Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Dream Of Djinni

The Mideast is erupting. Erupting as if all the strained fault lines and tectonic boundaries that have existed since before the first world war have given way all at once. Each fault line is erupting in its own peculiar and unpredictable way and what may obtain in the fullness of a year's or a decade's time is not anyone's guess because any guesses at this point are wildly beyond useless. A reinforced division of Djinni have climbed out of a thousand bottles to wreak havoc, largely on deserving autocrats, but this havoc is diffuse, inchoate, and thoroughly unknowable in its multitudinous consequences.

If we know anything, and I stress if, it's that radical Islam is likely to be one of the few beneficiaries of all this turmoil. What they do with that "beneficence" is also unknowable but the odds that the chunk of planet we refer to as the Mid-East will settle into sundry nascent and evolving liberal constitutional democracies would make any Vegas bookie slam his ledger shut in disgust.

Criticism of the Obama administration's reactions to this chaos, however warranted, are beside the point. There isn't any administration that could constructively ride this unruly horse because what might be constructive one moment is likely to be savagely destructive the next moment. Every boyo worthy of the title of "foreign policy expert" has a different take on just what kind of finger to poke into what part of this chaotic pie so that we, and the West in general, remain influential players in the game instead of ultimate saps and losers in the new order(s) that will emerge. The last ten or so administrations have helped evolve this mess and it may well take the next ten to sort things out in ways that don't result in region-wide carnage and/or resource endangering calamity. Is any administration, is any body, up to this task? The answer must sadly be no. You can't play a game with no rules and I defy anyone to come up with "rules" that can possibly elucidate a clear measured response to what is happening now or in the next few years in the "Holy Land". Whatever the O'man does this response will extend through the next presidency and far beyond.

However feckless and "in over their heads" the Obama administration may be foreign-policy wise they may in fact be taking the best course. For sure no one knows that they are not. As a critic of said administration I suspect not but how the hell can we be sure? We cannot and if the current regime were to reverse course tomorrow and begin to actively support various "liberation" movements in the Middle-East we have no clue that the results would be the slightest bit better or more salubrious in any term, short medium or long.

Regarding this administration's putative handling of the situation I quote that famous political sage, Mr T, and say, "I pity the fool." Poor bastids don't really have a clue and really neither will the next admin. even if the next pres. were a combination of Churchill and Reagan incarnate. Even though Islamist activism and Pan-Arabist sentiment may be only minor percentages of the magma pouring forth from the volcano they are without question the hottest constituents thereof. Those constituents will see any "help" from western sources as blatant interference no matter how well intentioned. Going forward, as "they" say, we will be the blind legless and armless being led by vicissitudes of geo-political uncertainty profound enough to make Werner Heisenberg blush in embarrassment.


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