Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

War Rhetoric, Bush, Obama, Hannibal, Rome, Hercules Myth & Abrahamic Cult

Sunday, September 14th, 2014


patriotaction.net

Here we go again. The US seems to have become implacably wedded to war, policing the world and using foreign policy distractions to bolster sagging domestic political fortunes. After 9/11 there was some reasonable justification for going into Afghanistan, to get a little payback although it probably would have been best treated as a police action. below are a couple of speeches by Bush and Obama respectively. They are thirteen years apart. Like empires before and would be imperial powers, the rhetoric needs to be designed to reflect the public willingness to be pulled into a conflict that may or may not be justified. In thinking about this I am reminded of some past efforts to convince others to join in the cause of a more or less just war. Hannibal and his use of the Hercules Myth in his struggle against Rome, is critical to an analysis of the fate of Carthage and its struggle with Rome.

“Seigel and Shuster created Superman from existing material already to hand: the myths of Samson, Hercules…”
From A Shared, Faithless, Modern Mythology: Superheroes as Modern Legends…By Darren April 22, 2012 Comicbuzz.com

My thesis more than the simple statement that nearness to the point of contention, sharpens one’s real politick, there is this interesting issue of manipulation of underlying myths for the sake of propaganda both current and ancient. Hercules was a heroic figure, an intermediary between man and the gods. He often represented the position of people facing the impossible demands of fate, despite his flawed nature, coming through victoriously and in the process thwarting the interests of the bad gods and their minions. Where is this Herculean character in the modern political discourse, certainly in the theatrical production of Marvel and DC super heroes this is the case. Where in the discourse on the level of believed mythologies, on the level of religions of the states involved. This goes to the meta-belief systems which in this case are embedded in the monotheism of the modern world. The patina of the heroic Babylonian-Greco-Roman world is faint and growing fainter as the past is blown up before our eyes in Iraq and Syria. But the monotheistic world, of the Crusader vs the infidel narrative and the relatively insecure position of the Jews plays out now. I shall concentrate on the Herculean myth; refer to modern rhetoric with a brief analysis of the use of the myth of Hercules in the Punic wars and the later Roman absorption of the myth in their own victorious narrative. Thus the issue becomes one of what significance do these meta-stories have in the development of the narrative and the real political issues the narrative deals with.

Bush declaration of attack on Afghanistan and Al Qaeda.

Obama declaration of attack on ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

To go into Syria because of the beheading of a couple of journalists seems to be playing right into the hands of IS. They seem to be getting some strategic benefit from drawing the US into these costly limited wars. Wars that ultimately cannot be won without a serious deployment of boots on the ground to occupy space as well as the enforcement of a political agenda that may mean ramming terms down the throats of unwilling Middle Eastern states, through political, military and economic pressure. I am not sure the USA has the means or the will to pursue such a course and the IS planners like their counterparts in Al Qaeda know that.

“This cartoon, by David Axe and Matt Bors highlights some of the key developments in U.S. drone warfare”
(understandingempire.wordpress.com).
.
The war of attrition by taking out the heads of the leadership via assassination and drone strikes, has been of limited success, as one head is chopped off, Hydra like two more arise to take its place. The implication, if one takes the example of Hercules is that you need assistance on the ground, an ally who is there to cauterize the wound to prevent a new set of heads from emerging.

Hercules battles the multi-headed beast of terror in ancient world.
“The Hydra fighting Heracles | Paestan black figure hydra C6th B.C. | J. Paul Getty”
www.theoi.com

From Hesiod, Theogony:

And third again she [Ekhidna] bore
the grisly-minded Hydra of Lerna, whom the goddess
white-armed Hera nourished
because of her quenchless grudge
against the strong Herakles.
Yet he, Herakles, son of Zeus,
of the line of Amphitryon,
by design of Athene the spoiler,
and with help form warlike
Iolaos, killed this beast
with the pitiless bronze sword.

(Hesiod 316-321)

A lot can be learned from that ancient Greek myth. Hercules was the hero of the ancient world. He is given a more human and tragic by the Greeks with his rage and murder of his family, being thus forced to perform his penance in the 12 labors, one of which was killing the Hydra. This Hydra could not be tamed alone. An ally had to be sought. Herakles, as strong as he was could not fight the beast himself.

