The US foreign policy establishment has seen itself embarrassed quite a bit lately. The supposed golden age that President Obama promised to usher in in the wake of the calamitous Bush 43 presidency has not come to pass. In fact, there seems to more similar than different between Obama and Bush’s approach to national security affairs and subsequent results (and attitudes to said results). People hoped for change and got more of the same.
But beyond the most visible leaders of the machinery of the state are the apparatchiks of America’s commercial oligarchy, the group whose interests and organs serve as the permanent establishment – wielding power and influence regardless of who sits in the White House. One such manifestation of that commercial oligarchy, -perhaps its most notorious organ – is the Council On Foreign Relations (CFR). CFR is an open gathering of business and policy elites who try – often successfully – to mold, shape, and guide the US foreign policy agenda. Not surprisingly, their contribution to that agenda often involves advancing the business and careerist interests of those in CFR.
Max Boot is a senior fellow at CFR and, along with Michael Doran of the Brookings Institute, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post that included claims so demonstrably and obviously false that one can only reason they were included to be deliberately misleading. None more so than Boot and Doran’s claim about Saudi Arabia’s role in Middle Eastern politics.
After starting off with a comparison between Iran and Hitler (of course) Boot and Doran say:
The United States would be making a historic error if it were to assist such an Iranian-orchestrated ethnic-cleansing campaign with air power or even with diplomatic support. Not only would this be morally reprehensible, it would be strategically stupid because it would convince the region’s Sunni Muslims that the United States is siding against them with Iran and its regional allies. This could lead Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to support extremists such as ISIS, further feeding the growing sectarian conflict across the region.
The average person reading the op-ed probably does not know that Saudi Arabia has not only been funding extremists such as ISIS but successfully helped push the US into doing the same in Syria. For a foreign policy expert such as Boot to claim this has not been happening is not ignorance, it is straight up disinformation, a connivance of elites against the American people.
The reality is far from the false image projected by Boot and Doran of a Saudi Arabia sitting on the sidelines. The Saudis have sent cash, guns, and even released prisoners to try and bring down the Assad government in Syria. Support that has purposely and clearly benefited extremists including ISIS. Nothing the US does or doesn’t do is going to “lead” Saudi Arabia to support extremists because they already are. Something Boot and Doran have to know provided they can read English articles in the popular press.
Maybe the reason the US foreign policy establishment is so dysfunctional is it is filled to the brim with dishonest people.