An entry in The Israel Project's Daily Tip reports that:
- State Department officials found themselves on the defensive Monday, after an expose published by Reuters revealed that Iraq has signed a $195 million arms deal with Iran for the delivery of weapons to Iraq. Baghdad sources told the outlet that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had been moved to seek arms from the Islamic Republic - in violation of a broad range of international measures up to and including an explicit United Nations ban on arms sales by Iran - after he became 'fed up with delays in U.S. arms deliveries.' State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki defended the administration, insisting both that Washington was keeping Iraq adequately armed and that it "would raise serious concerns" if the Reuters report turned out to be correct. The Reuters report cited multiple officials and included an account of documents seen by the outlet's journalists describing the deal. If confirmed the development is likely to deepen criticism, heard both domestically and from Washington's Gulf allies, that the Obama administration is withdrawing from the Middle East and allowing Iran to fill in. A recent Politico article, headlined "Who Lost Iraq?" and authored by former Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) fellow Ned Parker, opened with an Iraqi official blaming the U.S. for creating a security vacuum in the country. A New York Times article published around the same time by Michael Doran and Max Boot - respectively a Brookings Institute fellow and a CFR fellow - blasted the administration for not sufficiently "countering Iranian machinations" in among other countries Iraq.
Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, is calling for the U.S. to punish Venezuela by withholding funds from the oil-rich country. The U.S> gives Venezuela about $400 million annually. (Oil rich and US monetary gift - how does THAT compute?)
And, of course, we have John Kerry burning jet fuel for what probably will be fruitless trips between Washington and Jerusalem and between Washington and Ramallah, with an occasional trip to Amman.
Of the three, only Venezuela is in America's "sphere of influence" (and I'm not sure that's accurate anymore; does the U.S. have any influence in Latin America?).
Here at home, SecDef (Secretary of Defense) "Chuck" Hegel is talking about reductions in ground troops and navy vessels as the world moves into a "different kind of war."
Iran and Iraq. Why should the U.S. care about Iran and Iraq? Granted, Iran is threatening the world that once it has n-weapons and a delivery method it will destroy both the Great and the Little satans (U.S. and Israel, in case your name is Rip Van Winkle). Since Iran is a sovereign nation, does the U.S. have a right to act against it? If it does, then would a pre-emptive strike be appropriate?
What about Iran's neighbors. Saudia invites non-Muslims to fight and die for it, but otherwise non-Muslims stay out. Saudia claims to fear Iran, but it does nothing to stop Iran's progress to nuclear warfare capability. Likewise the other Islamic states,
Meanwhile, Mr. Kim and Company in North Korea apparently has both "the bomb" and the means to deliver it - if not to a U.S. target, certainly to South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan/Formosa. The U.S. does nothing about that except, as in the cases of Iran, talk, talk, talk. But then neither does Japan.
The decline of U.S. "influence" did not start with Obungler, but the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania has hastened the slide.
ON THE OTHER HAND, does the U.S. need to be the world's policeman? Why should we care is Iran has "the bomb"? True, Israel is our ally - but almost everyone knows how American treats its allies - we promise them anything and don't even give them cheap perfume*.
I'm not suggesting that the U.S. should become isolationist, but I AM suggesting that the U.S. should "butt out" of the role of policeman to the world. The U.S. also should "butt out" of trying to force every country to be a pseudo-democracy in the U.S. mold. (The U.S. is, strictly speaking, a republican form of government, not a "democracy." The government type has nothing to do with the party in power.)
The days when Theo. Roosevelt could send The Great White Fleet around the world to show off America's prowess - and intimidate others - is over. The day when nations dealt with other nations largely is over - now we must confront hoodlems hiding behind old women and babies.
The U.S. is, in some respects, on the right path when it targets its enemies wherever they are hiding; national borders not withstanding. If Nation A offers sanctuary to a person or organization threatening America, then that nation sacrifices its sovereignty and protection from U.S. attacks on those threatening the U.S. and its citizens, wherever they might be; pre-emptive or retaliatory strike is immaterial. "Collateral damage" - death or injury to "civilian shields" and facilities - will be on the head of those in control of the country hosting the terrorists.
That "right of self-defense" must also apply to other nations as well, as example Israel. Whether or not the U.S. should come to Israel's aid - if asked as it was by England in WW1 and WW2 - needs to be considered before the need. (This obviously applies to other nations as well.) Still, I would not encourage any country to depend on a timely U.S. response - remember the '50s.
* "Promise her anything, but give her Arpege," 1927-coined commercial for a Lavin's fragrance. The polar opposite is more in line with what the U.S. did for (to) Hungary and Czechoslovakia in the 50s: "Promise Them the Mine – But Give Them the Shaft."