying Afghanistan’s citizenry as well as our own people and the treasure we have left there.  His obvious failure is part of a larger picture of consistent American leadership failures in relation to the Muslim world of North Africa and the Middle East.  Although this writer supported many of Pres. Donald Trump’s initiatives, it was apparent to me that with his agreement to leave Afghanistan by May, he also had a fantasy of escape not very different from Biden’s.  (The hyperlinked article is highly recommended.)

These foreign policy blunders have been deadly and discouraging.  But until our leaders admit that they are consistently failing, we will continue to be blown up, beheaded, and cheated.

Image via Pixabay.

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Buffy Lanz