High tech warfare in the 3rd century BCE
mikikyqy.pev.pl

The struggle for control of the public image of the heroic is an ancient one. In the context of the Punic Wars Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles who has an interesting interpretation of Hannibal’s propaganda wars against the Romans, pitting Hercules/Melqart as the ally of Carthage and her friends as opposed to Rome who had its own myth of Heracles. For the Romans, as described by Dionysius of Halicarnassus a Greek rhetorician in the 1st century BC, Heracles becomes a great liberator of man. During his tenth labor, the restoration of the cattle of Geryon, he descends into Italy freeing the people from the despotism of tyrants such as Cacus (Miles 248-249).

Hercules killing Cacus By Beham, Hans Sebald 1545 in Iconotheca Valvasoriana” Wikimedia.

From Virgil we have the tale of Cacus’s defeat by Hercules in the Aeneid:

Then Hercules
burst wide the doorway of the sooty den,
and unto Heaven and all the people showed
the stolen cattle and the robber’s crimes,
and dragged forth by the feet the shapeless corpse
of the foul monster slain.

(Vergil. 8.262)
Hercules slaying the monster oppressing the local people thus becomes in Virgil, who is citing a tale that had been part of Roman lore. notes the worship of Hercules as preceding the founding of Rome:

our Pinarian house is vowed to guard
the rites of Hercules. An altar fair
within this wood they raised; ‘t is called ‘the Great,’
and Ara Maxima its name shall be.

(Vergil, 8. 262)

This has been noted in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome in the article on “Hercules in Roman Religion” by William Dominik, that Ara Maxima was a very ancient site of worship of Hercules in the forum Boarium and that Hercules who as founder of Gades in Spain under the Phoenician name Melquart had become part of the pantheon of Roman protector gods. Hercules was sent on his labor to retrieve, i.e. raid and steal, the cattle of Geryon, the ancient oil from the other end of the world. On his trip back from the cattle raid, Hercules managed to participate in Roman prehistory becoming the model for Romulus and many other heroic figures in Roman lore and history (Dominik 405).

“Geryon - goodnight argent - In Roman versions of the narrative, on the Aventine hill in Italy, Cacus stole some of the cattle as Heracles slept”
goodnight-argent.weebly.com

Returning to our narrative of the ancient and the modern, as Miles claims, Hannibal aware of the need to win the propaganda war, and understanding the universal appeal of Hercules in Greek, Roman and Phoenician culture and in that of many peoples across the Mediterranean world, decided to appropriate the symbol of Heracles for his own and had a Greek historian in his train write to this purpose:

“Silenus’s portrayal of Heracles-Melqart as Hannibal’s divine companion was thus designed to send out a message to the western Greeks that it was the Carthaginian commander who represented their last opportunity to restore their diminished freedoms [vs a vie the Romans]” (Miles 247-248).

“Limoges enamel depicting Hercules carrying the two columns, by Couly Nouailher, mid-16th century (Walters Art Museum). The columns of the Melqart temple at Tyre were also of religious significance” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillars_of_Hercules)

Coins were struck of the young Hannibal in Nova Carthago, the headquarters of the Barcid dominated colony in Spain as he aspired to the role of a new Hercules Melquart. This coin with the image of the war elephant on the back is, as Miles indicates, associated the Barcid family, as well as being a symbol of continuity with the rule of his predecessors in Spain (Miles 226-227).

“Hannibal AR Tridrachm. 221-218 BC, Carthago Nova, Spain, Laureate bust of young Melqarth-Hercules left, heavy knotted club behind neck / Elephant walking” below (Wildwinds.com).

Just as Vergil was attempting to create a mythos to justify the new imperial project of his dominating friend Octavian, in the modern world the USA must do the same. The need to promote the heroic value of the invader as the legitimate force for liberation can be seen again in the modern Middle East as the Obama administration struggles to come up with a narrative that will be convincing to the young fighters in Syria and Iraq whom the US hopes to use as proxies in the war against ISIS. There have been videos made from ISIS originals highlighting the horror of the ISIS practices intended to deter potential recruits and to persuade fighters to join or at least not leave the so called moderate Islamic groups in Syria in particular.


Youtube.
State Department video battling ISIS propaganda.

The need to battle ISIS propaganda and to win over the allegiance of the people will be predicated, as with Hannibal, upon the victory of the American backed forces. There is nothing like success to gain recruits. ISIS with its string of successes rapidly gained backing. Hannibal gained early support from the Gauls of Cis-Alpine Gaul with early victories over the initial Roman forces at Trebia. A result of which wavering Gauls became more pliant supporters. Later victories including the massacre at Cannae led to Capua giving support to Hannibal, although limited, not to include a troop levy which may seem somewhat familiar to Kerry as he attempts to hammer together an alliance against ISIS. Southern Greek cities that did go over to Hannibal soon regretted the choice as Rome recaptured them one by one. As the Arab countries now must weigh the long term consequences of supporting the US. Turkey, with a border directly adjacent to ISIS controlled territory and 49 diplomats in ISIS custody, did not even sign onto the statement Kerry hammered together.

