Just Who is a Threat to Whom?

March 1, 2012

If you listen to the so-called mainstream media Iran is the biggest threat to world peace since Adolph Hitler.  Every night, journalists, analysts, and government officials bombard the airwaves with inflammatory rhetoric about how Iran is hell-bent on incinerating Israel and the United States.  Naturally, the whole charade is packaged to instill fear in the average American that if Iran builds nuclear weapons it would be the end of Western Civilization as we know it.  The daily barrage is reminiscent of the American media’s successful campaign in 2003 to beat the drums for war with Iraq by convincing Americans that Saddam Hussein was allied with Al Qaeda and possessed weapons of mass destruction.  We know now that the allegations against Saddam were false and represented either incompetent journalism at best or fraudulence at worse.

In either case the same crusade is being played out today against Iran.  What the discerning observer must ask is: who is really a threat to whom in this circumstance?  A close look at the evidence should leave little doubt in anyone’s mind.

When it comes to military might the United States’ far exceeds the Iran’s capabilities.  The comparison is so ridiculous that I won’t insult my readers’ intelligence by spewing already known facts.  However, it is important to note that about 45-50 percent of Iran’s meager air force is grounded because of a lack of spare parts (owing mostly to the outdated aircraft in its fleet).  The last time it saw action was in 1988 at the tail end of the Iran-Iraq War.  It also lacks modern radar, communication, and electronic warfare equipment.

Iran’s navy fares no better.  It boasts a few small frigates and three Russian shallow water Kilo-class submarines.  This is undoubtedly not the kind of fleet that could ever pose a threat to any country.  For the American media to talk up that Iran’s military poses a huge threat to the United States is ridiculous.

On the other hand, the best trained and equipped military in the world has Iran almost completely surrounded.  The United States has military personnel and hardware on 44 bases around Iran.  She maintains an invasion force in neighboring Afghanistan and has conducted air campaigns over other regional countries including Pakistan and Yemen.

In fact, the U.S. has even just recently violated Iranian airspace with at least one spy drone that the Iranians shot down.  Additionally, the car bomb blast that killed an Iranian nuclear scientist inside Iran in January has U.S. and/or Israeli intelligence finger prints all over it.

But this should come as no surprise as the U.S. has a history of meddling in the internal affairs of Iran.  In 1953, the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.  Mosaddegh’s crime was nationalizing Iran’s oil industry.  Besides overthrowing the popular Mosaddegh, the U.S. also installed and then supported until 1979 the brutal regime of Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi (The Shah).  This sordid history of American intervention in Iran essentially paved the way for the ascendance of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the current frigid relationship that exists between the two countries.

Lastly, the extreme sanctions being placed on Iran by the United States is the same tactic applied by Franklin Roosevelt on pre-war Japan.  In July of 1941, FDR froze all Japanese assets in the U.S., terminated all trade agreements between the two countries, and set up an oil embargo which proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.  The result was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War II.  Today, the Obama Administration is attempting to starve Iran into submission with trade sanctions and an embargo on Iranian oil.  The U.S. ability to impose these sanctions through her European allies is yet another way the U.S. is a much larger threat to Iran than Iran is to the U.S.

At the end of the day, when you cut through all the hype of the media and our leaders calling for tough action against Iran, what is needed is a little perspective.  It is the United States that has the mightier military by far.  It is the United States that has Iran almost completely surrounded by a military force that She has recently used on several of Iran’s neighbors and Iran as well.  It is the United States that in the past has been involved in a violent overthrow of Iran’s government and the propping up of a brutal despot.  And it is the United States that has imposed crippling sanctions on Iran in order to get its way.  But we are to believe that Iran is a threat to the United States?  It’s no wonder Iran may be seeking nuclear weapons.  How else could She defend herself?

Article first published as Just Who is a Threat to Whom? on Blogcritics.

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The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

October 30, 2011

”I spent 33 years….being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and the bankers.  I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912.  I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916.  I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City (Bank) boys to collect revenue in.  I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street….  In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.”

