Friday, 10 January 2020

Cynical Realpolitik

Don’t Repeat The Last Two Decades Of Foreign Policy Idiocies With Iran

The best way to neutralize Iran is to have them overstretch. An older, forgotten grand strategy where adversaries bleed each other is in the Western interest.

Sumantra Maitra
The Federalist

. . . .

Iranian influence will never be completely eradicated from its neighboring country with an overwhelming Shia majority. But Iran is also an adversary, albeit with a very limited area of influence. However, one way to stop Iran, which has not been tried, is a very old, forgotten art of bloodletting. It’s a grand strategy that was once taught to every rookie foreign policy wonk, when schools still focused on teaching amoral history instead of an ideological supposed end of history.

Let Iran bleed. Let Iran overstretch, from Tehran to Tartous. Let them spend their own blood and treasure and impoverish their wealth maintaining security trying to dominate the massive Sunni population of Western Iraq and Northern Syria. Persians and Ottomans were the natural balancers of the Middle East up until 1919. Why not have that back 100 years later?

We can already see the Turks are busy securing Libya and Northern Syria. Why not let Iran do that on their Western front? With the Iranian Quds force leader dead, Iran would look to escalate in asymmetric ways, like it did during President Reagan’s time, by bombing Americans in Lebanon.

President Donald Trump was not elected to civilize the Middle East. He was elected to secure his own borders, and focus on China. As Defense Priorities research shows, this new problem in Iraq is not a cause of concern but an opportunity to disconnect from a cancerous region for good. To rephrase Napoleon, never interrupt your adversary when he is bleeding himself dry.

Amoral, dry, cynical realpolitik was once in Western sinews. The 1920s saw the rise of Wilsonian internationalism. One can only hope this coming decade, a hundred years since, proves to be its final death knell and sees a return of a much older, and far more intelligent form of conducting foreign policy. Let’s finally stop going abroad to search for monsters to destroy. And let’s avoid permanent alliances and entanglements everywhere.

Sumantra Maitra is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK, and a senior contributor to The Federalist. His research is in great power-politics and neorealism. You can find him on Twitter @MrMaitra.

No comments: