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February 01, 2008

We Need More Of This Honesty

I missed this back when news broke of our gigantic new weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Israel. But according to Nicholas Burns, then the third-ranking person at the State Department, the arms sale "says to the Iranians and Syrians that the United States is the major power in the Middle East and will continue to be and is not going away."

That's good stuff. I appreciate this kind of honesty, which is much better than all the usual democracy crap. We, a country 7,000 miles away, plan to be "the major power in the Middle East" forever.

Once we're being honest about America's motivations, we can move onto other questions. For instance: will the people of the Middle East react any differently to this than we would if a high-ranking Iranian official declared it was "the major power in North America," and we'd all better just suck it up?

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at February 1, 2008 11:51 AM

Mark Twain or someone like him asserted "Truth is very powerful medicine - people can only take it in very small doses." And centuries earlier, Paracelsus pointed out that the difference between a medicine and a poison was the size of the dose.

So it's possible to overdo that "honesty" business.

And, as we were discussing below, not thing which is asserted by officials is believed to be literally true.

Who knows if it's good or bad?

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at February 1, 2008 01:05 PM

Will the people of the Middle East react any differently to this than we would if a high-ranking Iranian official declared it was "the major power in North America," and we'd all better just suck it up?

Iran doesn't have 150,000 soldiers in North America waging a war on one of our neighbors, pouring billions of dollars of munitions on the natives' heads.

I'm pretty sure folks in the Middle East will continue to be pissed off about the meddling done there in our name. Good thing we have those diplomatic types like Nicholas Burns to remind them. "Talk loudly and carry a big stick", ya know.

Posted by: Poopyman at February 1, 2008 02:56 PM

Poopyman: Please Sir, you're upsetting the Canadians. (shhh, they got oil)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 1, 2008 03:49 PM

There's only two choices then: either be the major power that builds the aqueducts, wells and roads, or be the parasite that exploits. Hell, as long as ideas like "self-determination" have any validity both will be just as equally repulsive, but the former will be less so than the latter.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at February 1, 2008 08:43 PM

En Ming Hee: PLESAE SIR, don't encourage US to empire, believe me, it's in no-one's best interests, and I'm starting to like what YOU say.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 2, 2008 01:38 AM

Welcome back, Monroe Doctrine.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at February 2, 2008 03:25 AM

NOoC: i didnt even know it had gone somewhere

Posted by: almostinfamous at February 2, 2008 06:15 AM

Don't cry for the Monroe Doctrine,
The truth is, we never lost it.
Just ask the Phillipines,
Iran, and Viet-Nam.
We'll keep on bombing,
Don't give a shit.

Posted by: Not Andrew Lloyd Webber at February 2, 2008 09:14 AM

NOoC: i didnt even know it had gone somewhere.

Well, Hugo, Evo, et al are making some progress getting out from under.

Posted by: Feeder of Felines at February 4, 2008 04:38 AM

Sell weapons to everybody involved? Sounds like a good strategy for NYC mobs that want influence with L.A. gangs. But not even the NRA would accept that strategy as a way to promote peace.

Posted by: Whistler Blue at February 4, 2008 10:22 AM