Back on 8 November 2014 I had a post titled Seven Up: A Middle East Survey. It was connected to a real world bit of research I found myself involved with. Here in the Valley there were only two responses. The real world stew took a couple of twists and turns of its own and still evolving in its latest form. Basically the real world version is morphing into something akin to a Pew piece looking at the perspective and realities of the regions on an ongoing basis. I think the primary guides of the work are looking to make an entry into the crowded field of marketing and monitoring as it were and doubt I’ll experience much from it.
That all said I wanted to put it to bed or at least a nice nap with my Views on the seven selections. Listed here alphabetically take note that the score is using the two category ally (lower number best) and good for us (higher number worse) form:
Bahrain: Home of the Fifth Fleet this country is in my opinion the #1 or #2 ally in the region. The countries politics are an issue but we have and will continue to skirt it as a matter of our military needs demand it. Ultimately a silent partner really who “allows” our presence as much for their own security as anything else. Score: 1/1
Israel: As the healthiest democracy in the region and due to its ties to the US of A Israel consistently rated high. In more critical circles they were viewed as good allies but also the source of concern secondary to the long-playing saga based in their very existence. Keeping in mind though that this is what is all about the USA. Israel as it is their right care first and foremost about Israel. This hurts them on both scales. That their politics which causes headline grade headaches it is undeniable that those same headlines cause the imbalances the US slovenly relies upon as part of our policy in the region. Our policy is slanted and wrong on many points and needs a serious rethink. Reality checks give Israel a hard grade. Score:2/4
Iran: They call us the Great Satan and pit themselves against our policies time and time again. On a Real Politik front they serve as a balancing force against the proven Sunni insanity of the region. Treated as part of the collective Iran is a nightmare. Engaged as a sovereign they are somewhat better but by no means a push over. The USA lacks the chops to realize the regions realities too often,or more honest we actively ignore those realities. Score: 7/6
Jordan: “The Kingdom that doesn’t really matter…” could serve as the advert for Jordan. The fact remains though that geography and politics make it worthy of a place on the list. A relatively stable and compliant ally to our current policies and a potential point of reason in the ongoing issues the region offers. Score 3/2
Lebanon: The regions true basket case and nation from whence issues breed often through no fault of the country itself. Lebanon is far from being the Eastern Riviera anymore and really offers the US much to worry about. I wish them well personally but Lebanon’s rating is what it is for a number of reasons. Score 6/7
Qatar: Qatar is an agitator of trouble,a supporter of forces of opposition to our policies,a foil to some of our entrenched stupid policies and the new mover and shaker on the Real Politik front in the region. Score 5/3
Saudi Arabia: Maligned by many who focus on very credible points the volume of actions undertaken by the “Kingdom that does matter” that have benefitted the USA greatly is undeniable. On their more recent actions of waging the oil price war against Iran,Russia and Venezuela alone they could be seen as the # 2 ally. Their overall stability and failure to put more than their money where their mouth is on other foreign policy matters ratchets them down. Their near and long-term stability also impacts them on both scores. Lest we forget that as the Wahhabism stronghold they are a strident source of issues for the World. Score 4/5
The scoring is far from perfect. Any number of the selections could go a space or two in either direction on the scale. Ever evolving events tweak the scores values as well to be sure.
The continued presence of the USA in global affairs will need to acknowledge regional and national realities and heave-ho the arrogance we as a nation have for too long approached this.