Sunday, November 11, 2007

Turning Bush Incompetence to American Advantage

Has anybody noticed how well some of our enemies are doing compared to some of our friends.

Take Pakistan for instance. Pakistan has been our strategic partner and ally since 9-11. We've sent them $10 bill in aid and Condoleeza Rice gives Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf her best advice. But it's all backfired horribly. Taliban-style militants have begun to fan out from their base in the northwestern tribal areas, substantial parts of the military apparatus support "Islamo-fascism," and the crisis between Musharaff and the opposition has gotten worse every day since he declared a state of emergency.

Perhaps treating the Pakistanis as a friend and ally wasn't such a good idea.

Meanwhile, our enemies in Iran seem to be doing very well. The Bush administration may have declared Iran to be part of the axis of evil, but they've also have overthrown hostile regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. The ruling ayatollahs have also choked off the moderate opposition that developed during the early part of the decade and skillfully employed President Ahmadinejad as a kind of court jester to draw attention away from the real power. Unlike Pakistan, Iran has clients in the form of Hezbollah and the Shiite parties in Iraq and all of those clients are doing very well at the moment.

It doesn't seem that treating Iran as our enemy--even our chief enemy--has worked out so well either.

Of course, the underlying problem is Bush administration incompetence rather than Iran and Pakistan. It was as a result of Condoleeza Rice's pressure that Musharaff decided to bring back the populist former prime minister Benazir Bhutto who is now galvanizing opposition to the state of emergency. I bet Musharaff is kicking himself for following American advice on that one.

Likewise, the Iranians were smart enough after 9-11 to recognize that the U. S. was going to go after the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. Wanting to help us along in eliminating their own enemies, the Iranians made a number of friendly gestures on the intelligence front. In their hubris however, the Bush administration wanted to invade Iran as well as Iraq and brushed the Iranian offers aside. As a result, the Iranians benefited enormously from our war in Iraq without doing besides positioning themselves to benefit from our failure as well.

But what can we do now?

My suggestion is that people in the U. S. just assume the incompetence of the Bush administration as we discuss foreign policy. "Given" Bush administration incompetence, perhaps it's best that the United States withdraw our ambassador from Pakistan , and hit them with sanctions. That way, the Pakistanis would no longer be getting our lousy advice and our money would no longer be corrupting their politicians and business people. We could also declare Pakistan to be "the new frontier of evil" and threatening to bomb them if they don't turn over bin Laden. In that way, we could help stabilize Pakistan by giving them an "enemy" they can unite around. And just to show we're really serious, we could place some carriers outside their major ports and conduct extensive war games. Nothing like provocative displays of aggression to help a fractured country become more united.

As far as Iran goes, the best way for the Bush administration to undermine the regime in Tehran is to make them our new friends. Set up a hotline between Condi Rice and their leadership so they'll always have access to her wisdom. Talk about looking into their hearts and seeing soulmates. Send them billions of dollars in military and economic aid. Invite the Iranians to station troops to protect Shiite shrines in Iraq. The Bush administration should make the Iranians their new best buddies, friends, and pals.

If a full-court press of Bush friendship doesn't destroy Iran, nothing will.

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