John Kerry, wearing suit, speaks with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, right, at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on Thursday. Reuters

As the Wall Street Journal article “Allies Pledge to Help U.S. Fight Islamic State Extent of Cooperation in Military Operations Still Unclear” by Maria Abi-Habib and Jay Solomon from 9/11/14 indicates, the alliance has very limited and conditional support. Germany has said it would not join air strikes. Russia concerned about the legality of US air strikes over Syria without Syrian government approval would create an barrier to UN support unless the US is willing to ally itself with the Assad regime, something the US claims to be loathe to do. Yet the US has no problem allowing Iranian troops on the ground in Iraq and PPK fighters, on the US terrorist list to work with the US in Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. Strange times indeed, Hannibal would be a worthy adviser as Obama wades back into these perilous waters.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/kerry-holds-talks-in-saudi-arabia-on-anti-islamic-state-campaign-1410445577


“The painting Hercules Firing Arrows at His Children, by Italian artist Antonio Canova was painted in 1799 using oil on paper and glued to canvas. It is 42 X 66 cm. The painting features the infamous madness of Hercules. After being driven mad by the goddess Hera and by drink, he murders his whole family in blind furry. When finally sober, Hercules is surprised and heartbroken by his actions. He agrees to twelve labors in order to partially atone for his sins” Phin Upham http://phinupham.net/hercules-firing-arrows-at-his-children/

Where is the modern Hercules? Is there a universal figure like Hercules? It can’t be Jesus, Jews don’t recognize him and Muslims give little significance the the figure. It can’t be Mohammed for the same reasons. Who is it, we have to go back to Abraham and Issac. Who is the good servant of god? This is a myth that is concurrent with that of Melquart-Hercules. But this is not a self evident narrative in the modern rhetoric. What is, is the question asked of Abraham. What are you willing to do to impose the will of your god? Hercules, was asking a different question, what do I have to do to get these gods off my back? What unifies them is the fact that they both are engaged as intermediaries between the helpless humanity and the gods/fates/demonic forces. Thus the rhetoric reflects a justification of the position vs a vie these powerful cosmic forces and much effort goes into the justification of these efforts. How strange, how typically human and how sad that the dilemma of both Hercules and Abraham still exist today.

“Fresco with image of Abraham to sacrifice his son, Ishmael (Islamic version) on a Haft Tanan museum wall in Shiraz”
Evgenia Kononova (Wikicommons)

The gods make Hercules crazy, a very modern figure, could be a warrior suffering from PTSD. Abraham is tempted to craziness by the Abrahamic god and then is stopped by his better angels. The Romans and Carthaginians fought until one was destroyed utterly. In the modern ethos there is the opportunity to arrest the path to war. Are our better angels going to stop us from war madness?

Selected Works Cited.

Dominik, William J. “Hercules in Roman Religion.” Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2009. Google Scholar. 404-406. Web. 9/14/14.

Hesiod, Theogony. The Works of Hesiod.trans. Richard Latimore. Ann Arbor: U of Mich. P. 1959. Print.

Miles, Richard. Carthage Must Be Destroyed. New York: Viking Penguin. 2011. Print.

Vergil, Aeneid. Perseus Digital Library. U. of Chicago. Web. 9/14/14.

