Foreign Policy

08.30.12

Sheldon Adelson's War?

Part One of a response to Andrew Sullivan.

Andrew Sullivan returns to the question: How aggressive would a Romney foreign policy be? Rebutting my suggestion that a Romney foreign policy would be hyper-cautious, Andrew writes:

Not. Buying. It. Sheldon Adelson paid for a war against Iran and a war he will surely get. These people don't care about a deficit caused by wars, or by tax cuts; they care about a deficit caused by the sick and seniors and the poor.

A lot to answer, here goes.

1) The Iran confrontation is not driven by Sheldon Adelson, or by Israel, or by some Israel Lobby. United States has never waged war to defend Israel. Not ever -- in large part of course because Israel does such a superb job of defending itself. On the other hand, the United States has fought repeated wars and quasi-wars to defend the weak oil kingdoms of the Gulf against aggressive neighbors:

* The US supported the Afghan resistance after the Soviet invasion of 1979 in large part because of fears that a Soviet success in Afghanistan would put Soviet power in striking reach of the Persian Gulf.

* The US alternately supported Iran and Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war in a traditional balance of power strategy intended to weaken both threats to the Gulf.

* The US waged an undeclared naval war against Iran in the Gulf in 1987 as Iran escalated attacks on Kuwaiti and Saudi oil tankers.

* The US organized the Gulf war to liberate Kuwait in 1990-91.

* The US mobilized to repel another threatened attack on Kuwait by Iraq in 1994.

I won't extend the list. You get the idea. We learn from Wikileaks that it was the Saudis, not the Israelis, who have been pressing hardest for a US strike against Iran. (Soon after the Wikileaks erupted, a friend of mine had an audience with King Abdullah. The king was asked about Wikileaks. He answered, "Your diplomats take very accurate notes.")

Read Part Two Here