Monday, June 15, 2009

...again and again

Stupidity comes in many forms. There is the stupidity that arises from plain ignorance, or the stupidity that arises from inadequate information, or the stupidity that arises from misinterpreting the information at hand.

However, the deadliest stupidity, the one that has spread death and carnage across the face of the earth, is the stupidity grounded in sheer momentum. If an individual does the same thing over and over and expects different results, it’s called insanity. If an organization does the same, it’s called policy.

We are seeing this momentum at work in Central Asia with the resurrection of that nineteenth century folly, the Great Game. In the nineteenth century, the game was between Russia and England. Now it is between the United States and everybody.

The nominal rationale is terrorism; the real rationale is oil, specifically whether Caspian Sea oil can be piped to the West in a pipeline that bypasses both Russia and Iran.

On May 22, Iran and Pakistan reached agreement to build the Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline, which would allow Iranian oil to pour into China. As Pepe Escobar points out, “The decision brazenly defied Washington’s diktat.” So we are trying to destabilize Pakistan in the hope that construction be delayed indefinitely as we sow Hellfire missiles and reap even more insurgents, whom we brand as terrorists.

That's the way it is with the delusion of power. Those gripped by it believe that if they think it, it will happen. So deep is this delusion that the powerful believe it is happening, even though it isn't, On the contrary, the results are often the exact opposite of those hoped for, a lesson we learned in Korea and promptly forgot.

Despite drones, missiles, airstrikes and assassinations, there is one hard and fast rule of insurgent warfare that hasn’t changed: the insurgents can’t leave because the theater of war is their turf. The occupier will leave once they’ve been bled dry, a lesson we learned in Vietnam and promptly forgot.

Bankrupt powers bleed out must faster than flush ones.

Thank God for the momentum of policy. It spares our leaders the burden of thinking.


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