Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Thursday, November 13, 2003  

Wes Clark wants to team with the Saudis to defeat Al Qaida. Hmmm. I'll admit that when I was in school, I was generally reading about Tolstoy and Mahavira--not foreign policy. That said, I'm pretty sure this is a really bad idea. Let's start with the obvious: what is the best-case outcome? The Saudis are going to root out Osama? Apparently, that's what Clark is thinking:

General Clark said the joint United States-Saudi commando force would be similar to groups formed by the American military and police forces in Colombia while he oversaw United States military operations in Latin America.

Again: hmmm. Columbia's our model for success with this scheme? I'm still not seeing the wisdom.

The way I see it, there are only downsides. Al Qaida's main target was initially the Saudis, whom Osama thought were traitors to his brand of Wahabism. As Afghanistan and Iraq fester with the gangrene of terror, I don't see how teaming up with the Saudis helps the situations there. But far worse is that joining with the Saudis completely undermines the US's stated goal of bringing Democracy to the region. It reeks of political expediency at the risk of long term consequences. If the US is genuinely concerned about fostering democracy in the region, it needs to team with nations at least inclined in that direction. The Saudis are probably last on that list, behind even Iran.

Clark's supposed to be the Democratic savior because of his foreign policy acumen. Fans have overlooked his skeletal domestic agenda, confident that the foreign policy issue is the one on which this election will be decided. Okay guys, here's where the rubber meets the road: what's so hot about this plan? So far the blogosphere's best known Clarkies, Kevin and Josh, have not weighed in. I'd like to hear what they have to say.

posted by Jeff | 8:58 AM |
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