Marine Major General Smedley Butler

August 21, 1931 to an American Legion convention

The more things change the more they stay the same.  America has a long and illustrious history of imperialistic feats as was so eloquently portrayed by Smedley Butler in 1931.  The recent intervention of NATO led by the United States in the Libyan civil war is just the latest example of U.S./Western imperialism.

It all started with a massive deception.  Security Council Resolution 1973 was limited in scope and simply called for the imposition of a “No Fly Zone” over Libya to protect threatened civilians from tyrant Muammar Qaddafi’s wrath.  The intent was clear and mostly responsible for its passage through the Security Council as members Russia, China, India, Brazil, and Germany voted to abstain instead of against the resolution.

However, from the very beginning NATO’s intent to liberate Libya not just protect its citizens became clear.  NATO bombings went beyond aircraft, anti-aircraft batteries and the like to troop formations, oil installations, and other infrastructure.  Even though Obama said there would be no need for “boots on the ground”, reports broke that American Special Forces had been on the ground prior to the beginning of the social unrest?

Why the special interest in Libya?

There is no doubt it has nothing to do with the well-being of the Libyan people.  It is all about Libya’s oil reserves.  In 2004, after Qaddafi ended his quest for weapons of mass destruction, President George W. Bush lifted sanctions against Libya.  Since then American companies have invested heavily in Libya.  For instance, energy giants ConocoPhillips and Marathon have each invested about $700 million.

Perhaps not understanding how the system of Western corporatism functions, Qaddafi over time began demanding tougher contract terms, big bonuses up front, and most remarkably he demanded that global oil companies operating in Libya pay the $1.5 billion bill for Libya’s role in the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 and other terrorist attacks or face “serious consequences” for their oil leases.  Possibly the last straw for Western imperialists was Qaddafi’s plan to unite African and Arab states under a new currency to rival the dollar and Euro.  Under the proposal, oil and other resources would be sold only for gold dinars.  The economic implications for the West would be immense.

So when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Tripoli last week shortly after Qaddafi’s slaying in the streets of Misrata, it was difficult for her to hold back her glee at another conquest for Western corporate interests.  Even before Qaddafi’s death on October 20, representatives from 80 French firms arrived in Tripoli to meet officials of the Transitional National Council.  And in the meantime, British defense minister, Philip Hammond strongly advised British companies to “pack their Suitcases’ for Libya.

If you look up ‘western companies returning to Libya” on Google News there are a slew of articles about American and European security, construction, infrastructure, and oil companies being ready, willing, and able to “carve-up” the spoils of war there.  Funny how those same corporations didn’t spend the billions of dollars it took to “liberate” Libya.  Of course, that was done by the taxpayers in NATO countries.

And so the more things change the more they stay the same.  In Smedley Butler’s day, the admissions in his speech rocked the country to its core.  Perhaps someday in the future another courageous American commander from the Libyan war will make a similar speech acknowledging his complicity in Western imperialism in that country.  But with the internet and the growth of the alternative media that speech is unnecessary.  Anybody has the ability to find the truth on their own.

Article first published as The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same on Blogcritics.


The Regime Should be Questioned More than Ever

October 16, 2011

The drumbeats for war with Iran are pounding fast and furious in Washington.  The Obama Administration claims that it foiled a plot financed and directed by the Iranians to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. on American soil.  According to Attorney General Eric Holder, the Iranians acting through an Iranian-American intermediary were in the process of hiring a Mexican drug cartel to make the hit when DEA agents intervened to save the day.  Obama and Holder are accusing the Quds Force, a special unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, of orchestrating the whole plot.  Those that desire war with Iran are using the allegation as a pretext for military engagement with the Islamic Republic.  For his part, Obama claims that all options are on the table for the U.S. to deal with the most recent “dangerous and reckless” behavior of the Iranian government.

