In the Arena

Condi’s Middle East

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Condoleezza Rice has a scarifying op-ed in the Washington Post today in which she argues correctly that the Middle East may be on the brink of a rejiggering of borders — and, incorrectly, that if we don’t become more active diplomatically, Iran will be the big winner.

Rice is a Russia expert. I’m not sure how much she knows about the Middle East. Presumably she knows that there is an ethnic chasm between Iranians and Arabs — Iranians are Persian and tend to disdain their Arab neighbor — that might limit Iran’s long-term appeal in the region. (Short-term, Iran’s ability to provide weaponry and money to Shi‘ites — and occasional radical groups like Hamas — will be a force for mayhem.)

Rice also has insufficient respect for history and geography and an anachronistic optimism about America’s ability to control events in the region. She acknowledges that the Middle East borders were drawn haphazardly by a group of greedy, clueless European imperialists at the end of World War I. But for some reason — the temporary appearance of order, I suppose — she seems vehement about maintaining these phony lines. Long-term peace and stability would argue for actual countries rather than these awkward contraptions.

It would be nice to think that we can have some influence over the shape of the emerging Middle East and provide the diplomacy and incentives to keep the violence to a minimum. But what is really needed here, immediately, is a quiet Western recognition that we blew the line-drawing 100 years ago, the place has been a mess ever since, and the indigenes are not likely to look to us as the determiners of where the lines are drawn in the future.

I have no idea how this is going to turn out or who will benefit, except to say that it is going to be exceedingly messy and there will be new countries when it is over. There is likely to be a Kurdistan — and it’s about time, given all that those people have suffered. (My friend Christopher Hitchens wandered through Washington wearing a Kurdish flag lapel pin in anticipation of the great day.) The Sunnis of Syria and Iraq and Jordan may create a more accurate Assyria. Or the Palestinians of Jordan (70% of the population) may join with the Palestinians of the West Bank to create a viable Palestine. Who knows at this point?

But change is coming, and it’s in our best interests to see that it occurs as quietly as possible — and that we are open to the nationhood of actual countries in the region rather than the foolish and bloody lines in the sand that we imposed on the region 100 years ago.

163 comments
SupplyMediumrice,roundrice
SupplyMediumrice,roundrice

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SupplyMediumrice,roundrice
SupplyMediumrice,roundrice

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SupplyMediumrice,roundrice
SupplyMediumrice,roundrice

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Bob3850
Bob3850

it is the natural course of things for the middle east to be struggling between Sunni & Shiites and between moderates modern and religious traditionalist. Never in the history of the Middle East was there independent countries except when the English & French came after WWI with the European concept of countries. the Middle East territories where always dominated by one empire or another. Nothing has changed despite our desires, only countries that really are countries in that part of the world historically are Egypt & Persia. Everything else is artificial. 

hahussain
hahussain

@LizSly @JoeKleinTime Miserable rebuttal: Borders drawn along oil lines. Assyrians Christian not Sunni. Rice's right on 3nations+Sunni+Shia

russellwald
russellwald

While I don't necessarily agree with Condoleeza Rice's thesis, I certainly believe that she has more intimate knowledge of the Middle East versus Joe Klein.  It is surprising that Klein would start such a condescending essay about former Secretary Rice, who has most likely traveled and held more intimate conversations with political and military leaders, democracy and human rights advocates, and business entrepreneurs, within that region, versus Klein's own experience as simply a pundit.  Never mind her original role as a Soviet expert at Stanford, 8 years of actual policy work in the Middle East made her by far more informed on what is actually happening on the ground in the Middle East.  When Rice told Hosni Mubarak to institute democratic reforms before the Egyptian people removed him; years later one would have that that Rice was a fortuneteller.  Mr. Klein, you invalidate your entire argument when you presume that you have greater knowledge of world regions versus a former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser.  Do yourself a favor, next time, stick to the argument and leave the sexism and pedantic thoughts aside. 

moderateGuy
moderateGuy

Really, really hard to believe that Joe Klein is actually capable of rational thought; but here is an example. Free Kurdistan? Jordan is Palestine? Sunni Assyria - which implies separate Alawistan? I AM looking forward to Comrade Klein being Bookerized and somberly retracting this article.

Tero
Tero

BEWARE:

Kevin Groenhagen is a fraud, a bigot and a liar.

- He pretends to be a veteran (which he is not) despite requests that he stop. 

- He will try to get your personal information, so he can interfere in your life.

- He did not meet the obligations of his bet to leave when Obama won.

Kevin Groenhagen is also a homophobe, misogynist and racist.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Funny, I never expect 3x to follow through and honor his bet while I fully expected Kevin to do so (I mean, it was only to not post for a month, how hard is that).  I was wrong on both fronts.  3x, wherever you may be, you at least have dignity.

