No matches beyond this point - playing with fire in the Middle East

    Every time we run a raid on Iraq we cash a chip with every other country in the Middle East.  This means that we incur a debt to a bunch of mostly no-good rulers who are as corrupt and venal as can be.  Whether it's the democratic dictatorship of Turkey or the personal dictatorship of the Sauds or Assad in Syria, we owe each one of those jerks every time we drop a bomb.  Because of the Roman circus we present to ourselves in Iraq we lose the ability to do anything serious about Afghani and Pakistani heroin.  We cannot pursue the embassy bombers with full vigor and cooperation.  We cannot push harder for an Israel-Palestine settlement.  We cannot do anything about the human rights abuses in Sudan and Afghanistan.  Syria's reward for its silence is a continued free hand in Lebanon.  Iran's reward is continued effective non-interference in its missile development program.  The Sauds continue to receive the benefit of our garrison, without whose presence there might be a fundamentalist insurrection in progress at this very moment.  Turkey's payoff is obvious and ongoing.
    This is more of a so-called policy than a real one.  It is built on ignorance and complete fixation on short-term goals.  The benefits all accrue to Western oil interests, which is why Europe (less England who marches in lockstep with us) confines its opposition to low-key squawking.  But the long term effects of the two-timing game we're playing will hit us back hard one of these days.  Over there, where the results are obvious, they know what we're doing.  What else can they do but meet cynicism with cynicism and take what they can get?
    At some point the Iranian scheme will repeat itself in a Sunni version.  Sudan and Afghanistan are sort of a practice run.  You guys juggling fire over at State better do what you can to make the next Islamic revolution happen in Egypt or Syria or Iraq, or maybe you'll sacrifice poor little Jordan.  Even Saudi Arabia.  At that point Israel would emerge clearly as the pawn it is.  And you'd better pray to your gods it doesn't happen in Turkey.  If it does you can kiss your Middle East "policy" goodby.