But Iran specialists who have followed the operations of the Quds Force for many years say the plot just doesn’t make any sense.  They question what Iran would have to gain from assassinating the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. on American soil.  At a time when Iran has been focused on evading further sanctions against it by hiding its nuclear program and building relationships with non-Western allies why would it risk all that for bumping off the Saudi diplomat?  Why would it draw attention to itself through an act that has no conceivable benefit?

Additionally, experts say that the Quds Force is a sophisticated special operations unit.  They doubt it would utilize the likes of a former used car salesman, Mansour Arbabsiar, the Iranian-American intermediary implicated in the plot, and a Mexican drug gang infiltrated with both Mexican and U.S. intelligence agents.to carry out this sensitive operation in the U.S.  The whole scenario is beneath their modus operandi.

But, Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton press on with their story.  Secretary Clinton stated that the plot is “”a flagrant violation of international and U.S. law and a dangerous escalation of the Iranian government’s long-standing use of political violence and sponsorship of terrorism.”  The hypocrisy should not be lost on anybody who even remotely follows international news.  The Iranian regime is certainly a rogue cabal of henchmen and butchers, but the United States government is also engaged in “flagrant violations of international and U.S. law”.  What about “Fast and Furious,” the ATF’s operation which allowed Mexican drug lords to illegally purchase guns in the U.S. to be used in Mexico so the agency could “track” the weapons and facilitate arrests?

And there are far more serious violations of international law committed by the U.S. government.  Currently we have secret commandos (special hit teams) on the ground in more than 70 countries and that number is expected to rise to 120.  And let’s not forget about our undeclared drone war in Pakistan which has killed hundreds if not thousands of non-combatants.

At the end of the day, we live in very dangerous times.  Many in and out of our government will always need an enemy to demonize.  With the economy headed for an even bigger collapse than the 2008 financial crisis, scapegoats and distractions will be needed to deflect the blame from those that deserve it.  When all else fails failed regimes turn to war to rally the masses.  Americans need to question the veracity of our leaders even more and understand that in many cases what we allege of others we also are guilty of and therefore contribute to an unsafe world.  The last thing we need is war with Iran.  If Americans become more vigilant they can silence those drumbeats.


Ron Paul is Right about Iran

August 22, 2011

During the GOP Presidential Debate in Ames, Iowa, on August 11, the most significant exchange between any two candidates came when Rick Santorum called Congressman Ron Paul out for his position on our relationship with Iran.  Santorum, neoconservative extraordinaire, accused the congressman of being naïve about the seriousness of Iran developing a nuclear weapon of its own.  The accusation brought an emotional rebuke from Dr. Paul as he delivered a history lesson of Iran/American relations to Santorum while at the same time launching an emotional appeal for the policy of endless wars to seize.  The exchange highlighted the irreconcilable differences that exist between those who believe there is a bad guy under every rock and those who actually know history and understand international relations.  Santorum and his neoconservative brethren are the former while Ron Paul represents the latter.

It’s only common sense that if you corner an animal it will act aggressively in order to defend itself and escape.  Countries are no different.  As Congressman Paul noted in the debate, the United States military has Iran surrounded on all sides.  Our military currently occupies Iraq to Iran’s east, Afghanistan to Iran’s west.  Obama has escalated U.S. bombings in Iran’s other neighbor to the east, Pakistan.  There are also 3 American military bases in the Persian Gulf south of Iran.  A large naval base is in Bahrain and army and air force bases are in Qatar.  With all of that hostile American fire power situated so close to its borders, it’s no wonder Iran is feeling a bit vulnerable and in need of a little defensive weaponry.

Santorum argued that we have some special obligation to protect Israel from a potentially nuclear Iran.  It’s amazing how Israel seems to enter the conversation when our politicians speak of war.  In Santorum’s case it’s all a part of his pandering to Jewish and Evangelical voters.  But, as Ron Paul indicated to the former senator from Pennsylvania, Israel can defend itself.  As a matter of fact, Israel possesses nuclear weapons of her own.  Even Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has stated that he doesn’t think Iran will drop a bomb on Israel or any other country in the region.  The ruling cabal in Teheran may be brutal to its own citizens but it is not suicidal.

