Vail Valley Voices: U.S. must pull back
Vail, CO Colorado
Understandably, Americans are increasingly befuddled by diplomatic decisions. Coincidentally, I’ve heard a few anecdotes by talking heads and government officials recently that might bring clarity to some of the controversies around the world.
Let’s begin with the Middle East. Don’t believe public statements made by heads of state in this part of the world. Ironically, the WikiLeaks disclosures, a damaging ploy by a demented cyber-terrorist, have shed some light on growing tensions in the region.
In case you didn’t know it, Middle East unrest is principally a function of the 1,000-year-old feud between the Shia and the Sunni. The ill-advised occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are sidebars to the venom that has passed between these two religions’ sects over the years.
In one of the WikiLeaks disclosures, it was revealed that the principal Saudi sheik recommended the U.S. strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. Could it be that an Arab was suggesting that America attack another Arab country?
Actually, it does make sense. The reason is that the Saudis are predominately Sunni, and they fear Iran, which is mostly Shia. The balance of power in the region would change drastically if Iran had a deliverable nuclear weapon that could be used to intimidate other Arab nations.
Consider North Korea. For months, I’ve been puzzled by China’s seemingly indifferent attitude toward its maniacal neighbor. Why in the world would China allow the development of nuclear weapons by its unstable protectorate, which is located just to its south?
Most experts wouldn’t be surprised if the otherwise irrelevant North Korea turned on its Chinese benefactors in a hissy fit and launched missiles at Beijing or Shanghai.
Recently, I heard a rationale for China’s reluctance to muzzle the North Koreans and assist the U.S., South Korea and Japan in halting nuclear-arms development in North Korea.
If China indicated that it was withdrawing support of North Korea, the protectorate might be destabilized and its government could fall. The logical next step would be the unification of both Koreas (a la the merger of East and West Germany).
In the new scenario, the U.S. would be able to encamp even closer to the Chinese border as its relationship with the unified Korea strengthened. The Chinese are so paranoid about U.S. influence in the region that they will likely do anything to prevent this turn of events.
And finally, Afghanistan. Why does the U.S. continue to occupy this God-forsaken country? By the way, WikiLeak disclosures confirmed some serious concerns about Karzai, the president of Afghanistan. Apparently, many important people in our government believe the man is incompetent and corrupt.
Great! The U.S. has spent $150 billion supporting a leader for nearly 10 years who has no chance of effectively leading his country after the U.S. withdraws.
Why has the U.S. stayed in Afghanistan so long? It’s a mystery to me. Al-Qaida has moved to Pakistan, the Taliban doesn’t threaten our interests, and there are no oil reserves to safeguard.
Why do rebels continue to make trouble in Afghanistan? The answer is obvious. The U.S. continues to waste resources and our national reputation worsens with each new day of occupation.
So you see, the reasons for diplomatic actions are not so clear and are often flawed. In the long term, the U.S. must pull back and not become involved in every conflict. Regional disputes must be dealt with by the powers in those places.
Sal Bommarito is a novelist and frequent visitor to Vail over the past 20 years.
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