Like on most days, I woke up yesterday (Sunday) morning, turned my television on and tuned to the news. Not to watch it, more to have it on in the background while I go about the business of making coffee, performing my ablutions and otherwise preparing myself to start the day. I set the volume loud enough, however, that I can usually follow what’s being said and will pay close attention when something in particular grabs me. I should clarify: when I say “the news,” I actually mean the Sunday morning news talk shows, Meet The Press, This Week and the like. I don’t know why I do this to myself because these shows, with their never-ending musical chairs of the same politicians and polemicists disguised as political analysts guided through their motions by their credulous, pancaked hosts usually do nothing more than cause me to lose my shit and my voice yelling at the TV. Yesterday was no different. From opinions on the murder of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri by a police officer to what’s happening in Israel and Gaza to the air strikes in Northern Iraq, there was something said by these blow-dried gas bags about each and every one of these topics that caused me some amount of irritation.
My favorite discussions, that is, the ones guaranteed to push my buttons, center on foreign policy. No matter what is happening in the world, there will be somebody on Sunday morning ready to talk about how the U.S. response, led by “The Administration” of whatever president happens to be in office, has been inadequate and in fact has contributed to making the situation worse. Then that same person will NEVER, EVER tell us or, God forbid, be asked by the show’s host what they would have done or would be doing differently. That is a mortal lock, my friends.
Here’s the thing about that: we made the bed we’re sleeping in today. The world is a fucked up place in many corners of it and a lot of it, if not most of it, is the fault of the paranoid, belligerent and just plain stupid foreign policy of These United States. Not only that, but we have managed to fuck it up so bad that Solomon himself would not know whether to shit or go blind when faced with these problems. What makes it all worse is that deep down in their hearts, our fearless leaders know that it’s our/their own fault. And because we are the World’s Remaining Super Power (shhh, don’t tell China) and we subscribe to the “you break it, you bought it” rule of human affairs, we feel compelled to involve ourselves and intercede wherever there is strife or conflict that could possibly be of our making. Then we, of course, make matters worse and the cycle continues ad infinitum, world without end, Amen.
This is why I’m glad that the current occupant of the office that is oval resisted the many calls to provide direct support to, even intervention on behalf of, the rebels in Syria. Yeah, Assad is a really bad guy. Almost as bad has his father was. But he poses no direct threat to us and the job of getting rid of him was and remains that of the people of Syria. Period. Also, as you can all see, those “rebels” are now calling themselves ISIS and boy have they become a rascally handful. At least this time we can honestly say, “hey, don’t look at us; this one’s not our fault.”
But if you need further convincing, and at the risk of coming off as a pedantic asshole, I’m going to ask you to let me take you on a brief stroll through history, kind reader, so as to prove my point.
In 1951 the people of Iran elected Mohammad Mosaddegh Prime Minister. Not liking the fact that Mr. Mosaddegh subsequently nationalized Iran’s oil production to get out from under a royal screwing that Iran was getting from the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and also that he introduced such radical policies as unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation and the end of forced peasant labor, the CIA and MI6 teamed up to orchestrate a coup d’état to overthrow and install a new government, ruled by a more British and American friendly military dictator and supported by the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and his brutal secret police, the SAVAK (which was largely funded by, you guessed it, The Great Satan himself: Uncle Sam). This, of course, led to the eventual overthrow of the Shah and his government in 1979 and the installation of the Ayatollah Khomeini and an Islamic theocracy to rule Iran. And we all know what happened next.
Then, in 1980, our long-time friend, Saddam Hussein, himself a U.S. friendly (back then) military dictator of Iraq, invaded Iran out of fear of an Iranian style Islamic revolution by the oppressed, Iraqi Shiite Muslim majority, taking place in Iraq. Also because Hussein was an asshole and wanted Iran’s oil, no doubt. Guess what we did? That’s right, we teamed up to support and arm Saddam’s Iraq against, our now enemy, Iran. The eventual outcome of that was Saddam’s belief that he could invade Kuwait in 1990 to get their oil and that his great friend the United States would let him. Silly, old Saddam. We wanted access to that oil without having to pay both Saddam and the Kuwaitis for it. So now Saddam became our enemy and Iran became our friend (again) by letting us fly our war planes through their air space when we invaded Iraq (the first time) to liberate Kuwait. See how this works now?
It gets better. Much better. Another thing that happened in 1979 was that the Soviet Union invaded that wonderful, little patch of earth called Afghanistan to intervene in an internal struggle between its pro-Soviet, socialist government and an Islamist political faction calling itself the Mujahideen. Well, by this time we were certainly no great friend of Islam, but we were even less friends with the U.S.S.R. So under the theory that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, we boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow AND we started supplying weapons and other military aid to the insurgent Mujahideen in Afghanistan. In fact, we spent billions of our hard-earned tax dollars and armed them to the teeth. We taught them guerilla warfare, we taught them sabotage, we taught them a lot of stuff that today we call “terrorism.” And then, when the Soviets finally admitted defeat and withdrew, we left our well-trained and fully-armed friends there to sort it out among themselves who would rule that destroyed, impoverished country. Guess who won that struggle? That’s right, our friends the Mujahideen morphed into the Taliban, took over, threw nets over women’s heads, forced all the men to grow beards and reinstated the 9th century in Afghanistan. Oh yeah and, not long after that, Al-Qaeda was born.
Then 9/11 happened and we invaded our old friends in Afghanistan and our old frenemy Iraq and we continue to chase our tails in that region of the world today because, as the saying goes: what goes around comes around, motherfucker.