FM newswire for March 10, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis, collected from around the Internet. If you find this useful, pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. The US is not the only nation going broke in part from maintaining a large military:  “Greek Crisis: Ending (at last) the Trojan War“, Jacques Delpla (member of Conseil d’Analyse Économique), Eurointelligence, 2 February 2010
  2. First fruits of the Citizens United decisions, which might reshape US politics:  “U.S. Chamber of Commerce grows into a political force“, Los Angeles Times, 8 February 2010 — “A swelling tide of money could put the business group in a better position to sway elections.”
  3. Our Man in Kabul? The sadistic Afghan warlord who wants to be our friend“, Mark Crowley, The New Republic, 9 March 2010 — About “the mujahedin’s most lethal warlord, a radical Islamist named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. No other Afghan leader had received more money from the United States than Hekmatyar …”
  4. Premature Withdrawal – Washington’s Cult of Narcissism and Iraq“, Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch, 10 March 2010

Today’s focus:  drone warfare

  1. US drone strikes in Pakistan tribal areas boost support for Taleban“, The Times, 10 March 2010
  2. Drone Warfare and the Harvard National Security Conference“, The Volokh Conspiracy, 9 March 2010
  3. Predators Over Pakistan“, Kenneth Anderson (Prof Law, American U), The Weekly Standard, 8 March 2010
  4. The Year of the Drone – An Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2010“, Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann, New America Foundation, 24 February 2010
  5. The Forty-Year Drone War“, Nick Turse, TomDispatch, 24 January 2010
  6. Six Ways the Af-Pak War Is Expanding“, Tom Engelhardt, posted at TomDispatch, 21 May 2009
  7. Means-testing the Drone War“, Joshua Foust, Registan, 10 March 2010
  8. Targeted Killing in U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy and Law“, Kenneth Anderson (Prof Law, American U), 11 May 2009
  9. “Filling the skies with Assassins” by Tom Engelhardt, 17 April 2009

Quote of the Day from Stratfor

U.S. Left With No Good Options in Iran“, Stratfor, 9 March 2010 — Excerpt:

“When the United States surveys the current landscape in the Middle East, it does not see any good candidates for helping it to contain Iran. The historic counterweight to a strong Persia, Iraq finds itself weak and fractured, possibly even at the risk of becoming an Iranian satellite as a result of the 2003 American invasion, which toppled the government of Saddam Hussein.”

Slowly — very slowly — the obvious becomes acceptable to say in American geopolitical circles.  George Friedman discussed this in Stratfor’s report of 1 March:  “Thinking About the Unthinkable: A U.S.-Iranian Deal” — Excerpt:

The decision to invade Iraq in 2003 assumed that once the Baathist regime was destroyed the United States would rapidly create a strong Iraqi government that would balance Iran. The core mistake in this thinking lay in failing to recognize that the new Iraqi government would be filled with Shiites, many of whom regarded Iran as a friendly power. Rather than balancing Iran, Iraq could well become an Iranian satellite. The Iranians strongly encouraged the American invasion precisely because they wanted to create a situation where Iraq moved toward Iran’s orbit. When this in fact began happening, the Americans had no choice but an extended occupation of Iraq, a trap both the Bush and Obama administrations have sought to escape.

It is difficult to define Iran’s influence in Iraq at this point. But at a minimum, while Iran may not be able to impose a pro-Iranian state on Iraq, it has sufficient influence to block the creation of any strong Iraqi government either through direct influence in the government or by creating destabilizing violence in Iraq. In other words, Iran can prevent Iraq from emerging as a counterweight to Iran, and Iran has every reason to do this. Indeed, it is doing just this.

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