This, of course, is reminiscent of a former foe, the Soviet Union.  As Congressman Paul continued to school Santorum he pointed out that there was no regime more brutal to so many people for so long as the communist Soviet Union.  Under Joseph Stalin and various other crazy Soviet dictators, millions were slaughtered or left to die of starvation and all of Eastern Europe was subjected to Soviet domination for close to forty-five years.  After the Soviets stole our nuclear secrets and developed their own bomb we sold them grain and negotiated arms deals with them.  Both sides realized the importance of doing what was necessary in order to co-exist in a vastly more dangerous world.  At the end of the day, Iran has no chance of attaining the economic, political, and military capabilities of the now defunct Soviet Union.  As a matter of fact, chances are very good that if the Iranian leadership took the same path (military buildup) as the Soviet oligarchs they would end up ultimately in the same place – on the ash heap of failed regimes in history.

When the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War ended neoconservatives like Rick Santorum needed a new enemy.  Given America’s decades’ long meddling in Middle Eastern affairs and our unconditional support for the State of Israel, it was only a matter of time before blowback for our past sins would come to fruition.  September 11th 2001 was that blowback.  Santorum and his ilk had their enemy – Islamists.  In ten short years they have spent trillions on that foe with no let-up expected any time soon.  Now they have their sights set on Iran.  In order to prevent the next catastrophic war, the choice is clear in the next presidential election.  You can either vote for the candidates who see bad guys under every rock or you can vote for the candidate who actually knows history and understands international relations.  That candidate is Ron Paul.

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina


Modern Nazis

August 12, 2011

Guest Blog: Chris Jacobine

On the night of May 1st, 2011, I witnessed thousands take to the streets in State College, Pennsylvania, to celebrate the death of one of the most iconic, evil figures in modern history.  The death of Osama Bin Laden served as a statement to the enemies of the “free world” that the United States and her allies had reach enough to extract a man who had evaded capture for nearly ten years and who, for a brief period of time, brought the colossal empire of America to a rigid halt.  The end of Osama’s reign can be characterized by the gleeful demonstrations that took place across the United States on receiving word of his downfall, as a symbol of the prevailing nature of the so called “forces of good”.  However, the United States as a country has failed to gain from this ordeal. Osama’s death has served only to absolve a decade of vindictive emotions and express that no foul play will remain unpunished as long as the enemies of “freedom” draw breath.

I would like to preface this piece by highlighting that the thoughts presented in this essay are entirely subjective, and written from the point of view of an American citizen whose opinions may differ greatly from my peers.  The function of this piece is not to evoke an emotional response, but rather to express an alternate opinion that I feel has been omitted from the spotlight. Feel free to disagree with any of my points; in fact, I encourage you to.

From a historical perspective, there will always be a measure of bias concerning the retelling of any course of events.  The documented perspective of nearly every critical event in history is that of the victor, and for that reason, opinions concerning historical figures tend to lack diversity.  The most prominent example is Adolf Hitler, who is one of the most referenced historical figures of negative connotation in modern culture.  Imagine, for the sake of argument, that Hitler’s forces had been victorious in their conquests of Europe, and that the subsequent peace left the entire continent under German rule.  The historical data retained and distributed to the average citizen concerning the war, in this circumstance, would contain a very pro-Nazi bias.  And if the programs implemented in Germany, such as Hitler’s Youths, and the functional nature of fascism had spread to Germany’s colonies and experienced the same successes that they brought to Germany, perhaps the distrust of Hitler and the Nazi regime would wither over time.  Generations of students would read textbooks that commend the Third Reich on its accomplishments and offer no alternate viewpoint.  Certainly this idea is disconcerting for those who recognize the implications of Hitler’s aspirations, yet parallels can be drawn between this scenario and the American empire as it stands today.