Arimathean
Arimathean

The same dynamic is equally evident in Western-drawn boundaries in Africa.  When European countries took Africa, they drew lines based not on ethnic or political identity, but only on European control.  Arguably, the Middle Eastern boundaries were drawn with better intentions, but no more effectively.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

Yet another racist attack offered by Slow Joe Klein.

Fla4Me
Fla4Me

@russellwald Hark, the Mushroom Cloud speaks....  Russell you have to be kidding.  After Rice's roll in selling Bush's war in Iraq she has no credibility on any issue. 

fitty_three
fitty_three

@Tero 

Thank you for summarizing the shortfalls of a known known.

 It's them unknown knowns that  that trip me up.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@Tero 

According to his DD 214, it turns out Kevin was an Entry Level Intelligence Specialist in the Marines from 1982 - 1985, serving within the US that whole time at the rank of Corporal.

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@Tero I think we should ignore him. He is probably tweaking on a drug fueled rampage. I am not kidding. That is the way I see his rambling and vile remarks.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@Tero 

He could shut me up if he would just post his DD 214, but surprise surprise, he won't.  Yet another impossible scenario he creates so he can't meet his obligations....and he expects us to believe he served?  Yeah right.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@bloodless_coup 

Gee that doesn't sound racist, and I'm sure you also don't appreciate the double standard you're applying here.  Flagged.

outsider
outsider

@DonQuixotic 

I knew 3x would - he did last time he made the bet. 

I even offered to let him off - a year seemed overly long (he set the conditions) - but i respected the fact that he honored his debt - and as far as i'm concerned, can come back anytime. 

Groeny however is a liar and has no integrity. 

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen 

Why are you here?  The terms of your bet were that you wouldn't post for a month.  I mean we always knew you were a coward and a liar, but you won't even honor your bet?  Wow.

Arimathean
Arimathean

@KevinGroenhagen I'm beginning to operate under the theory that Kevin isn't an actual person.  Surely no one is actually that unreasonable and deliberately asinine.  I think he's a 15-year-old trolling the internet who just set up a fake Facebook account to look real.  For evidence, I would point to the fact that he never answers requests for justification of his opinions -- he just calls people names.

Tero
Tero

@KevinGroenhagen 

Yet another moronic comment from the bigoted dinosaur.

Why are you here anyways? Didn't you lose a bet? Show some self respect for once in your sad little life.

russellwald
russellwald

@Fla4Me Who says this is an advocation for Rice's argument?  I certainly didn't.  I criticized Joe Klein for a pundit's narrow-minded approach that he knows more about the Middle East versus some Russian expert who happens to be a former Secretary of State.  Arguably I'm going to believe that the experience of SoS makes one more of an expert in the field of foreign policy versus a commentator.  Whether it be James Baker, Madeleine Albright, or Hillary Clinton makes no difference to me.  The crux of my critique is not whether Klein or Rice are correct in their ideas, it is the fact that Klein a non-Middle East expert is claiming that he is right and Rice is wrong because she is a former Soviet specialist.

Tero
Tero

@DonQuixotic @Tero 

All of the vets I know have dignity and honour. He has neither, that's enough proof for me.

Tero
Tero

@outsider2011 @DonQuixotic 

I thought I heard that 3X DID come back and broke the bet? He could have left with some dignity though... instead he chose to spew some crap about Hugo Chavez...

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@outsider2011 @DonQuixotic 

What can you expect from a fake veteran and an internet bully.  His word of the day seems to be projection; something he does quite a bit of when he calls other people "anonymous cowards".   Oh the irony.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@DonQuixotic @KevinGroenhagen Like outsider, you are lying about the terms of the bet. The bet did not entail a time frame. Check the record. As far as being a coward, I note that you are the one hiding behind the tree of anonymity while throwing rocks at others.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@Tero @KevinGroenhagen I did lose a bet and I have fulfilled the conditions of that bet.

"Show some self respect for once in your sad little life."

You're projecting, little fella.

Fla4Me
Fla4Me

@russellwald @Fla4Me Russell, I take your point and, in general, would agree but in Rice's case she was a contributor to one of the worst periods in our history.  She seems to continue with the dogma that she followed while in office and thus does not seem to have learned from her mistakes.  Her value seems to be in consistently choosing the wrong course and so I'm quite comfortable with Klein over Rice.

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@russellwald When a person does as lousy a job as Rice did, she becomes fair game for anyone to assess and analyze. This is the woman that brought us the massive WMD bag of unrelenting prevarication, caused the death of thousands of Iraqi and contributed to nearly bankrupting our economy.

