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US Foreign Policy: The US won't pivot away from the Middle East - by Richard Falk

The Republican warmongers
Why the inflexibility with respect to the Middle East by the US when disengagement brings major practical advantages?
Part of the explanation is surely governmental inertia, reinforced by the belief that the changes in conditions are not as clear and favourable as some contend, making disengagement geopolitically vulnerable to future charges by Republicans that the Obama presidency was responsible for ‘"losing the Middle East".

More to the point is a range of other reasons militating against disengagement. Perhaps most significant is the militarist bias of US foreign policy that refuses to acknowledge that the attacks on Iraq or Libya were failures.

Resistance to thinking outside the military box prevails in US policy circles, making the debate on what to do about Syria or ISIL centre on the single question of how much US military power should be deployed to resolve these conflicts.

The US Military Industrial Complex
What Eisenhower called the military industrial complex has come to dominate the Political machinery of government in Washington, further abetted by the accretion of a huge homeland security bureaucracy since 9/11.

Then there is the anti-international mood that has taken over US domestic politics. It is hostile to every kind of international commitment other than military action against real and imagined Islamic enemies.

Additionally, the US Congress has been completely captured by the Israeli lobby, which puts a high premium on maintaining the US geopolitical engagement so as to share with Israel the burdens and risks associated with the management of regional turbulence.

As neither the Arab uprisings of 2011 nor the robust counterrevolutionary aftermath were anticipated, it is argued that there is too much uncertainty to risk disengagement.

Neither realist arguments about interests nor ethical considerations of principle will lead to an overdue US disengagement.

Washington refuses to understand why intervention by Western military forces in the post-colonial Middle East generates dangerous extremist forms of resistance (eg, ISIL), magnifying the problems that prompted intervention in the first place.

In essence, the intervention option is a lose/lose proposition, but without it American engagement makes no sense.

Unfortunately, for the US and the peoples throughout the Middle East, the US seems incapable of extricating itself from yet another geopolitical quagmire. And so, although disengagement is an attractive option, it won't happen for a long, long time.

Note EU-Digest: In reference to the above report, the EU as a whole should not act as a "group of robots"  blindly following this totally failed US policy vis-a-vis the Middle East or anywhere else for that matter. 

Richard Falk is Albert G Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Research Fellow, Orfalea Center of Global Studies. He is also former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.

 Read the complete report: The US won't pivot away from the Middle East - Al Jazeera English

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