Many, if not most, Americans believe that we are part of the most prolific and successful nation that the world has ever seen, whose power and status is unquestioned around the globe. This notion is unfounded.  Certainly the American economy is the most productive and powerful in world history, and our military has a near perfect record, but no country in the world has a weaker semblance of culture.  Our lives are built around modern engines and materialism, with the belief that success in our lifetimes can only be achieved if we live the American Dream that has become the object of our desires.  By embellishing in modern luxuries, the structure of life has become a progression that feeds on our greed and latent desires, only pausing briefly to boast our own worth to induce jealousy in others.  Pride plugs our senses and limits any chance that we have of learning things from other people and cultures.

It is for this reason, in conjunction with the sheer might of America as a country, that I feel justified in saying that the bias that the American culture asserts, both inwardly and as a perspective toward the rest of the world, is comparably alarming as the idea of a victorious Nazi regime in World War II.  The ideals that we take to be factual are simply our own cultural axioms, which are no truer from a universal sense than any other culture’s beliefs.  The people of Germany believed that their cause was just when they went to war in 1939, as did the Americans when we bombed Baghdad`. Too often, we mistake consensus for fact, and are unrelenting in our defense of these beliefs. And although culture as a concept is built from this notion of agreement within a community, the idea that our beliefs are absolutely true has bred widespread contempt toward the United States

Asserting that any one culture’s way of life is ideal is an insult to the global community.  One of the fundamental principles of life is that the experiences of a human during their lifetime cannot be defined by any distinguishable quality.  Although we would believe that a wealthy individual who lives a long and prosperous life in a Western country has led a more fulfilled life than an orphan child in a third world nation, the two are interchangeable.  Our backgrounds, family history and social status are all arbitrary in nature, and the opportunities given to different people are based on chance.  There is no failure in the orphan’s life, as there is no success in that of the wealthy man.  As the Italian proverb goes, “When the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box.”  The actions that we take while we are alive are our own to choose, and by attempting to quantify whose life is more fulfilled or who lived a happier life, we lose our ability to empathize.

The extent of the knowledge that the majority of people around the globe have concerning current events is limited to the information and opinions presented by the media. This is an inadequacy that is overlooked by many, as we prefer to think that we have been given ample information and that our opinions are both insightful and knowledgeable. But just because a concept is the preferable option doesn’t make it true. Complacency breeds complacency and for our country to progress, we need to accept our limitations and embrace modesty so that we may think critically about our environment and build our own, individual opinions about a variety of global issues.

This notion is relevant in the discussion of the September 11th attacks. As with every dispute, there are multiple points of view, though the alternate viewpoint in this circumstance is often overlooked. We assume that there can be no logical reason for such destruction, and for that reason, it is presumed that the attackers are irrational in thought. However, to enact a plan so extreme, an excessive amount of logical thought must have been given to the issue. So the question becomes, what did we do to evoke such emotions? How have our actions influenced the world to the extent that institutions of people loathe us enough to inflict such pain? And ultimately, are we partially to blame for the September 11th attacks?

And so, as I watched thousands of people celebrate the death of a man none of them have ever met, I refused to partake on principle. I do not think the death of Osama Bin Laden is a cause for celebration, but rather disappointment. This decade-long culmination of efforts only succeeded in ending one man’s life. We have not learned anything from this ordeal, nor did we attempt to. Our resolve now is as strong as it was ten years ago, and our inflated ego blinds us from distinguishing between fact and opinion, instead relying on the adage that ignorance is bliss.

The victims of terrorism have not been done justice by the murder of Osama Bin Laden. If we ignore tragedy as an opportunity to learn from our mistakes, then every victim of the September 11th attacks died in vain.


