[lit-ideas] Re: Realpolitik and my Counterfactual

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 20:09:04 -0700



The Ayatollah caused the war with Iraq by attempting to spread his Islamic
Revolution to the Shiites on Iran's border.  And there were almost ten years
between the beginning of the Iran-caused Iran/Iraq war and his invasion of
Kuwait.  Also, he asked for and thought he got clearance from the American
ambassador to Iraq before he invaded Kuwait.  That is the famous April
Glaspie scandal.  Glaspie admitted that what she told him was confusing.  


After the invasion of Kuwait and after George Bush Sr indicated he wasn't
going to play with Saddam any longer, we enter the Saddam is a monster
phase, but prior to that time he was checking with us before he did anything
that might impact us.  He was just an average thuggish dictator.  We didn't
need to trust him.  He was checking with us for our approval.


You don't think he would be an attractive alternative to the Saudis, but it
was cozying up to the Saudis that got our World Trade Center bombed -- by
Saudis mostly.  The pretext for the bombing was our entering the Saudi holy
land.  That wouldn't have occurred if we were still cozy with Saddam.


In what way is being on good terms with the Saudis better than being on good
terms with a pre-Kuwait-invasion Iraq? 


Lawrence Helm




-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Phil Enns
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 6:54 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Realpolitik and my Counterfactual


Lawrence Helm wrote:


"What would our present world have been like if we had supported

Saddam Hussein prior to the First Gulf War?"


Realpolitiks is not primarily concerned with supporting this or that

despot but rather whether supporting this or that despot will bring

about a political reality we can live with.  What Saddam had

demonstrated was a desire to destabilize the status quo in the Middle

East.  He had made an attempt to grab oil land from its historical

enemy, Iran, that led to a long brutal war that resulted in a

stalemate.  He made an attempt for more oil land in Kuwait.  Clearly

Saudi Arabia was next on the list.


Was Saddam someone that could be trusted to bring about a status quo

conducive to the interests of those who benefited from Middle East

oil?  Sure, he was a brutal despot, but the important question was his

ability to deliver stability and oil.  His inability to provide a

decisive victory with Iran made him less attractive.  Sure he could

keep Iran occupied, but if he was controlling the Middle East, he had

to be successful.  Furthermore, he wasn't terribly effective in making

Iraq a stable country.


What would the Middle East look like with Saddam in control?  Since he

wasn't militarily successful, most likely the Middle East would be an

ongoing war zone.  Since he couldn't provide a stable political

regime, the political situation would be chaotic.


On the other hand, the Saudis had proven to be effective in

maintaining stability in the region and providing oil.


Saddam was useful for keeping the Iranians occupied, but from a

realpolitik perspective, I don't think he would be an attractive

alternative to the Saudis.





Phil Enns

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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