Pakistan and Iran have each lately suffered attacks by the US (and/or Israel, in Iran’s case). Pakistan this weekend, with a NATO airstrike (always remember, “NATO” means “US”, and always has) on a Pakistani border control point, from the Wall Street Journal:
The Pakistani army questioned why NATO undertook a sustained two-hour attack on well-known border positions, involving helicopters and fighter jets. A Western official said 25 Pakistani soldiers were dead as of Sunday night. The Pakistani army put the death toll at 24.
“No first fire came from Pakistan troops,” said a senior Pakistani military official on Sunday. “But they did respond in self-defense after NATO gunship helicopters and jet fighters carried out unprovoked firing.”
Iran suffered the Stuxnet viral attack on its nuclear weapons information systems, and the deaths of at least two of its leading nuclear scientists in rather suspicious circumstances. One was almost certainly an assassination, probably by the Israeli death squad, Mossad.
Iran’s plot to use a Mexican drug cartel to kill the Saudi Arabian Ambassador US in a restaurant in DC put it firmly in first place as the most likely place to next be attacked by the US, for a time, and the closest thing to the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” since, well, the Gulf of Tonkin incident gave Lyndon Johnson a war abroad to go with all the wars (poverty, civil rights, etc) he was waging at home. Then there was the International Atomic Energy Agency report that sort of implied that Iran was probably developing nuclear weapons. It looked like Iran would be the shoo-in. Then all the pundits and bloviators started explaining what war with Iran would look like, so it started looking less likely.
Right on cue, the Ayatollahs were upstaged by a NATO attack on Pakistan. Why the US chose to attack Pakistan is not clear. But always figure that nothing, especially in international relations, happens by accident. Especially nothing that lasts for two hours, and involves both helicopter gunships and jet fighters. Pakistan is number one, again. Or at least they are if they attempt to assert any sort of sovereignty over their already nuclear-armed country. Go Pakistan!
Ron Paul is the only politician in the country making any sense over foreign policy, so of course, the Wall Street Journal excoriated him for his views, from the Republican debate the other night, as quoted in Best of the Web in the Journal, regarding renewal of the Patriot Act (italics are added to the Best of the Web comments):
As for Paul, as usual he reminded us that his ideas about foreign policy are ideological and extreme. Most shocking was this exchange between him and Newt Gingrich:
Gingrich: I don’t want a law that says after we lose a major American city, we’re sure going to come and find you. I want a law that says, you try to take out an American city, we’re going to stop you.
Paul: This is like saying that we need a policeman in every house, a camera in every house because we want to prevent child- beating and wife-beating. You can prevent crimes by becoming a police state. So if you advocate the police state, yes, you can have safety and security and you might prevent a crime, but the crime then will be against the American people and against our freedoms. And we will throw out so much of what our revolution was fought for. So don’t do it so carelessly.
The conclusion–“don’t do it so carelessly”–is unobjectionable, and it doesn’t hurt for such views to have a voice in Congress. But to draw an analogy between wiping out an American city with a nuclear bomb and wife-beating is insane. To be sure, candidate Barack Obama took many irresponsible foreign-policy positions on ideological grounds, but in the face of reality, he has reversed most since becoming president. With Paul, though, one gets the sense that one is dealing with a real man of principle–that if it came to it, a President Paul really would be willing to sacrifice millions of American lives for the sake of his principles.
Where in his answer did Mr. Paul agree to sacrifice millions of American lives for the sake of his principles? Missed that somewhere.
Nobody objects to Pakistan, India, Israel, etc., having nukes, but thinks that Iran or for that matter, al Qaeda, having a nuke portends the end of civilization as we know it. I’m pretty sure one, or even two, nukes is insufficient to destroy civilization. But I might be wrong. It only took two fuel-laden airliners for the American Empire to engage the process of destroying itself.
The Soviets had (and the Russians presumably still have) nukes aimed at every major American city. Why didn’t we start killing Soviets, one assassination at a time? We did have McCarthyism back then, which was roughly comparable to the Patriot Act. Maybe that’s how Newt will protect American cities from anyone that even thinks about taking one out: “Are you now sir, or have you ever, imagined destroying apple pie, baseball, ice cream or American motherhood?” Full disclosure: I rarely eat apple pie, don’t like baseball, and never really cared much for my mother (but she was maybe an “un-American” mother). But I do love ice cream. Do I get to live, or is a Predator circling overhead, ready to take me out?
Paul made even more sense later on, discussing Paul Wolfowitz’s views on al Qaeda:
Paul: You have to understand who the al Qaeda really is. The–the al Qaeda responds in a very deliberate fashion. As a matter of fact, Paul Wolfowitz explained it very clearly after 9/11.
He said that al Qaeda is inspired by the fact that we had bases in Saudi Arabia. So if you want to inspire al Qaeda, just meddle in–in that region. That will inspire the al Qaeda. As a matter of fact, he went on to say that that was a good reason for us to remove the base that we had had in 15 years in–in Saudi Arabia and that we should have done that.
Can he be serious–people in lands occupied by our mythologically-perfect troops are sometimes not happy we’re there? These al Qaeda folks, maybe all the Arabs, need some enlightenment. Such as a Predator drone can provide, smack between the eyes. That’ll make us some more allies in the area.
If the US chooses to invade Pakistan first, at least it can then claim it’s not just Arab Muslim countries it hates. But really, except for inertia from having retaliated against the Taliban in Afghanistan for 9/11, what is the purpose for our presence in the region now? Is there any national interest at stake, except the general principle that by-God, we Brits cum Americans love to impose our will on the world, and never, ever back down from a fight?
The only danger to the US from Iran having a nuclear weapon is that it might make Israel mad. Apparently America exists to serve Israel’s interests. Makes sense. After all, they are God’s Chosen People. And they have returned to the Promised Land, just as some crack-pot readings of apocryphal writings in Revelation said would happen before Christ’s Second Coming.
International relations is sort of like Jefferson County, Alabama’s politics. It’s too outlandish for fiction.