Watching Bill Ayers on CSPAN

Monday, November 25th, 2013


British Museum Manuscripts

Marginalia from the Luttrell Psalter

Bill Ayers reading from his latest fifteen seconds of fame when
Candidate Obama justifying, on the tube, his knowing, not biblically
But socially, this elderly Art Garfunkel, former Weatherman;
Lt. Nately died for nothing, loving his Italian whore.
Ayers lives with meaning
Brimming from every mellifluous tone and gesture, whist I
Standing there chopping an onion, muttering in my sprongy head
That should be me. The screen babbles on, Al Gore self-congratulatory,
Oh so weather wise
After all I pontificate to the sizzling fry pan,
”I almost joined the Weathermen”
Instead I left the bleeding narrow pathways of the
Old constitution state
For a spiritual mountain, because, because I had miles yet to go and
Ayers revolting a little longer before insight overtook upon
Lake Michigan’s windy shores
What I had instinctively known when righteous talking college
Degreed brothers
Would not let my teen aged yearning heart access to the good
Drugs, or
Pull guard duty on the funky Bridgeport roof top, expecting the
Police to do us
Like they did Fred Hampton, but no, not so lucky we valiant few
Not even a raid to justify our debates over whose turn
To stand lonely sentinel, a shotgun blast away from eternity
Instead I was off to the Rockies, azure skies and howdy partner nods
On streets of shivery yellow brick
Tarnished soon enough in sycophantic self-righteousness as we
Played follow the leader;
I abandoned all hope, pool cued with my air academy workmates,
A band of waiters all
And old Mestas, beer in hand, pointed up to Pikes Peak at 5 am,
As the dawn
Smacked the sides of the Chevi’s back seat he moaned
“I want be a bird, high, way up, way up high.”
By Gary Crethers
11/25/2013 Long Beach

Dislocated-Occupy Memories, Obama Fiddles In Burma While Gaza & Tibet Burn.

Monday, November 19th, 2012

I have a strange way of reacting when things are going the way I think they should. I get suspicious. I begin to wonder what is wrong. I get bored, I try something else and watch and wait. I have helped with Occupy in the fall and again last winter during break between fall and spring semesters in school. I participated in the May Day action in LA and thought it was a disaster, well not totally, but certainly it failed in its goals to shut down the banks.

Basically I think the whole Occupy movement was manipulated by the Democrats in the same manner that they used the left during the depression to intimidate the rich into giving some benefits to the working classes. They learned what they could use from communist agitators, copied some of the Soviet Union’s agricultural practices in large scale farming, and then went on about the business of America, the interests of the business classes.

It did change the discourse from the debt crisis to the needs of the many and that made it easier for Obama to run for reelection on a status quo campaign of not much change, more of the same. It was pretty amazing that the president managed to get reelected mostly because people didn’t like Romney.

I told the Obama campaign people in their survey of what I did for them, and what I thought they should do with their volunteers, I jokingly said form “Shock Troops for Social Change.” Obama’s Raiders. Take on Corporate Capitalism. I doubt if I will hear from them, well I will be on their robo lists. but I suspect Obama does want to use his volunteers to help provide the groundswell to push through his agenda, if he had one.

Listening to his speech in Burma, er Myanmar, he was touting what could be a Republican foreign policy line, spreading American style Semi-Democratic Capitalism. Free markets were his blazoned goals and removing Myanmar or whatever, from the Chinese orbit, to secure that access point to the Indian Ocean for the west. Old habits die hard. The Chinese can hardly be happy about this. Why is Obama ignoring the Tibetans though where monks and villagers alike are immolating themselves to draw attention to the plight of their people under Chinese rule?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/11/19/why-its-such-a-big-deal-that-obama-said-myanmar-rather-than-burma/

http://www.thetibetpost.com/en/news/tibet/3033-78th-tibetan-dies-after-setting-himself-ablaze-to-protest-chinese-rule

http://www.savetibet.org/policy-center/obama-administration-statements-tibet

http://www.policymic.com/articles/19320/israel-war-as-israel-hamas-death-toll-rises-america-is-nowhere-to-be-found

Looking for US leadership in the Gaza situation, we get Republican Congressmen threatening to cut off military aid to Egypt if it helps the Palestinians.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/18/15257041-obama-israel-has-every-right-to-defend-itself-from-gaza-missile-attacks?lite

Obama green lights the assault on Gaza, washing his hands of the situation with his trip to Burma. A real Pontius Pilate when it comes to the Palestinians. The Tibetans can all burn themselves as far as Obama is concerned. He has no strategic use for that mountain land. But think about it. That is a source for most of the water for India and Pakistan. If the Chinese continue to develop and pollute that watershed, pretty soon the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus will be nothing but memories. It would behoove the US to help the traditional people of Tibet live and remain as pre-modern as they want.

The Thirty Year Sleep - Is It Over?

