Paved With Good Intentions

Fallows has a sobering piece by William Polk on the devastating consequences of American meddling in the Middle East:

Starting in the west and moving east: in Libya, having destroyed the Qaddafi regime, we unleashed forces that have virtually torn Libya apart and have spilled over into Central Africa, opening a new area of instability. In Egypt, the “non-coup-coup” of General Sisi has produced no ideas on what to do to help the Egyptian people except to execute large numbers of their religious leaders; he has also made clear his suspicion of and opposition to us. In occupied Palestine, the Israeli state is reducing the population to misery and driving it to rage while, in Washington, its extreme right-wing government is thumbing its nose at its benefactor, America. Our relations have never been worse. In Syria, we are engaged in arming, training and funding essentially the same people whom the new Egyptian regime is about to hang and whom we are considering bombing in Iraq. In Iraq, we are about to become engaged in supporting the regime we installed and which is the close ally of the Syrian and Iranian regimes that we have been trying for years to destroy; yet in Iran, we appear to be on the point of reversing our policy of destroying its government and seeking its help to defeat the insurgents in Iraq. And on and on.

He reminds us of a time when the US was not regarded as a constant menacing meddler in almost every nook and cranny of the planet:

Admittedly, in my day in planning American policy in the Middle East, we never had to find our ways out of such a disarray. My tasks were comparatively easy. So, perhaps, our actions are aspects of a shrewd, nimble and skillful policy that I am simply not clever enough to understand. I certainly hope so.

But, even if they are, what is the “bottom line,” as businessmen like to say, in terms of our objective of being “secure?”

Allow me a personal answer. When I first traveled through the deserts, farm lands, villages and cities of Africa and Asia in the 1950s and 1960s, unfailingly, I was welcomed, invited into homes, fed and cared for. Today, I would risk being shot in any of the areas most affected by American policy.

The US is addicted to controlling the planet. And we just hit another bottom. I don’t think a single, small scotch on the rocks will help.