Western Imperialism Strikes Again

June 18, 2011

In his 2005 exposé, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins describes his life as an economic hit man in the 1970s.   As a chief economist for the consulting firm Chas. T. Main, Perkins worked with U.S. intelligence agencies and multinational corporations to convince foreign leaders to build infrastructure projects in their countries financed by billions of dollars of loans from the World Bank and other lending institutions.  Perkins’ job was to provide phony or exaggerated predictions of the economic benefits of such programs for the country undertaking the massive loans.  Once hooked into loans it ultimately could not repay, the victimized country was then used as a pawn to further U.S. foreign policy and economic interests.

In the classic one hand washes the other and both hands wash the face scheme, the loans were given with the stipulation that the construction and engineering contracts for the projects were awarded to American companies.  In return, handsome bribes and kickbacks were provided to the signatories (heads of state).  Those on the hook were the taxpayers in the developing countries who were stuck with massive debt they could not repay.  Not only did the imperialistic scheme destroy any hope the world’s poor had for developing their countries, when default happened the U.S. or the International Monetary Fund would move in and dictate the terms of bankruptcy which included everything from control of its budget to dictating its United Nations votes to security agreements.

According to Perkins, from time to time there were foreign heads of state that refused to play ball, refused to accept financial remuneration for acquiescing to loans that would enrich American companies and ultimately place their countries in bankruptcy with the U.S. government acting as receiver.  When that happened jackals were sent in to eliminate the obstruction.  Perkins mentions at least two leaders, President Jaime Roldos Aguilera of Ecuador and General Omar Torrijos of Panama who were assassinated because they put the best interest of their countries ahead of their personal greed.  If assassination were not possible pretences for full military invasion were produced to bring the rogue leader to justice.  Panama’s Manuel Noriega was “brought to justice” in this manner.

And that brings us to our current involvement in Libya.  It is a well-known fact that Muammar Gadaffi has been an international pariah for most of his 42 years ruling Libya.  However, in 2004 after Gadaffi ended his quest for weapons of mass destruction, President Bush lifted sanctions against Libya.  Since then American companies have invested heavily in Libya.  For instance, energy giants ConocoPhillips and Marathon have each invested about $700 million.  Everything seemed to be going great.

However, let’s not forget that Gadaffi has always marched to his own tune.   Over time Gadaffi began demanding tougher contract terms, big bonuses up front, and most remarkably he demanded that global oil companies operating in Libya pay the $1.5 billion bill for Libya’s role in the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 and other terrorist attacks or face “serious consequences” for their oil leases.  But perhaps the last straw for American imperialists was Gadaffi’s plan to unite African and Arab states under a new currency to rival the dollar and Euro.  Under the proposal, oil and other resources would be sold only for gold dinars.  The economic implications for the West would be immense.

All of these moves by Gadaffi have not only made it difficult for western oil companies to operate in Libya, his gold dinar proposal could be the beginning of the end for western currency hegemony.  Gadaffi had not held up his end of the deal with western corporatists.  He was not “playing ball”.  Western special operations forces on the ground in Libya were unable to covertly assassinate the Libyan leader.  Thus, under the pretense of protecting civilians, NATO instituted a military “no-fly zone” over Libya.  Make no mistake about it, military operations in the skies over Libya have always been about regime change in Libya.  NATO forces care about the civilians on the ground in Libya about as much as American forces cared about the more than one million Iraqis who have been killed as a result of our eight year war of “liberation” in that country.

At the end of the day, the Libyan experience doesn’t fit perfectly into the Economic Hit Man box but it does prove that western imperialism is alive and well in Libya.  President Obama brilliantly employed Rahm Emanuel’s mantra “….never let a serious crisis go to waste” by using the protection of civilians as a pretense to eliminate a foreign leader who wouldn’t “play ball” with western corporate interests.  Like Noriega before him, Gadaffi will go down in history as a leader who defied the global elite, escaped assassination but fell to military invasion.  Anyone who doesn’t believe history repeats itself is a fool.

Article first published as Western Imperialism Strikes Again on Blogcritics.