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

When Reagan was elected president Americans began to fall asleep. By the time of his reelection that was it America was snoring away. When Clinton was elected, there was a slight stirring in the sleeping body but after waking up for a minute the body went back into a deep slumber.
When Bush Jr was selected by the elites the body went into a coma. It was not much longer before it seemed that the body would not recover consciousness. Then there was a great conflagration and Wall Street started burning and peoples feet got toasty. It was when their own houses began to burn that most Americans finaly woke up. It was just in time. If they had waited any longer they would have burned up with their homes.
In Sri Lanka that is what has happened to the Tamils who lost their homes in the war. This week the Sri Lankan government defeated the Tamil Tigers and now the victors are celebrating. UN head Ban Ki-Moon is telling the government that they have to take care of the 300,000 Tamils who are trapped in camps set up by the government.
Somalia has had a return to violence between the pro government and Al Shabaab militants who are claimed to be linked with Al Qaeda. The BBC has reported on an increase in violence. Today on NPR there was a report on a Danish shipping magnate and the negotiator for pirates having developed a business friendship. It seems that the former pirate is now angling to become an expert on pirates to explain to the shipping industry how to deal with the increasingly sophisticated Somali pirate clans.
Today Obama signed a bill to limit the credit card companies control. It is about time. With 78% of Americans using credit cards and rates going up to around 30% in a market that until now was virtually unregulated. I personaly have found that the card companies do not honor the insurance plans they promote and that I have been paying for a plan that simply is a fraud. Three months after applying for the benefit that I was paying almost $20 a month for for each card, I have not received any freezing of the interest on the cards, I have been inundated with harassing calls day in and day out where they ask the same thing over and over, how much can you pay. This goes on 7 days a week and when I ask them when is my insurance going to be put in effect they tell me that I have to call them. After being told to fill out a bunch of paperwork and mailing it to them. Interesting that they can call me 3 times a day every day to ask for my money but they cannot be bothered to give me a benefit that I paid for. On top of that they raised my interest rates.
I have had to put my foot down and insist that they lower my rates. After all if my tax dollars can go to pay for their bailout and they get 1% or less interest rates from the Fed on money, how can they dare to try to charge 30% interest for a poor person who was until a week ago unemployed and unable to pay anything at all? It is outrageous and it is the reason why we need strict legislation to regulate them because they know no shame and Obama realized that if action was not taken there would be a refusal on the part of Americans to continue to pay. We would insist upon a jubilee and vote with our feet away from plastic.
The BBC is reporting that Europeans are happy to see that Obama is closing Guantanamo and Germans seem to think that terrorists use Guantanamo as an excuse. American policies in the Middle East under Bush helped the terrorists gain support from the masses of the populace. Middle Easterners see appeasing Iran as a sign of weakness but the closing of Guantanamo as a sign of strength. As the Republicans are saying, America is Frenchifying. I wonder when they will start drinking Lattes and eating croissants like the rest of us and give up on Coors beer and shooting baby seals with their now legal concealed guns at national parks?
Cheney lost the debate on national security yesterday according to most pundits I have seen and heard today. On the Nightly News Hour the talking heads were saying that Cheney not only did not speak for the Republicans but that he did not even speak for most of the Bush Administration who gave up on harsh interrogation methods by 2004 and 2005. When Rumsfeld went so did most of the wind in the hard core sails. As one pundit said on NPR today, the President is really continuing the policies of the later Bush administration which had been trying to get rid of the Guantanamo detainees since at least 2006 when the Supreme Court told them that it was time to give the detainees due process.
All Obama has done is to insist on a deadline for the closing down of Guantanamo. Same as his call for a deadline to get out of Iraq. His plan is virtually the same as what Bush negotiated at the end of last year. What is the difference? Only that Obama makes the left feel better because he likes to take a proactive pro peace stance in contrast to the Bush administration tough guy stance. But in reality he is increasing the war in Afghanistan and he stated that he is taking the privilege into his own hands to try prisoners by military trials something that Bush insisted upon.
Where is the substance? Good question. From a radical perspective it is mostly a matter of image. In reality Obama is no more to the left than Nixon. From 1970 to 1972, Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency and signed laws including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. He also signed executive orders and international agreements on environmental issues and created OSHA. They were needed and it was on Nixon’s watch that we got them.
So far from Obama we have a continuation of Bush initiated polices on the economy, we have an increase in the military in Afghanistan, and we have legislation to control credit cards. Wow. Too bad we didn’t get legislation to control the banks where it really hurts in the housing rip-off. Guantanamo is a dead letter, it is going away one way or another. But this week we saw how much control the right still has in Washington. Cheney represents the shadow of fear and Obama is the new dawn. But is this the real world or just symbolic?
Is America waking up? Perhaps it is. But let us hope the new President moves on to make substantial changes and not just wastes time boxing with shadows. If we can just get out of Iraq, out of Afghanistan, get single payer health care and real environmental legislation, then perhaps we will have a president to the left of Nixon.

