My area of interest is the Middle East…I was schooled in its history, culture and situation…..plus I worked in the region for many years and learned to love the customs and the people.
But over the years and the US foreign policy of the Middle East has come full circle…..
“We are opening a Pandora’s Box,” Dwight Eisenhower warned when he ordered the first U.S. combat mission in the region. Little did he know how right he would be.
In 1958, U.S. leaders stood at the threshold of an American era in the Middle East, conflicted about whether it was worth the trouble to usher in.
A year earlier, in the context of the emergent Cold War and fading British and French power in the region, Dwight Eisenhower had articulated and received congressional approval for what became known as the Eisenhower doctrine. The United States had for the first time staked out national interests in the Middle East—oil, U.S. bases and allies, Soviet containment—and declared that it was prepared to defend them with military force.
Sixty-two years before President Donald Trump dispatched a drone to Baghdad to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, this is how American combat missions in the post–World War II Middle East began.
Our Middle East policies of today were born in World War 2 and Operation Torch……
In a radical rethinking of the origins of U.S. Middle East policy, Robert Satloff suggests that two key ideas guiding Washington’s actions in the region for the past three-quarters of a century were born in the bargain U.S. leaders made with Vichy French officers after Allied troops landed in North Africa during World War II.
This was Operation Torch, America’s first offensive operation in the European theater of war and, until Operation Overlord’s Normandy landings, the greatest amphibious attack in history. Today, it is all but forgotten. And yet, aside from rivaling Overlord in terms of its enormity, complexity, and peril, Torch was also vastly consequential, for it helped to determine the future course and ultimately successful conclusion of the war. If that weren’t significant enough, Torch also deserves to be remembered for the critical role it played in setting the terms of America’s long-term relationship with the rulers and peoples of the Middle East.
Even with a raging pandemic the Middle East is as dangerous as it ever was…..or will be…..
The Middle East is, arguably, in as dangerous a condition as it has been in its modern history. A single incident could spark an escalation, which – uncontrolled – could set off a chain reaction of violent confrontations, involving local, regional and extra-regional powers. Established mechanisms for bringing individual conflicts, such as the wars in Syria and Yemen, to a peaceful resolution are making only halting, if any, progress. When a crisis of this magnitude crests, but before it erupts into full-blown war, the attention it attracts can create new opportunities for preventive action. The notion of a collective and inclusive security dialogue that aims to diminish tensions has been around for many years, focused on the Gulf sub-region. The time to launch one is overdue. The first step is to produce concrete ideas and international support for such a dialogue, which can open new channels of communication. To maximise chances of success, the effort should start modestly, possibly initiated by smaller Gulf states with the active diplomatic backing of a group of European and other governments.
The UN has called for an international ceasefire during the pandemic…..and yet NO major power has signed on….apparently using ordinance is more important than fighting the disease.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”