Why the U.S.-Built House of Cards in the Middle East Is Falling Apart

saudi_12While lies are almost uniformly held to be unacceptable in the context of a liberal democracy, this is not entirely the case in foreign policy where realists often value lies for their ability to advance a country’s national interest. The entire literature and practice of military strategy, intelligence and counter-espionage is underwritten by deception and lies. The disclosure of NSA mass surveillance has shown us that the U.S. government spies on foes and friends alike. Likewise, the Kremlin has engaged in a disinformation campaign in order to provide Russian foreign policy and, in the case of Ukraine, Russian military intervention and territorial annexation, a veneer of legitimacy.

Relying on lies to advance one’s national interest and maintain stable balances of power is not without its dangers. Lies can undermine worthy policy initiatives by producing blowback from foreign governments and citizens. They can also trap governments into policy positions that no longer serve the national interest. A prime example of these dangers and their negative consequences can be seen in U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East, where U.S. military and diplomatic engagement with this region that ostensibly is based on realist principles has worked against its own national interest and that of a stable regional balance of power. Far from stabilizing the region, U.S. foreign policy has created a structure in which the United States continues to act as an external force of intrusion. It has created and sustained an imbalance of power between Middle Eastern powers, neither fostering democracy nor the rule of law nor maintaining peace and security between and within states. In 2016, every country in the Middle East, except for Tunisia and Oman is involved in some form of inter-state war. READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE Athttp://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-the-us-built-house-cards-the-middle-east-falling-apart-18267

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