“Rethinking” National Security is Now More Urgent Than Ever

In one of my earlier comments on the Middle East upheavals on this blog I said:
“This may call for a “game changing” approach by all concerned about peace and stability in the region. It is not enough to send a high ranking diplomat to the region unless it is to convey the need for a new radical approach which not only takes into account the reality of the changes taking place but also looks towards the establishment of a broader “re-reordering” of collective security, conciliation, and cooperation in the region that is seen by all sides as in their interests and is just for all.
Sadly, it appears that just such a “re-ordering” of our regional policies has not yet been undertaken and the ad hoc approach of catching up in Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya, and elsewhere to fast moving events, has not given decision makers time to do a deep rethink of our long held assumptions and policies.
Now is the time to call in the policy planners, the expert voices of dissent with our failed policies, and new ideas. Otherwise we and our allies will be left in the dust of history.”
This has only been proven again with the increasingly bloody conflict in Libya and the continued unrest in other Arab nations.  We and our allies continue to assess not good options to deal with the now likely civil war and its costs.  A quick and peaceful transfer of power now looks out of sight.  The Libyan rebels seem also confused about what they want the international community to do. One moment they think a “no-fly” zone might be helpful and another they want no outside assistance except a ban on arms and mercenaries going to Gaddafi.
Senator Kerry has called for the consideration of both no-fly zones and  limited strikes, which would include cratering airports, which could be done by missiles and other weapons without risking U.S. pilots.
On our part, we have made some missteps. Secretary Gates signaled the other day that a “no-fly” zone would be an act of war and too costly for America to undertake.  This has the impact of only encouraging the Gaddafi forces to add to their killings of civilians without fear of any possible retaliation. Being quiet and saying “all options are on the table” would have been a better choice.  You do not tell a enemy or a despot that he can do all the damage he wants and there would be no price to pay. This is what we call “preemptive capitulation” – an action we have seen too frequently recently in both domestic and foreign affairs. 
This is another example of an “ad hoc” and disorganized and poorly focused foreign and strategic policy regarding the Middle East and coordination between the Department of State, DOD and the White House. It calls for a more fundamental reevaluation of America’s entire stance in the region.  Energy needs have driven a lot of our polices, as has the nefarious influence of U.S. oil interests that care not a wit for democracy or human rights in the region.  It does reinforce President Obama’s call for development of new energy technologies, especially renewable and green resources like solar power.  It also shows the opposition that Republicans and a few Democrats from oil states have towards taking real action to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. 
A “rethink” would take up together a host of key interrelated issues and interests including our stake in a democratic, peaceful, and fairer society in the Middle East and nearby.  Now, how to best advance peace in that region must refocus anew and with eyes open on a fair and balanced agreement over the Israel- Palestine conflict. The present stand-off damages all concerned.
Further, reexamining and dealing with the problem of Iran in the region and ensuring security for all actors in the region against Iranian aggression, madness, and nuclear weapons has to be undertaken.   
America would need to assess our stance towards the remaining traditional and sometimes “friendly” traditional kingdoms like Saudi Arabia and Jordan.  In the case of Saudi Arabia, which is supporting terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan the relationship has more ambiguity than clarity. We would not have put up with their funding of attacks and killing of our citizens if the Saudis were not sitting on so much oil. The “love-hate” relationship on both sides needs a radical reassessment.
Not least on this list of reassessment must be the horrific dangers of the Afghanistan-Pakistan conundrum.  It is a ticking time bomb.  We are supporting in Afghanistan a corrupt, incompetent, drug running, and duplicitous regime. In Pakistan we are watching a nation implode with terrorists attacks, a largely corrupt and disorganized civilian government, and a military that is playing a double game supporting those who are killing our soldiers and taking our money, which rarely reaches the people in need in their society.  To top it off, Pakistan has some 100 nuclear weapons and is looking to double that number and is in an arms race with a nuclear armed India.  Does this sound like we need a “rethink”?

One thought on ““Rethinking” National Security is Now More Urgent Than Ever

  1. Pakistani May 2, 2011 / 2:55 AM

    umm dude, im a pakistani.. are you LIKE MAD? seriously, u americans need to open your eyes and seeeeee the world is much more than what your abnormally small sized brains perceive it to be. Please stop ‘rethinking’ shit, and mind your own business.
    so what afghanistan , iraq, vietnam wasnt enough? you after Pakistan too now?\seriously. GET A LIFE.

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