My question is why JK even bothered to comment about her. She is a horrid reminder of what happens when old ideas are thrust into a dynamic environment.

That reminds me, thank God we dodged the bullet on the clueless Plutocrat, Romney, who declared that our greatest geopolitical foe is Russia. Romney was living in some archaic by gone era.I saw a picture of him in Disney Land, and I am glad he is surrounded by the make believe kingdoms, much in line with his nutty foreign policy make believe nonsense chatter.  

Condeleeza Rice is irrelevant, in other countries, She Cheney and Rumsfeld would have been tried for war crimes. They committed a heinous crime by thrusting us into an unnecessary war that caused the death of so many Americans and Iraqi's. A war which only served to enrich Cheney and Rumsfeld beyond their wildest dreams. They all should have been tried as war criminals. All of them.  

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@53_3 @DonQuixotic 

He didn't see any combat, nor did he ever leave the US.  Basically he was like an entry level government employee.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@Tero @DonQuixotic 

That too.  Most vets I know also don't throw that around every chance they get to add weight to their arguments.  They view their service as an honor, not a distinction.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@Tero @outsider2011 @DonQuixotic 

He was supposed to post about how the American people rejected his beliefs (Romney's) but from what I saw he did add stuff about Chavez into it.  Either way, he's not posting here anymore, at least not that I'm aware of.

Tero
Tero

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic 

Please please stop pretending to be a veteran. It is an insult to those who served. You should be ashamed of yourself.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic 

Tell you what Kevin, I don't care if you can only tell if it's authentic or not in person.  Scan it anyways and leave your name on there and I'll believe you.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic 

You can only tell if a DD 214 form is authentic in person.

So you don't have one.  You could have just saved us all the time and admitted to being a fake vet Kevin.  If you really want to present this fake DD 214 to me in person, I can name a bar out here in Alexandria VA and you can fly out and meet me there in person to show it to me (at your own expense of course since you seem to be unwilling to pay for my flight).

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@DonQuixotic @KevinGroenhagen You can only tell if a DD 214 form is authentic in person. Of course, you're an anonymous coward, so we know that would never happen. And, no, I will not pay for your flight and hotel. Ask Obama. He likes to give away free things to leeches like you.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@53_3 @DonQuixotic 

I think he should be required to at least post his DD 214 here to prove he served, rather than make someone here pay hundreds of dollars to fly out just to see it.  I know he won't because he doesn't have it of course.  I notice he ran away at my suggestion.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic 

Which part of "The bet did not entail a time frame" confuses you?

Nonsense; you expect us to believe that you'll ever honor it? This is just a way for you to worm out of it.

Speaking of your DD 214 I'll call you out on that. Scan it and post it. You don't honestly believe I have time to fly out to meet you, do you? Are you willing to pay for my flight and hotel? Just scan it and imbed the picture Kevin - you can black out any personal information that you don't want us to see (short of you name of course, we'll want to see that). I don't expect you to do this because I know you don't have it; this is just another way to deflect a scenario you know you can't follow through.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@DonQuixotic @KevinGroenhagen I guess you're an extremely stupid person who cannot understand basic English. Which part of "The bet did not entail a time frame" confuses you? You're lying yet again about me calling someone's boss, and I would be happy to show you or any other anonymous coward here my DD 214 to show that I did indeed serve in the Marines. Of course, you and I both know that you would be too cowardly to leave your mother's basement.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic 

That's how your going to shirk away from it?  The bet was that you wouldn't post for a month after the election.  You could have just easily waited until December and then come back and honored your bet like a man, but I guess that was asking too much of you.  It's funny though that a fake vet like you should accuse me of "hiding behind the tree of anonymity while throwing rocks".  This coming from a man who tried calling another Swampland posters' office to get them fired.  You're pathetic Kevin.  Are you a descendant of Robert Ford?

outsider
outsider

That is a good point.

@BenevolentLawyer @DonQuixotic

outsider
outsider

I was willing: I figured I wouldn't want to be around if romney had won.

That was the bet with rusty.

And rusty is abiding by it.

Again, when rusty is outshining you...@DonQuixotic @outsider2011 @KevinGroenhagen @53_3

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic @53_3 

I don't owe you any apology sport, and I've explained why your weaseling out of your bet is pathetic above.  You seem to be implying you'll honor the bet at some point; when?  Would it really have been so hard for you to stop posting until January?

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@BenevolentLawyer @DonQuixotic 

It isn't abnormal when he's been goading people for months to somehow fly out to wherever he lives to show it to them.  I could care less if he's a vet, honestly.  The guy's still a jacka$$ of the highest order.