What Obama Should Have Said

May 23, 2011

President Obama’s speech on the Middle East last week was nothing really new.  He chastised the usual culprits for suppressing human rights in their countries and assured us all that the United States government would remain vigilant in its pursuit of truth, justice, and the American way when it comes to supporting the oppressed in the Middle East.  Oh, he did shock Israel and her proponents by mandating that any peace talks between her and the Palestinians must begin with an acceptance by both sides of the borders as they existed in 1967.  This proposition of course has Israel losing territory before it has even started to negotiate.  One question is will this really result in successful peace talks this time around?

Of course the bigger question for Americans is, where does Obama get the authority to issue any mandates with respect to Middle East peace negotiations?  The simple answer is he has no authority in that area.  He is the president of our country chosen to protect our rights, defend our Constitution, and enforce our laws.  The issue of Middle East peace is between Middle Easterners and that is who should decide the matter if there is to be any long lasting peace in the region.

But I read the president’s speech anyway.  In fact, at some point as I was reading the usual implied dribble about how America would solve all of the world’s problems I dosed off into a glorious daydream.  Here is the speech Obama gave in that splendid fantasy:

“My fellow Americans, I come to you tonight to mark a new beginning for American foreign policy.  Israel, the Palestinians, and the other Middle Eastern nations are going to have to solve their own problems.  America is done ruling the world.  We have enough problems of our own that need our attention and as a nation we have learned for way too long that when we meddle in the affairs of other nations instead of pursuing a foreign policy of friendship, trade and exchange things normally turn our poorly for us.

Take America’s entry into World War I for instance.  It was meant to “Make the world safe for democracy”.  Instead our involvement ultimately produced Adolph Hitler in Germany.  President Wilson, like all presidents, had good intentions, but America’s unnecessary entry into the war was the deciding factor leading to victory for the Triple Entente.  His support for France’s over the top retribution toward Germany manifested in the Treaty of Versailles economically destroyed that country and paved the way for the rise of Hitler and his National Socialist party.  The result was another word war where millions more died.

Then there are the smaller conflicts our government has gotten engaged in from time to time.  On the Korean peninsula in the 1950s, 40,000 Americans and 2 million civilians lost their lives fighting an enemy that is still a thorn in our side to this day.  In Vietnam, 50,000 Americans and 1.5 million civilians perished and many more vets are still experiencing the effects of that war some 35 years later.

Closer to our own time period, let’s not forget that the CIA’s covert overthrow of popularly elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeegh in the 1950s ultimately led to the menacing theocracy in present day Iran.  Our military support of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan produced the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.  Lastly, our decade’s long support for Israel, even when she has been egregiously in the wrong, has produced terrorist networks bent on violently persuading America to change her policy.

There are many more examples of American meddling that have resulted in dire consequences for our country.  In the interest of time I will stop there.

My friends, it took us 10 years, 3 wars, 5000 American, and countless Iraqi, Afghani, and Pakistani lives and at least $2 trillion dollars to finally bring Osama bin Laden to justice.  And what do we have to show for it?  Nothing.  Al Qaeda has appointed an interim head to replace bin Laden, the organization has threatened retribution for his death, and our liberties at home are still being violated in the name of national security.

After deep reflection, I have devised a new direction for U.S. foreign policy.  A foreign policy which will go much further to ensure our safety than any illegal wiretap or airport groping ever could.  Effective immediately, I have ordered the following:

The immediate withdraw of U.S. forces from Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya;

The immediate halt to drone attacks and military incursions into Pakistan;

A cut of hundreds of billions of dollars in military spending;

And the promise to friend and foe alike that the United States seeks peaceful relations with you based on integrity, mutual respect, and trade.

By ending our quest for worldwide hegemony, we will be able to focus all of our attention and resources on the dire state of our economy.  We have a lot of work to do, but by bringing the troops home and cutting our monstrously large military budget we can make great strides to balance the federal budget and get our economy moving again.  Good night.  God bless you and God bless the United States of America.”

Wouldn’t that have been a better speech?

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina