Mid East: America's Destructive 
Lack of Intelligence Problem
by Dan Ehrlich

Once again the USA and its intelligence services have been caught totally out-to-lunch by the Middle East upheaval. One by one our long held cards in the region are falling, leaving a mystery and a worrisome reality in their places.

And also once again the words of Texas libertarian congressman Ron Paul seems relevant: “Are we getting our moneys worth of the 80 Billion dollars per year spent on intelligence gathering,” he asked awhile back. The answer seems to be a big fat NO! From Iran to 9/11, from Wiki Leaks to the current Middle East mess, America and much of the world doesn’t seem to be on the right page.

The reality in question, which has been hitting us for decades at the gas pump and will be hitting us even harder now, is how dependent we still are on oil…Arab oil.  And the mystery is: What the hell is going to happen now with all our chessboard pawns being taken? What will rise in their places? But most important of all, will the spice continue to flow?

America seems to have a similar problem with it foreign policy that the US TV networks have with their shows. The networks will gain a successful series and keep it on past its sell-by date until it dies an ignoble death. The US has had in place a series of medieval potentates that served it well despite Hillary Clinton’s ramblings about democracy.

These dictators have kept the oil flowing while stopping radical Islam from taking over their desert kingdoms. Yet, we never counted on the historically subdued Arabs from rising against their masters, men who had outlived their usefulness to their own people and even the US…except US intelligence never realized this.

The fact is democracy  has a low order of priority when pitted against a barrel of black gold. Saudi Arabia is a good example. How many times have we criticized that nation’s abysmal human rights record and its religious intolerance? Even Libya has had an easy ride since its run-in with Ronald Reagan. And, for that, Gaddafi has kept the oil flowing.

On the Israel-Palestinian issue how many times has America called out Arab nations for not doing their part to help their brother Arabs? They will criticize no-oil Israel but not oil rich Arab nations that have reneged on promised Palestinian financial aid. Instead, a city state such as Dubai will run-up a $60 billion debt building largely empty pleasure palaces and skyscrapers.

A fact of life in 21st Century for Americans is we aren’t the good guys we like to think we are. We are still so full of sanctimony and belief in our righteousness that we fail to realize the hypocrisy of our foreign and domestic policies. But, now the chickens are coming home to roost…whatever that means…and we can’t escape the possible consequences of a policy of backing any dictator, from Central America to the Middle East,  who will be useful to the USA.

For our purposes, since the only reason we are involved in the Middle East is oil, the big question will be: Will the new regimes be friendly with us or with our economic adversaries…because now realistically all we have are economic enemies...nations that want to keep us from producing so we will be forced to  buy from them.

And, will the new Arab regimes continue to work in a spirit of growing détente with Israel? A big worry for the major oil using industrial powers is renewed Arab-Israeli hostilities. Under the old guard, Israel had been unofficially accepted as a useful reality in the region. Allied with the US, it served as bulwark against an imperial minded Iran.

Now, with the old guard being swept away by the Arab street, what will be the new reality for the region? Who will control  largely uneducated peasant populations steeped in religious bigotry? These are things American intelligence somehow never seemed to contemplate almost as if the Middle East was like a long running TV series such as Happy Days, driven into the ground until no one recognized it when it was killed.

Perhaps our enormous intellgence budget would be more userful funding aid projects for poverty stricken Arab populations. We would probably have a better chance at some positive results.

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