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@DonQuixotic Okay, it is abnormal for ANYONE to go to such lengths to show something like this DD 214 to anonymous folks online. Why would anyone care so much??? 

You are what you are, regardless of what comes up in an argument or discourse. To post this sort of information blanking out SS and DOB is EXCESSIVE and crazy!  

This is too extreme. No one's identity is derived from an online community, and going to this extreme to make a point is too INTENSE. I am making this point so that everyone becomes aware of Kevin's predilections. His actions are EXTREME. 

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@outsider2011 @DonQuixotic @KevinGroenhagen @53_3 

It doesn't really matter either way.  He's arguing that you two never set a time frame so he'll stop posting for two months at some point.  We know he won't because that wording allows him to say he'll do it later but even then, it's a pretty obvious and pathetic attempt to get out of an honest bet.  Would it really be so hard for him to stop posting for two months?  Some of us here were willing to stop posting forever if Obama lost.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@outsider2011 @DonQuixotic @KevinGroenhagen @53_3 

It's a legit photo of his DD 214 with just his DOB and SSN blacked out, everything else is there (though admittedly hard to read because the photo is blurry, but the name is there). Either way, it doesn't make him any less of an internet tough-guy, a tool, or a bet welsher.

outsider
outsider

@DonQuixotic @KevinGroenhagen @53_3 

I've actually gone back to look for a second, but you'd have to go through a lot of posts (if you are interested you can find them in the run up to the election); But that is kind of beside the point since a) you can check peoples posts individually from before the change, you have to go to the thread, and b) he's the one who lost, and is in the wrong. 

It's incumbent upon him to prove there was no time frame. 

I did actually make the attempt, but there are so many posts to go through. 

Here's a prediction: he won't bother, because a) he knows he agreed and can't stay away, and b) he would be wasting time proving he's wrong. 

He has all the reason in the world to not go look. 

So we can't say he didn't serve (i couldn't see the link, but i'll take Don's word for it). I guess we're just left with saying he's a disgrace to the uniform he once wore, and is still worn by other, more honorable men. 

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic @53_3 

Now was that so hard?  Just think after all these many months of expecting people to fly out to you to show them in person, you could have just done this instead.

I can't show you where you posted that because I can't look through outsider's posts in livefyre like I could through Disqus; that's something he would have to do.

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@DonQuixotic I do not think this clown, Kevin is mentally ill, that would be an insult to the mentally ill. This man is on crack. His remarks are increasingly hysterical and baseless. His continued and unprovoked belligerence is a symptom of prolonged use of crack. It might be best to ignore him.    

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @TyPollard @Tero 

The time frame was following the election, much like every other bet that was made here (which others that are better than you have actually honored).  If you don't have the internal fortitude to follow through with it just admit it.

TyPollard
TyPollard

@KevinGroenhagen @Tero 

If there was no time frame stated then that means you would leave FOREVER. 

The loser (you KG) doesn't get to retroactively decide for himself a length of banishment retroactively...unless the loser has no honor.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@DonQuixotic

We all sit behind keyboards when we post here. He's going to be forever lost if this is truly the GOP mass extinction.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@53_3 @KevinGroenhagen 

I'm beginning to think Kevin is mildly delusional or bipolar.  At the very least he's a habitual liar.  Maybe he's the one that actually lives in his mother's basement; who knows.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@KevinGroenhagen

I believe groeny about as much as I believe his lying about contacting Patrick Sarter's boss.  I was there when it happened.

But hells bells Da Nile is a wide, wide river...

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @outsider2011 @Tero 

So you'll stop posting for two months someday?  I'm sure if Romney had won and outsider had tried to pull this garbage you'd be all over him.  You're so full of it.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@outsider2011 @KevinGroenhagen @Tero Again, squirt, you made the claim that I included a time frame with my bet. Therefore, the onus is on you to back up your claim. Thus far, you have not because you know that no time frame was included.

outsider
outsider

@DonQuixotic @53_3 @outsider2011 

Agreed. I think paulie would have followed through, and didn't for that reason. 

Even RUSTY has stayed away. 

When you look bad next to Rusty Rod that's saying alot about your behavior.. 

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@53_3 @outsider2011 

If paulejb would have ever agreed to a bet I think even he of all people would have honored it.  I base that on the fact that he was so unwilling to make it because he knew he would have had to stop posting.

outsider
outsider

@KevinGroenhagen @Tero 

You check the record - you lost. 

It was stated clearly that you'd be gone two months. 

Tero is right about the honor and integrity. About you lacking them both. 

Tero
Tero

@KevinGroenhagen @Tero 

You lost the bet and are now going back on your word. You have no honour or integrity. Go away, you are irrelevant.