Repost: My comprehensive plan for US policy on the Middle East …

by John Quiggin on May 13, 2021

… is set out over the fold. I’m confident readers who take a little time to think about it will realise it’s far superior to existing policy, and to any alternative proposed so far. (Previously posted in 2011).

{ 6 comments }

1

reason 05.13.21 at 9:28 am

Stop selling weapons to both sides?

2

John Quiggin 05.13.21 at 9:34 am

That’s step one!

3

Kenny Easwaran 05.14.21 at 7:58 pm

There appears to be a typo here – the plan as written appears to consist of the single word “Tweet”, but I am fairly sure that tweeting is the one thing that, even more than anything else, should not be part of a plan. (I think everything else about this plan is right on though.)

4

John Quiggin 05.15.21 at 11:03 am

I can’t figure out how to get rid of “Tweet”. (True in a lot of contexts)

5

Frank Wilhoit 05.17.21 at 12:24 pm

So, “do nothing”. That would have been excellent advice in 1909. It is no longer on the table, because too many mistakes have already been made.

It was mostly the Brits who made the mistakes (and mostly prior to ~1922, i.e. long before 1948), but we have adopted the situation and the blame for bad outcomes, past and future, is unavoidably ours.

So “do nothing” becomes “disengage”, which is not the same thing, and which could be approached in a bewildering variety of ways, any of which would have costs and would require collective action.

But what 2020 revealed is that at some point, unremarked, collective action became impossible — so impossible, in fact, that to propose it is now and henceforward the act of a fool. This is a much larger problem.

6

J-D 05.18.21 at 2:30 am

So, “do nothing”. That would have been excellent advice in 1909.

On the contrary, it would have been pointless and needless advice in 1909, when the US was not deviating from exactly the Middle East policy which John Quiggin is now recommending.

It is no longer on the table …

It seems to be on the table to me and, apparently, to John Quiggin. Possibly you are looking at the wrong table? More likely, your thinking has been muddled by unhelpful use of metaphor and other forms of abstraction.

… because too many mistakes have already been made.

It was mostly the Brits who made the mistakes (and mostly prior to ~1922, i.e. long before 1948), …

‘The British made mistakes a long time ago, therefore the US must avoid inaction now’ is a non sequitur.

… but we have adopted the situation and the blame for bad outcomes, past and future, is unavoidably ours.

‘We will be blamed no matter what, therefore we must avoid inaction’ is another non sequitur.

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