Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What toppling Saddam hath wrought

Caroline Glick has a long and detailed account about the rapidly exploding Iranian sphere of influence. Apparently, things have gotten so bad that Egypt has joined common cause with Israel in opposing Iran's extension of its power through proxy states like Lebanon, Palestine, Eritrea, and Somalia. (If that doesn't make you do a double-take, just think of it as if Keith Olberman and Bill O'Reilly joined together to fight MoveOn.org.)

The question is what caused Egypt to suddenly act? It appears that two things are motivating the Mubarak regime. First, there is the nature of the Hizbullah network it uncovered. ...

The Egyptian state prosecution alleges that while operating as Iranian agents, [smugglers working in Palestine] were scouting targets along the Suez Canal. That is, they were planning strategic strikes against Egypt's economic lifeline.

The second aspect of the network that clearly concerned Egyptian authorities was what it showed about the breadth of cooperation between the regime's primary opponent - the Muslim Brotherhood - and the Iranian regime. ...

It is the confluence of both of these aspects of Iran's revolutionary ambitions that forced Egypt to act now, regardless of the impact of its actions on the political fortunes of [Israel's] government. And it is not a bit surprising that Egypt was forced to act at such a politically inopportune time.
That's right, it's not surprising. It was the inevitable result of the US toppling Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, which were the two major checks on Iran's power to the west and east, respectively. Iran, which should have been a regional power with its oil wealth, was kept in check by having to defend against hostile regimes on both its major borders.

The US under George W. Bush rightfully took out the Taliban in retaliation for that regime's unrepentant sheltering of al Qaeda before 9/11. If we strengthened Iran some in the bargain, that was an unfortunate consequence of a justified and necessary action. Then, however, Bush insisted on needlessly and (quite frankly) stupidly deposing Saddam Hussein, throwing Iraq into complete chaos and creating a huge power vacuum in the Persian Gulf that Iran quickly stepped in to fill.

Yes, Saddam was a tyrant. He massacred his own people and ruled with a brutal iron fist. He also brought order and stability to Iraq. The chaos unleashed in Saddam's wake is at least as bad as his iron fisted order was. The reason is simple: most Middle Easterners (and nearly all Arabs) lack the cultural experience, the temperament, and the ability to live in civilized, democratic society (something I've written about before). For reasons of climate, geography, culture, and history, Arabs and Middle Easterners are just different from Americans and Western Europeans. As the philosopher, Lawrence Auster, has said,
The obvious problem with the idea of America re-ordering the Arab Mideast just as it did post-Nazi Germany is that Arabs are not like Germans. ... Germans do what they are told and Arabs do not; Germans are governable and Arabs are not — a view supported by the complete absence of consensual government anywhere in the Arab world.
Quite simply, Arabs and Middle Easterners must be ruled: they will not, they cannot be governed. They have a fierce independence and indomitable strength of will that, while admirable in themselves, mean they will always be ruled by strong men like Saddam Hussein or by totalitarian ideologies like Islam.

By ignoring this basic fact of Middle Eastern and Arab identity, Bush unleashed hell in Iraq and opened the door for a radical Muslim state to assume increasingly unquestioned (or at least unquestionable) dominance in the region. Conservatives can (and should) protest Iran's rise in the Middle East, especially in light of the docile servility evidenced in the Obama administration's and Britain's responses to that rise.

But when they look for reasons why Iran has catapulted to prominence, they need to look in the mirror. It was their unquestioned support of the Iraq war that allowed this to happen.

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