Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Victor beat me to it ...

At least in the comments, but let me rattle off my own list of why this doesn't work:

1) Oil. As Victor notes, we need it and will continue to for the immediate future.

2) Travel. As long as globalization continues and travel costs continue to decline, it will become increasingly impossible to keep conflicts isolated to single regions. We got glimpses of this when the Sikhs, the PKK, and various Palestinian groups started taking their fights internationally. This makes it all but impossible to seriously prevent attacks from occurring in the West. At best, we could only contain it which was the SOP throughout the 1980s and 1990s. It didn't work.

3) Eurabia. For better or worse, there are enough Middle Eastern immigrants in Europe that the Continent is becoming increasingly interconnected with that of the Middle East. To disengage from the latter we must also do so with the former. It is needless to say that a Europe dominated by the current crop of Middle Eastern politics would be just as dangerous as one dominated by Soviet politics.

4) Al-Qaeda. Abandoning the Middle East would be to abandon the fairly weak regimes that exist there to the likes of Iran, al-Qaeda, Russia, and China. Maybe we could work out arrangements with Iran, Russia, and China, but the entire al-Qaeda organization is based around the idea of fighting the United States as is the Salafist ideology that feeds it. The idea that the group would abandon this tenet in the absence of a Western presence in the Middle East strikes me as foolhardy.

Short of adopting the Tokugawa America model, I don't see it happening.

1 comment:

Donald R. McClarey said...

The idea that we can largely ignore the Middle East is so stunningly foolish that I am not surprised that an intellectual of Mr. Luttwak's stature embraces it. Some things are so idiotic that only an academically honed intellect will throw the obvious to the four winds and embrace a theory that collapses on contact with reality. Arab terrorism, culminating in 9-11, is proof positive that the strategy of benign neglect, dealing with rogue regimes only in cases of emergency such as in 1991, was a flat and dangerous failure. If the West were deluded enough to follow the suggestion of Mr. Luttwak I think all we would reap would be a nuclear wake up call sometime in the next decade. I would love for the US to be able to ignore the Middle East. Actually I would love for the US to be able to ignore most of the rest of the World. However the year is 2007 and not 1807 and isolationism didn't work well in the last century and it would work not at at all in the present one.