Obama And Maliki Agree On Timeline

Monday, July 21st, 2008

The Iraqi prime minister, with upcoming elections and facing the hard facts that Bush is on his way out, has just positioned himself to agree with Obama that US troops should be substantially out of Iraq in 16 months.
CNN is reporting this as a major shift on the part of Maliki away from Bush, and after the administration spend the weekend spinning the statements in the German Paper Der Spiegel, made by the Iraqis where they indicated they would like a timetable. This statement coming out of Iraq today, July 21st, confirms the Iraqi position in favor of what they are calling an aspirational timeline.
This is a blow to McCain who has taken the administration position that there should be no timelines and that if the US needed to stay for 100 years that we would. This sounds to the peoples of the world outside of the US, not like a commitment to Iraqi democracy, but one to a new American Imperialism. The peoples of the Middle East do not feel reassured by the American presence, they feel threatened. Not by Americans per se but by the presence of the American military.
Since the Reagan administration attempted to occupy Lebanon in the early 1980’s and the Marines found themselves under attack by suicide bombers who managed to kill 300 marines in one swat, the Republicans have been obsessed with having a base in the Middle East that is not Israel.
The Bush family has long been close to the Saudi ruling class, elite that finds Israel to be inconvenient, not because they are anti Semitic, but because the mass of the Moslem world resents the presence of Israel and it is inconvenient for the guardians of Mecca to say that they would rather do business with Israel. It would be easier for them to have the Israelis disappear, and short of that, at least not be so much in the American corner.
The democrats are basically comfortable letting the Israelis do their dirty work in the Middle East. Leaving the tough work for the Navy and Air Force is the Democratic way. But not the Republicans, they want to have boots on the ground, and Bush senior succeeded when Hussein made the mistake of believing the US didn’t care if they took back Kuwait. Bush senior saw this as the perfect excuse to get American forces on the ground protecting the oil fields. This has been a plan of the Republicans at least since OPEC put the Squeeze on after the 73 war with Israel, in the first Oil Embargo while Nixon was president.
The democrats, at least on Carter’s watch wanted to develop alternative energy, and place emphasis on conservation. This was not accepted by the media who blackened Carter’s image as being out of touch with American aspirations. Reagan took advantage of the Hostage crisis in Iran to make Carter look like a wimp for not standing tall and asserting American greatness in the world. Reagan himself had his nose bled by that experience I Lebanon, but he then invaded Grenada, a tiny Island nation with almost no military, to show that America was standing tall.
Reagan in a short sighted move destroyed the efforts under Carter to develop solar and other energy alternatives, poo pooing conservation and putting his eggs in the Saudi basket through his Vice president Bush’s special relationship with the royal family.
Now the Republican plans for a permanent ground presence in the heart of the Middle East is crumbling with Maliki and Obama on the same page with a troop withdrawal by 2010. The Democratic alternative to put more troops on the ground in Afghanistan to put pressure on Iran and Pakistan from that central position may not be any better thought out than the Republican plan to take over Iraq.
The peoples of the Middle East do not want an American Imperial presence. The Republican attempt to seize the oil of Iraq is collapsing. But will the Democratic plan to move in on central Asian oil by securing a pipeline through Afghanistan work any better? I doubt it. The British those master imperialists could not retain Afghanistan. The huge Russian bear collapsed in its attempt to secure that land and I doubt if the Americans will have any better luck. It was the heart of Tamer lane’s empire, but every one else since Alexander has failed to maintain a base in that fiercely independent land. Alexander only succeeded by marrying a daughter of that land. People wonder why he would marry some obscure daughter of a distant tribal people instead of the civilized daughter of the queen of Persia. Possibly because these people reminded him of his own Macedonian relationship to the Greeks, being considered a rough country people by them as the hill people of Afghanistan were by the Persians. But more likely he appreciated their military prowess and he wanted a strong fighting force to anchor the north east while he went down into the heart of India and for centuries after Greek led kingdoms ruled from the Afghani heartland descending upon the Indus valley to conquer swaths of territory.
But Americans are not likely to marry the daughters of the ruling tribesmen, but that is what it will take to make them your allies, blood ties are the rule in those lands of the clans.
In the meantime, there is nothing but ‘the noise of politicians running around’, to paraphrase Lou Reed in his anthem to an era “Heroin”. In the meantime we have to watch them on the tube making squawking sounds.


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