The sovereign can no longer say, "You shall think as I do on pain of death;" but he says, "You are free to think differently from me, and to retain your life, your property, and all that you possess; but if such be your determination, you are henceforth an alien among your people."

(Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Israel, Bin Laden and Alaskan rabbits

Michael Scheuer, a retired CIA agent, didn't pull any punches during his speech to a town-hall meeting this week, raising a considerable number of questions.

The main thrust of Scheuer's speech was that the United States should return to the Founding Fathers' foreign policy (ie. self-defence) which, in practice, entails withdrawing from the Middle East "to the greatest extent compatible with our national interest."

The two questions here are i/ what is the greatest extent possible and ii/ how can this withdrawal be achieved in practical terms?

On Israel, Scheuer doesn't miss the mark either. "The idea that 300 million Americans are bound to bleed because God gave a group of people a deed to a plot of land 3,000 years ago is quite mad."

Given recent and ongoing debates, one wonders if either a growing number of people share his view or, alternatively, people always thought this way but now feel able to speak out. The question in both cases is why is this and what will it mean?

On Bin Laden, Scheuer says there is next to no chance of ever catching him - a particularly striking comment given that Scheuer was previously head of the CIA unit charged with hunting him down. The question here is would it really make much difference if Bin Laden was ever caught?

On Afghanistan, defeat is not an option but the means (ie. troop numbers) to win are not there. On Iran, a first-strike would only provoke terrorist attacks on US soil.

Finally, the US must achieve energy independence or face going to war for oil (I thought they already did) and must prioritise this over other considerations. In simple terms - "Demands for protection for Arctic rabbits, Gulf shrimp or the sunny beaches of California at the cost of dead Marines or soldiers should be ignored."

No comments:

Post a Comment