Monday, July 30, 2007

Stoking Up The Fire As We Flee Right Out The Door

I gotta say, I'm not all that sold on the idea of selling Saudi Arabia another multi-billion dollar load of our most cutting-edge military hardware. Not for the infantile pacifism the Democrats hide behind denunciations of the Saudis as "tolerators of extremism." First, the Saudis don't "tolerate" extremism, because they're the bin Ladenites' first target. Instead, they re-direct (i.e. export) it, which is why the Saudi-born OBL has holded up in quarters ranging from Sudan to Afghanistan to Iran over the past decade and continued his war against us long after its original provocation - U.S. troops housed on Saudi soil - ceased to exist.

Rather, I wonder if it's prudent to pump our top-of-the-line weaponry into a country whose overthrow and fall to Islamist control is far from out of the question. Ditto the Hosni Mubarek regime in Egypt, which is also on the Pentagon client list.

Of course, the outward object of this martial mercantilism is Iran, which wasted little time in denouncing it. Why, I'm a bit puzzled by. While the Admiral notes that the mullahs' drive for nuclear weapons has left few resources available for bolstering their conventional forces, it's nuclear weapons and Tehran's willingess to use them that would transform Iran into a regional superpower. In addition, once we're chased out of Iraq, de facto Iranian terrority will stretch from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, bordering directly on Israel on two fronts (Lebanon and Gaza), Egypt (Gaza), alarmingly Islamicizing Turkey, and a long frontier with the self-same House of Saud.

Third, why would the mullahs engage in an overmatched conventional attack when they can continue to use the assymmetrical tactics against the "moderate" Arab autocracies that have proven so politically effective against us? That is Cairo's and Riyahd's biggest weakness.

Moreover, in making the case for why further arming the Saudis is a good thing, Mr. Morrissey inadvertently makes a better case for why we should invade Iran now, before (?) they have functional nukes. Conventional war is our specialty, after all; nobody is better at it than we are. After slogging and wading through the second guerrilla conflict in as many generations, we would be returning to war on our terms, against a completely outclassed foe, with the advance knowledge that there would be no post-war nation-building foray following the end of "major combat operations" as there was in Iraq.

The fact of the matter is these arms sales to Egypt and Saudi Arabia are purely defensive, and thus are the functional equivalent of the Third French Republic's Maginot Line fortifications against another German invasion: a means of fighting the last war that will prove totally ineffective against the war the mullahs intend to fight. And once they flip both regimes to "extremist" control, all that hardware will be turned on Israel (and us, if we're still in the region) right along with Iran's brand-spanking new nuclear warheads, an all but certain likelihood about which it figures Ehud Olmert is utterly clueless.

Good Lord, the Iranians aren't building any civilian nuclear power plants in which to use all the nuclear fuel they're generating. How brilliant does one have to be to see that only an invasion from without can destroy the Islamic regime in Tehran before (?) they can attain the only purpose for which they can possibly be generating all that nuclear fuel, that we're the only country that can do it, and that we have precious little time left in which to make the last-ditch attempt?

Instead we're spreading around our lethal toys to fragile regimes in the hopes of creating a "balance of power" that can only work if both sides aren't crazy.

There's something missing from this picture, indeed. But it's a helluva lot more than just some absent infrastructure.